A hard-throwing righthanded starter with an unorthodox twisting windup, Chance won the AL Cy Young Award in 1964 at the age of 23 but never evolved into a consistently dominating pitcher. With a touch of wildness and the disconcerting habit of never looking at home plate once he received the sign from his catcher, Chance would turn his broad back fully towards the hitter in mid-windup before spinning and unleashing a lively fastball, good sinker, or sidearm curve.
Chance was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels from the Orioles organization in the 1960 expansion draft and as a rookie in 1962 was 14-10, 2.96 as an occasional starter for the Angels. He began taking regular turns in the rotation in 1963 and was 13-18 with meager support from his teammates, then in 1964 he blossomed into the AL’s most overpowering pitcher. Pitching his home games in spacious Dodger Stadium, Chance was 20-9 with a 1.64 ERA in ’64, and tossed 11 shutouts, including six in which he won 1-0. On June 6 that year he pitched 14 shutout innings against the Yankees, only to see the Angels lose 2-0 after he left the game, and on September 10 he pitched a one-hitter against the Twins, allowing only an infield single to Zoilo Versalles in the eighth.
Chance slipped to 15-10 in 1965 and 12-17 in 1966, and after he began to berate his teammates for their poor play behind him was traded to Minnesota before the 1967 season. He enjoyed a resurgence with the Twins, going 20-14, 2.73 to win AL Comeback Player of the Year honors and pitching a no-hitter against the Indians on August 25. On the final day of the regular season, he faced the Red Sox with a chance to clinch the pennant but lost, sending Boston to the WS instead. Chance was 16-16 in 1968 and 5-4 in only 15 starts in 1969, then was traded to the Indians along with Graig Nettles in a six-player deal that brought Luis Tiant to the Twins. The Indians sold Chance to the Mets in mid-1970, and he spent his final season pitching mostly in relief with the Tigers in 1971.
Chance was a notoriously poor hitter, batting .066 in 662 career bats while striking out 353 times.