His name was Jay Hanna "Dizzy" Dean
We had a visitor from St. Louis to your Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum today who was was quite interested in the Dizzy Dean collection, which is housed on our second floor and came to us from the old Dizzy Dean Museum.
Our visitor was perplexed when he saw a plaque that read: “Jerome Herman Dean.”
“Who is Jerome Herman Dean?” the visitor wanted to know. “I’ve always known Dizzy as Jay Hanna “Dizzy” Dean.”
Well that’s a story worth retelling for those who don’t know.
Dean was born — we think — on Dec. 10, 1910, in Lucas, Ark. His parents named him Jay Hannah Dean — Jay for Jay Gould, a 19th century railroad magnate, and Hanna for Mark Hanna, an Ohio political figure of the same era. That we know.
But Dean confused sports writers later on by adopting, unofficially and on occasion, the name Jerome Herman, the name of a former childhood playmate who died when Dizzy was only seven.
Dean added to the confusion shortly after joining the St. Louis Cardinals by telling three different sports writers three different birthdates and three different locations where he was born. All this, he did in a matter of hours.
When asked about why he kept making up stories, Dean explained, “I was helping the writers out….Them ain’t lies, them’s scoops.”
Our Dizzy Dean collection was bequeathed to the City of Jackson by Dizzy’s widow, the late Pat Dean, and became part your Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum when it opened on July 4, 1996.