Baseball Vignettes – VII
Rube's Great Season

Rube Marquard
In 1912, New York Giant lefty Rube Marquard had one of the greatest seasons ever, highlighted by his record-tying 19-game winning streak.
  • The streak began on Opening Day when Rube defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers 18-3.
  • During the 19 victories, he allowed only 42 runs.
  • His victory July 3 over Brooklyn at the Polo Grounds, 2-1, tied the 1888 mark of Tim Keefe. The game marked the fifteenth straight victory for the Giants, who then won #16 in the nightcap.
  • Under today's scoring rules, Rube would have been credited with 20 straight victories. On April 20 at the Polo Grounds, he relieved Jeff Tesreau in the ninth inning after Brooklyn scored 3 times to take a 3-2 lead. In the bottom of the inning, C Art Wilson hit a two-run HR to win. However, Tesreau was credited with the victory.
  • Marquard finally lost on July 8 to the Cubs in Chicago, 7-2. By that time, the Giants led the league by 14 games.
  • His 20th victory on July 19 remains the earliest in a season by any pitcher.
The 6'3" 190 lb. Marquard had joined John McGraw's club late in 1908 at age 18. After two so-so seasons, he exploded in 1911, going 24-7 to lead the league in Ks and winning percentage as the Giants won the first of three consecutive pennants.

Rube finished 1912 with a 26-12 record and 2.57 ERA in 294 innings. He completed 22 of his 38 starts. In 1913, he contributed another 23 victories to give him a 73-28 mark for the three seasons. However, his performance fell after that. He won 19 in 1917 for Brooklyn and 17 in 1921 for Cincinnati before calling it quits in 1925. His 201 lifetime victories earned him induction into the Hall of Fame in 1971. He died in 1980 at age 93.

Don't Put Luke in a Foul Mood
As the story is told, Luke Appling, Hall of Fame SS of the Chicago White Sox, asked the club secretary for a couple of baseballs to give to fans. "They cost $2.75 apiece," replied the secretary when denying the request. Appling said nothing but vowed revenge in his own way.

He applied his well-known skill for fouling off pitches in his first at-bat that afternoon. After working the count to 3-and-2, he fouled 10 pitches into the stands. Luke yelled to the secretary in his box seat: "That's $27.50, and I'm just getting started." Appling provided the fans 23 souvenirs before finally finished his at-bat. (One source gives Appling's "record" for foul balls in an at-bat as 17; another says 24. Maybe it was 17 originally but the story, like a fisherman's tale, grew to 24.

Luke came to the White Sox from the Atlanta Crackers in 1930. Injuries and poor play in the field plagued his first three seasons in the bigs. (His frequency complaints of injury caused teammates to nickname him "Old Aches and Pains.") However, he hit his stride in 1933, batting .322 in 151 games. This started a streak of nine years above .300, topped by .388 for the AL batting title in 1936. That season included a 27-game hitting streak that stood as the White Sox record until broken by Albert Belle in 1997. Luke led the AL in hitting again in 1943 at .328. After missing all of 1944 and most of 1945 in the service, he picked up where he left off in 1946 with four more .300 seasons. He retired during the 1950 season at age 43.
Luke Appling
Luke Appling
I saw Luke manage the Memphis Chicks of the Southern Association when they came to New Orleans to face the Pelicans. He managed the Kansas City Athletics for part of the 1967 season before becoming a coach in the majors.

He added to his legacy in 1982 at the first annual Cracker Jack Oldtimer's Classic at RFK Stadium in Washington. With the fences moved in for the geezers, 75-year old Appling hit a 250 foot HR to left field off Warren Spahn.

Luke's .388 average in 1936 remains the highest ever by a SS. He played in eight All-Star games but never in the post-season. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1964. In 1990, Appling was voted the greatest White Sox player in history. He died in 1991 in Cumming GA.
Hank Stuck on 58
Hank Greenberg had several spectacular seasons at 1B with the Detroit Tigers.
  • 1935: .328, 36 HR, 170 RBI
    He had 103 RBI at the All-Star break (still a record) but was not selected for the AL team. His 183 RBI were one short of the AL record set by Lou Gehrig in 1931. It was 7 short of Hack Wilson's ML-leading 190 in 1930. (Hack's record has officially been corrected to 191.) Hank was voted AL MVP at the end of the season.
  • 1937: .337, 40 HR, 183 RBI
    He was selected to the All-Star team but rode the bench as manager Joe McCarthy played the eight starters all nine innings.
  • 1938: .315, 58 HR, 146 RBI
    Selected for the mid-summer classic again, Hank refused to play. (This time, McCarthy played six of the eight starters the whole way.) His 58 round-trippers tied Jimmy Foxx (1932) for the second highest in history at that point and only two behind the record Babe Ruth set 11 years earlier. 58 stood as the most by a right-handed batter until Sammy Sosa's 66 in 1998. Greenberg also led the league in runs scored (144), tied for the AL lead in walks (119), was 2nd in RBI (146), slugging percentage (.683), and total bases (380). Despite all this, Greenberg finished 3rd in the vote for MVP behind Jimmy Foxx (who arguably had an even better year than Hank) and Bill Dickey (who most certainly did not have a better year).
Hank Greenberg
Hank Greenberg
Let's focus on his 58 HRs in 1938.
  • He had one HR rained out.
  • After being walked three times in the first game of a doubleheader with the visiting St. Louis Browns September 27, he hit his 57th and 58th HRs in the second game. #57 was inside-the-park. The nightcap was called because of darkness after seven innings. The date was the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. In 1934, with the Tigers leading the league, Greenberg had announced that he would not play on the Jewish holidays. However, after consulting a rabbi, he decided to play on Rosh Hashanah each year but not Yom Kippur.
  • Hank now had five games to swat two to reach 60: two more at home with St. Louis, then three at Cleveland.
  • In the remaining two games with the 7th-place Browns, all he managed was a single.
  • Cleveland moved their series with Detroit to Municipal Stadium from League Park. The reason given was that Municipal Stadium held more fans (78,000 to 21,414). However, some contend that the real motive was that a segment of the public did not want a Jewish player to break Babe's cherished record, and Municipal Stadium was less homer-friendly. Here are the distances in each venue. Judge for yourself.
Municipal Stadium
League Park
Left field
  • On Saturday, October 1, Hank went 0-5 vs. Denny Galehouse, who shut out the visitors 5-0.
  • In the Sunday twinbill, Greenberg hit a double off Bob Feller in a 4-1 victory in Game One. He garnered three hits in the last game, but all were singles.
No Foot? No Problem!
Bert Shepard
Bert Shepard
Bert Shepard's goal from childhood was to pitch in the big leagues. He did eventually, but only after a remarkable chain of events.

In 1941, the lefty pitched for the Bisbee Bees in the Arizona-Texas League. He had a 3-5 record but also contributed at 1B and the OF. After Pearl Harbor, he joined the Army Air Force in May 1942. Trained as a fighter pilot, he joined the 55th Fighter Group in England. His 34th mission proved fateful when he was shot down near Hamburg. Flak tore through the plane into his right foot and leg. He was unconscious as his plane crashed.

Luckily for Bert, he was pulled from the weckage by a physician in the German Luftwaffe, who saved him from a group of irate farmers. The doctor rushed him to a hospital where he amputated Bert's right leg 11 inches below the knee. After a long period of recovery, he was transferred to Stalag IX-C. There a Canadian medic made an artificial leg that allowed Bert to play catch in the camp. In February 1945, he was exchanged back to the U.S. to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C. While visiting the hospital, Undersecretary of War Robert Patterson asked Bert what his future plans were. Without hesitation, Shepard repeated his dream of playing baseball. Skeptical but impressed, Patterson contacted Senators' owner Clark Griffith and asked him to take a look at the young hurler.

Shepard arrived at the Senators' spring training camp at College Park MD on March 14. Manager Ossie Bluege was skeptical, but after watching Bert pitch batting practice and field bunts and run the bases, he signed him as a pitching coach. However, Ossie refused to pitch him in a regular season game. Bert did pitch four innings against the Brooklyn Dodgers before a large crowd in a War Relief Fund game July 10. He also pitched in an exhibition game in New London CT against a Navy team that included an unknown young C named Yogi Berra.

Finally, Bluege gave Bert a chance in a regular game when the Senators faced five doubleheaders in five days. In the eighth game of that stretch, the Nats trailed the Red Sox 14-2. So Ossie called on Bert in the fourth to face George "Catfish" Metkovich, who struck out. Shepard pitched the rest of the way, allowing only one run, three hits, and a walk. It was his only major league appearance.

The following season, with most players back from the war, Bert was consigned to the minors, where he played and managed until 1954.

After a long career as a safety engineer, he had an emotional reunion in 1993 with the German doctor who saved his life. He always said that modern doctors can't design an artificial leg as well as the Army medics did in 1945. He played 18 holes of golf into his eighties without a cart.

Bert died in 2008 four days short of his 88th birthday.

Never the Same
Donny Moore being consoled
after the game.
Game 5 of the 1986 American League Championship Ser­ies, Anaheim CA. The California Angels hold a 3-games-to-1 edge on the Boston Red Sox. Entering the ninth, the Angels lead 5-2, but starter Mike Witt surrenders a two-run HR to Don Baylor. Amazingly, Witt stays in and retires right-handed hitting Dwight Evans on a popup. Then mana­ger Gene Mauch brings in LHP Gary Lucas to face left-handed C Rich Gedman. But Lucas hits Gedman to put the tying run on first. So Mauch finally turns to his closer Don­nie Moore. After recording 31 saves in 1985, Moore got a three-year, $3 million contract. But he struggled in '86 with a sore shoulder but still saved 21. He regularly took cortisone shots so that he could live up to his contract.
Moore's mission: Get the last out to send the Angels to their first World Series, which would also be the first for manager Mauch as well. Moore gets two strikes on CF Dave Hen­derson but hangs a split-fingered fastball which Henderson clouts into the left field stands for a 6-5 lead.

Moore then retires Ed Romero to end the inning. California rallies for a run in the bottom of the ninth on a single by Rob Wilfong but fails to capitalize on a bases loaded one out situation. So the game goes into extra innings. In the eleventh, Moore hits Baylor and surrenders singles to Evans and Gedman to load the bases. Henderson strikes again with a SF to put the Sox back in front. Calvin Schiraldi then closes 1-2-3 for a 7-6 victory.

Back East, Boston wins Game 6 10-4, then coasts 8-1 behind Roger Clemens in Game 7. That propels them to one of the most dramatic World Series ever against the New York Mets.

If the Game 5 loss was devastating to Moore, he didn't show it at the time. After the game, he was nonchalant. "I made a bad pitch. Usually, my ball dips. That ball [to Henderson in the ninth] didn't dip. When you make bad pitches, you lose games."

Moore later added: "If my arm is right, the ball falls right off the table. He doesn't touch it. I threw the pitch and will take the blame, but it's history. If you can't take the bitter with the sweet, you're in the wrong game. However, I don't believe the pitch cost us the game. We still could have won it." Never healthy again, Donnie saves only nine more games the next two years before being released by the Angels. He experienced unmerciful booing by the home fans in '88. The next season, he was released by AAA Omaha. Shortly thereafter, he separated from his wife of 16 years, Tonya, who told neighbors that he beat her. He also battled alcoholism and drug abuse. During an argument on July 18, 1989, he shot Tonya three times in front of their three children. Their 17-year-old daughter rushed Tonya to the hospital. Back in the house with his son, Moore shot himself in the head. "He felt he was the next Ralph Branca," said Tonya, who recovered from her wounds.

Ted's Remarkable Streak

Ted Williams
38-year-old Ted Williams approached the 1957 season with de­termination. He wanted to show the baseball world that he was worth the $100,000 the Red Sox were paying him and that he was still the best hitter in the American League despite the rise of Mickey Mantle. During the winter, he exercised with 25-pound weights for his wrists and forearms and did fingertip pushups to put him in his best shape in years.

Ted got off to a great start and continued hot. Two weeks into the season, he was hitting .474 with nine HRs, including three in one game at Comiskey Park. On June 13, his average was .392 after another three-homer game. However, he slumped after the All-Star break, leading Boston writer Bob Holbrook to comment about "telltale signs that Number 9 is reaching the end of the trail." That was all the incentive Ted need to break out, cracking 13 hits in 19 AB to bring his average back up to .367. By the end of August, he was at .377, which was only one point ahead of the surging Mantle.

At that point, Ted fell prey to a severe upper-respiratory virus – one of the worst of his career – and missed half of September. Once again, writers speculated that he was through. He pushed himself to get back to prove them wrong again.
  • September 17: he hit a pinch HR at Fenway to help Boston to a 9-8 win over KC.
  • September 18: he walked as a pinch hitter.
  • September 19: he hit another pinch HR, this one off Whitey Ford at Yankee Stadium in the ninth inning of the first game of a DH. In the second game, he played LF and hit a grand slam off Bob Turley and garnered three walks.
  • September 20: in the last game of the Yankee series, he homered, singled, and walked.
  • September 23: he singled, walked three times, and was hit by a pitch against the Senators.
He had reached base 16 consecutive times after returning from a serious illness: six hits, including four HRs, nine bases on balls, and one hit by pitch. After grounding out to end the streak, he hit another one out of the park. That gave him five HRs in eight official ABs.

From mid-September to the end of the season, the Splendid Splinter hit .647 to make his final average .388, comfortably ahead of Mantle's .365 (Mickey's highest average in any season). The illness probably cost Ted the HR title. He ended with 38 but fell short, not to Mickey, who hit 34, but to Roy Sievers of the Senators, who blasted 42.

Reference: Ted Williams: A Baseball Life, Michael Seidel (1991)

Three Shutouts in Four Days
One of the most amazing pitching performances in baseball history occurred in 1908 when Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators shut out the New York Highlanders (forerunner of the Yankees) three times in four days. Why did Johnson pitch so much? Because the Senators were short on pitchers due to injuries. Here is the chronicle of the three games, which were played at the Highlanders' Hilltop Park.
  • Friday, September 4: Johnson bested New York ace Jack Chesbro 3-0, allowing six hits.
  • Saturday, September 5: The "Big Train" (as Johnson was later called) gave only four hits in a 6-0 whitewash.
  • Sunday, September 6: No game because of New York "blue laws" prohibiting sports events on the Sabbath.
  • Monday, September 7: Walter outdueled Chesbro again 4-0 in the first game of a doubleheader. This time the Highlanders managed only two hits. Johnson did not have to pitch the nightcap, which the Senators also won 9-3.
Walter Johnson
Toiling for a 7th-place team (in an eight-team league), Johnson finished the season with only a 14-14 record. However, he had a 1.65 ERA. Six of his 14 wins were shutouts. Oh, by the way, guess who the last place team was that year? You got it – the New York Highlanders!
Castro Hosts the World Series
Starting in 1905, the "Little World Series" or "Junior World Series" annually pitted the winners of two of the top level minor leagues at the end of the season. Until 1931, the series was best-of-nine, then changed to best-of-seven. The last season a post-season series was played in that format was 1975. Undoubtedly the most interesting of the Junior World Series occurred after the 1959 season. The contestants were:
  • The Minneapolis Millers, American Association champions, a Boston Red Sox farm club managed by future MLB skipper Gene Mauch. The team boasted future big leaguers Chuck Tanner (OF), Pumpsie Green (IF and first black player for the Red Sox, Earl Wilson (P), Lu Clinton (OF), Roy Smalley (IF), and Tommy Umphlett (OF).
  • The Havana Sugar Kings, winners of the International League, directed by another future big league manager, Preston Gomez. The roster of the Cincinnati Reds affiliate included Mike Cuellar (P), Luis Arroyo (P), Leo Cardenas (IF), Elio Chacon (IF), Cookie Rojas (IF), and Tony Gonzalez (OF) all of whom made the "bigs."
Occuring less than a year after Fidel Castro overthrew Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, the series provided much drama, especially for the games in Cuba. "It was the only Junior Series ever played in which the submachine guns outnumbered the bats." (Bob Beebe, Sporting News).

The Series started on September 27 once the playoffs within each league were completed. The first three games were scheduled for Metropolitan Stadium in Minneapolis (soon to become the home of the Minnesota Twins and the Vikings, but only two were played, and both were plagued by bad weather.

  • Game One: A steady drizzle kept the Sunday crowd to only 2,486 as Havana won 5-2. The visiting team actually had more vocal rooters than their hosts. Cuban natives living in Minneapolis cheered loudly with maracas and Cuban flags behind the Kings' dugout.
  • Game Two: Cold weather reduced the gate to 1,062. The Millers evened the Series on Ed Sadowski's walkoff HR 6-5. During the frigid contest, Havana players drank hot coffee and huddled around a fire they had built in the dugout.
  • The next day, snow began falling. As a result, the minor-league commission cancelled the game and ruled that the rest of the Series would be played in sultry Havana.
The baseball atmosphere was decidedly different in Cuba – and not just because of the tropical weather. While the 25,000 fans inside Grand Stadium warmly welcomed both teams, nearly 3,000 armed soldiers infiltrated the stadium, many lining the field while some even sat in the dugouts. Part of the reason for the military presence was the attendance of the Premier himself at every game. Castro, a huge baseball fan and erstwhile pitcher, entered the field through the CF gate as the fans chanted his name and waved handkerchiefs. He made it a point to sit in different parts of the stands each game, even spending some time on the Havana bench. However, the intimidation factor affected the Millers.

  • Mauch later said: "Our players were truly fearful of what might happen if we won. But we still tried our hardest, figuring we'd take our chances if we did win."
  • Once when Umphlett made a nice catch to end an inning, a soldier in the Millers dugout made a throat-slash gesture as Tom returned.
  • The visiting players were warned not to leave the hotel between games since gunfire broke out often.
Fidel Castro with Millers players Fidel Castro with Millers players and
manager Mauch (at Fidel's right)
  • Game Three: Young 2B Carl Yastrzemski, who had joined Minneapolis for the playoffs, hit a 400-foot HR but Havana tied the game with two in the eighth and won it in the tenth.
  • Game Four: The Miller bullpen blew another lead, yielding the tying run in the bottom of the ninth on a single by Dan Morejon who also drove in the winning run with another single in the 11th.
  • Games Five and Six: Minneapolis won games, 4-2 and 5-3, to force a deciding game.
  • Game Seven: When making his pre-game rounds before taking his seat, Castro told the pitchers in the Millers' bullpen, "Tonight, we win," as he patted a revolver on his belt. Still, the Millers hit two HRs to lead 2-0 into the eighth. Chacon opened with a single. With one out, Morejon stung again with a ground rule double down the RF line. After a strikeout, PH Larry Novak's single plated the tying runs. In the bottom of the ninth, the pesky Morejon stepped up with runners on first and second and two out. Once again, he came through, lining the first pitch to center to score the winning run.
All of Havana celebrated their Junior World Series title. The Millers left disappointed but relieved. "We were just happy to get it over and to get out of town with our hides," said P Ted Bowsfield.

The next year, Castro nationalized all U.S.-owned industries and businesses. As a result, Commissioner Ford Frick moved the Sugar Kings to New Jersey on July 8, 1960, renaming them the Jersey City Jerseys.

Jimmy Was Certifiable
Jim Piersall 1952
Jimmy Piersall was one of the most colorful and controversial players in baseball history. He was also one of the few who was actually diagnosed as mentally ill.

Born in Waterbury CO in 1929, he became a local legend at 14 when he excelled in a league with players twice his age. His mother suffered from mental illness and was committed to a sanitarium for ten years. His father, a house painter and semipro ballplayer, coached his son himself. At Leavenworth High, Jimmy lettered in three sports. As a senior, his 29 points led the team to the New England Championship in Boston Garden. After graduation, he signed with the Red Sox.

After several seasons in CF in the minors, he debuted with the Red Sox in 1952. Since Dom DiMaggio patrolled CF, manager Lou Boudreau switched Jimmy to SS. After making nine errors in 30 games, he was put in RF. Throughout the season, his behavior was completely unpredictable. He clashed with fans and umpires and called attention to himself by taking bows after almost every catch. He quickly gained a reputation as a clown, and fans flocked to games to see what he would do. Fed up, Boston sent him to AAA Birmingham on June 28. There his behavior became even more bizarre. Among his antics that season were these.
  • Instigated a fight with Billy Martin of the Yankees before a game, then tussled with teammate Mickey McDermott.
  • Climbed up the screen behind home plate.
  • Spread his arms in imitation of an airplane while running the bases.
  • Dropped his bat and imitated the pitcher's motion.
  • Left the plate and ran to first to speak in a stage whisper to the runner.
  • When an umpire called him out on strikes, pulled a water pistol and sprayed the plate so the ump could see it better.
  • As a runner at 1B, mocked St. Louis Browns hurler Satchell Paige by imitating his windup.
After only three weeks at Birmingham, he entered Westborough (MA) State Hospital for six weeks. He received shock treatments and lithium for his manic depression. In 1955, his autobiography Fear Strikes Out was published. Two years later, it was made into a movie starring Anthony Perkins. (Jimmy hated the movie because Perkins was so unathletic and it protrayed his father as obsessive and domineering. "The book was the truth. The movie was not my story," he said.)

Piersall played 15 more seasons in the AL: Red Sox 1953-58, Cleveland Indians 1959-61, Washington Senators (1962-63), Los Angeles/California Angels (1963-67). His best years were 1956 with Boston (.293/14 HR/87 RBI) and 1960 with Cleveland (.282/18 HR/66 RBI). He gained a reputation as one of the finest defensive CFs in the game, playing shallow because of confidence he could catch any ball hit over his head. He won Gold Gloves in 1958 and 1961 and made the All-Star Team in 1954 and 1956. Casey Stengel said of him: "I thought Joe DiMaggio was the greatest defensive outfielder I ever saw. But I have to rate Piersall better."

His behavior improved after hospitalization, but he still did "crazy" things.
  • He would sit on top of the fence at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium.
  • Teammates pulled him away when he challenged bleacherites in Yankee Stadium to fight.
  • During a Sunday DH before a large crowd at Yankee Stadium, two teenage fans charged him, calling him a nut. Piersall defended himself from their punches until a teammate and the police rescued him.
  • When he hit his 100th HR in 1963 during a brief stay with the Mets, he ran the bases backwards. Manager Stengel released him two days later.
  • Confessing that he played better when angry, he provoked umpires, managers, players, fans, and writers. He liked to anger opponents to distract them.
After retiring, Piersall became a broadcaster, teaming with Harry Caray with the White Sox. As was inevitable, his occasional outrageous comments during games got him in trouble until he was fired in 1983. He also worked as an OF instructor for the Cubs. Jimmy hosts a sports talk show in Chicago where he can rant to his heart's content.
Five Wins, Two No-Hitters
Virgil Trucks
Virgil Trucks
Virgil "Fire" Trucks had one of the most unusual seasons of any pitcher in MLB history in 1952. The 35-year old righthander won only five games for the last place Detroit Tigers but two of them were no-hitters and one was a one-hitter!
  • Thursday, May 15, 1952: Because the Tigers were playing so poorly, only 2,215 populated mammoth Briggs Stadium to watch Trucks face the Washington Senators. Bob Porterfield matched Trucks goose egg for goose egg (albeit while allowing some hits) until the bottom of the ninth. Vic Wertz belted a HR into the RF upper deck to win the game. Trucks jumped up in the dugout and hit his head on the ceiling. "It didn't draw blood, but I sure saw stars" as he joined the team in greeting Wertz at the plate. Virgil was also grateful to another teammate, RHP Art Houtteman, who let him borrow his spikes because Virgil's had shrunk and pinched his feet. "They fit perfectly for me the rest of the year," Trucks said. "Art kept trying to get 'em back, but I wouldn't do it."
  • Tuesday, July 22: The Senators were again the opposition in Briggs Stadium. Trucks gave up a leadoff single to Eddie Yost, then retired 27 in a row for another 1-0 win.
  • Monday, August 25: The second no-hitter, at Yankee Stadium, was controversial. In the third inning, Phil Rizzuto hit a one-hopper to SS Johnny Pesky who had trouble getting the ball out of his glove. The throw to first was too late. Official scorer John Drebinger of the New York Times first ruled an error, then changed it to a hit. As the game progressed without another Yankee hit, writers in the press box importuned Drebinger to change the ruling. Finally, he called the dugout, and Pesky told him he juggled the ball and should have made the play. When the change back to an error was announced in the seventh, the crowd applauded heartily. Trucks later said: "The thing that bothered me about that play is that Rizzuto was really out at first. We were all arguing with the first-base umpire, and I nearly got tossed from the game." In the bottom of the ninth, Trucks struck out Mickey Mantle and then Johnny Groth made an outstanding catch in CF. Hank Bauer hit a one-hop bullet to 2B Al Federoff, who threw him out. The New York fans gave Trucks a standing ovation and his teammates mobbed him.

    Trucks finished 1952 with a 5-19 record and a 3.97 ERA. In the five wins, he yielded only nine hits. The Tigers finished last for the first time in franchise history. In December, while he was recovering from gallbladder surgery in the hospital, Virgil's wife brought him the newspaper with a headline that he had been traded to the St. Louis Browns as part of Detroit's rebuilding program. He retired after the 1958 season with a 177-135 record.

    Reference: "In '52 Virgil Trucks Won Only Five Games, But Two Were No-Hitters,"
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