1950 Detroit Tigers season

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1950 Detroit Tigers
Major League affiliations
Location
Other information
Owner(s) Walter Briggs, Sr.
Manager(s) Red Rolfe
Local television WWJ
(Harry Heilmann, Paul Williams, Ty Tyson)
Local radio WJBK/WXYZ
(Harry Heilmann)
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The 1950 Detroit Tigers had a record of 95-59 (.617), the seventh-best winning percentage in the Tigers' 107-year history. After a tight back-and-forth pennant race, they finished in second place, three games behind a Yankees team that swept the Phillies in the 1950 World Series.

Regular season[edit]

The 1950 Tigers outscored their opponents 837 to 713, had the second best team ERA in the American League and scored the third most runs of the eight American League teams. The Tigers' home attendance of 1,951,474 was the second highest in the major leagues, trailing only the Yankees.

The 1950 team was led by: third baseman George Kell, who was second in the American League in batting with a .340 average, finished 4th in the AL MVP voting and led the major leagues with 218 hits and 56 doubles; center fielder Hoot Evers who had a .323 batting average, 109 RBIs, and led American League outfielders in fielding percentage (.997) with one error in over 325 chances; right fielder Vic Wertz who had 27 home runs, 123 RBIs, and a .408 on-base percentage; and pitcher Art Houtteman who had a record of 19-12 with a 3.54 ERA (Adjusted ERA+ of 132), 21 complete games and four shutouts.

Season summary[edit]

The Tigers spent most of the season in first place but lost the pennant in the last two weeks of the season to the Yankees.

The Tigers got off to a hot start and were in first place from Opening Day until May 18, 1950, when the Yankees edged ahead. The Tigers retook first place on June 10, 1950 and remained there for most of the summer until August 30, 1950, leading by as much as 4½ games. The month of September saw one of the tightest pennant races in history as the Yankees and Tigers exchanged the first place eight times in the final month. The Tigers’ loss of 5 of 6 game to the Cleveland Indians in the last two weeks of the season helped the Yankees take the pennant by three games.

The 1950 Tigers' winning percentage ranks as the 7th best in team history.

The players[edit]

Catchers: Robinson, Swift and Ginsberg[edit]

Catching duties were split between Aaron Robinson (.226 batting average in 107 games), Bob Swift (.227 average in 67 games), and Joe Ginsberg (.232 average in 36 games).

On September 24, 1950, with the Tigers in the middle of a tight pennant race with the Yankees, Robinson became the "goat." Heavy smoke from a Canadian forest fire forced the Tigers to turn on the lights for a Sunday afternoon game against the Indians. With the game tied 1-1, Cleveland pitcher Bob Lemon opened the 10th inning with a triple, and two intentional walks followed. With the bases loaded and one out, Robinson thought he could force out Lemon by stepping on the plate without tagging him. Because of the haze, he did not see first baseman Don Kolloway remove the force after fielding the ball. Robinson's mental lapse cost Detroit the game, and he was blamed for squelching the Tigers' pennant hopes.[citation needed]

Infield: Kolloway/Kryhoski, Priddy, Lipon and Kell[edit]

First base duties for the 1950 Tigers were split between Don Kolloway, who hit .289 and had a career-high 62 RBIs, and Dick Kryhoski, who hit .219 with 19 RBIs.

Second baseman Jerry Priddy played in a career and AL high 157 games in 1950, all at second base. He hit .277 with a .376 on-base percentage, 13 home runs, 75 RBIs, and was among the AL leaders with 104 runs scored (10th), 95 walks (7th), 126 singles (7th), 253 times on base (10th), 13 sacrifice hits (6th), 618 at bats (4th), 22 time grounded into a double play (5th), and 95 strikeouts (2nd). Priddy also led AL second basemen in 1950 with 542 assists and 150 double plays. He finished 17th in the 1950 AL MVP voting.

Shortstop Johnny Lipon played for the Tigers from 1942 to 1952, though he missed 3½ years to the war. In 1950, Lipon hit .293 with a .378 on-base percentage, scored 104 runs, walked 88 times, and had 63 RBIs. Lipon also led AL shortstops in 1950 with 483 assists and 126 double plays. In 1951, Lipon scored a run in Bob Feller's third career no-hitter, when he reached on an error, stole second base, advanced to third on an errant pickoff throw, and scored on a sacrifice fly.

Third baseman George Kell had a tremendous season for the 1950 Tigers. He was second in the AL in batting with a .340 batting average, played in the All Star game, and was 4th in the AL MVP voting. He also led the league in hits (218), doubles (56), runs created (124), games (157), and at bats (641), and was among the league leaders with 310 total bases (4th), 114 runs (5th), 285 times on base (3rd), 148 singles (2nd), and 35.6 at bats per strikeout (2nd). Kell was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1983.

Outfield: Wertz, Evers, and Groth[edit]

Right fielder Vic Wertz played for the Tigers from 1947 to 1952 and again from 1961 to 1963. In 1950, he hit .308 and was among the AL leaders with a .408 on-base percentage (9th), .533 slugging percentage (6th), 123 RBIs (4th), 37 doubles (2nd), 120 runs created (4th), 27 home runs (9th), 172 hits (9th), 68 extra base hits (5th), 298 total bases (8th), 91 walks (10th), 267 times on base (10th), and 20.7 at bats per home run (7th). He finished 10th in the AL MVP voting. Wertz is remembered as the batter who hit the 450-foot fly ball that Willie Mays caught in the 1954 World Series, a play that has become known as "The Catch."

Center fielder Hoot Evers also had a big year for the 1950 Tigers. He was selected for the All Star team, hit for the cycle on September 7, 1950, led the AL with 11 triples, finished 11th in the AL MVP voting, and was among the AL leaders with a .551 slugging percentage (3rd), 34 doubles (4th), .959 OPS (4th), 67 extra base hits (6th), .323 batting average (7th), 109 RBIs (9th), 259 total bases (9th), and .408 on-base percentage (10th). Evers also led AL outfielders in fielding percentage (.997) with one error in over 325 chances. When Evers came to the plate in Detroit, Tigers fans would rise to their feet and yell "Ho-o-o-o-t," "Ho-o-o-o-t."

Left fielder Johnny Groth played for the Tigers from 1946 to 1952. Tabbed for superstardom in 1949 by Time, Collier's, The Saturday Evening Post, and Life after he hit .340 for the Buffalo Bisons,[citation needed] Groth hit .306 in 1959 with career-highs in home runs (12), RBIs (85), hits (173), runs scored (95), on-base percentage (.407), doubles (30), walks (95), plate appearances (670), and games played (157). At one point during the 1950 season, he had eight consecutive hits.

Pat Mullin was a backup outfielder for the 1950 Tigers. He hit .251 in 97 games.

Pitching: Houtteman, Newhouser, Hutchinson, Gray and Trout[edit]

The Tigers' 1950 pitching staff had a team ERA of 4.12, second best in the American League behind the Cleveland Indians.

The ace of the staff was Art Houtteman. In 1950, Houtteman was chosen for the All Star team for the only time in his career. He had a record of 19-12 with a 3.54 ERA (Adjusted ERA+ of 132), 21 complete games and four shutouts in 274⅔ innings pitched.

Fred Hutchinson had the second most wins on the 1950 staff. He finished the year with a 17-8 record, a .680 winning percentage, and a 3.96 ERA in 231⅔ innings pitched.

Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser had his poorest season since 1943, finishing with a 15-13 record and a 4.34 ERA in 213⅔ inning pitched.

Dizzy Trout led the team with a .722 winning percentage (2nd best in the AL) with a 13-5 record and 3.75 ERA (Adjusted ERA+ of 124) in 184⅔ innings pitched.

Ted Gray led the team with 102 strikeouts. Despite a 4.40 ERA, he finished the season with a 10-7 record in 149⅓ innings pitched.

Season standings[edit]

American League W L Pct. GB
New York Yankees 98 56 .636 --
Detroit Tigers 95 59 .617 3
Boston Red Sox 94 60 .610 4
Cleveland Indians 92 62 .597 6
Washington Senators 67 87 .435 31
Chicago White Sox 60 94 .390 38
St. Louis Browns 58 96 .377 40
Philadelphia Athletics 52 102 .338 46

Season chronology[edit]

  • April 17: The Tigers beat the Indians, 7-6, on Opening Day in Cleveland.
  • April 22: The Tigers beat the White Sox, 5-0, behind the shut out pitching of Art Houtteman, to start the season 4-0.
  • May 11: The Tigers sweep the Red Sox in a double header at Fenway Park (13-4 and 5-3). The next day, Ted Williams apologized through a front office statement to Boston fans for "insulting gestures" he made in response to catcalls prompted by his two errors in the doubleheader loss. Williams' second error allowed the Tigers winning run to score.
  • May 19: The Tigers sent 14 batters to the plate and scored 10 runs in the 5th inning to beat the Athletics‚ 14-8. George Kell and Vic Wertz each had two hits in the inning. Virgil Trucks‚ a 19-game winner in 1949‚ hurt his arm and was lost for the season. Fred Hutchinson pitched in relief and picked up the win.
  • May 20: Detroit second baseman Jerry Priddy started a record five double plays in the first 5 innings to lead the Tigers to a 5-3 win over the A's. Shortstop Johnny Lipon participated in all the double plays to tie an AL record.
  • June 2: George Kell hit for the cycle in the second game of a doubleheader sweep of the A's. The Tigers won the opener, 8-2, behind the pitching of Ted Gray, and home runs by Vic Wertz and Hoot Evers. They won the second game, 16-5. Wertz had five RBIs in the opener and two more in the second game.
  • June 8: The Tigers lost to the Yankees, 11-4, after the Yankees scored seven runs in the 6th inning. Phil Rizzuto's record of 238 errorless chances ended when he fumbled a ground ball in the 5th inning. The Red Sox scored 29 runs and an MLB record 58 total bases against the Browns.
  • June 10: The Tigers retook first place.
  • June 15: The Tigers beat the A's‚ 7-3‚ for their 8th win in 9 meetings with the A's. Hoot Evers had his 19 game hit streak stopped but George Kell ran his to 15 games. Fred Hutchinson got the win.
  • June 16: Pitching before a crowd of 54‚086‚ Hal Newhouser beat the Red Sox for the second time in six days‚ winning 4-1. He struck out eight, including Johnny Pesky four times. Detroit maintained its 1½ game lead over the Yankees.
  • June 23: The Tigers beat the Yankees, 10-9, in front of 51,000 fans in Detroit. A then-MLB record eleven home runs accounted for all the runs. Detroit has four home runs in the 4th inning by Dizzy Trout‚ Jerry Priddy‚ Vic Wertz, and Hoot Evers. Trout's home run was the second grand slam of his career. Evers also hit an inside-the-park two-run home run to win the game in the 9th inning. Hank Bauer, Joe DiMaggioJerry Coleman, Yogi Berra‚ and Tommy Henrich hit home runs for New York.
  • June 24: Art Houtteman led the Tigers to a 4-1 win over the Yankees. Yogi Berra hit a solo home run for the Yankee's only score. The Tigers led the AL by three games.
  • June 27: Marlin Stuart pitched a 1-0 perfect game for the Toledo Mud Hens. He was then called up to the big leagues to play for the Detroit Tigers.
  • July 2: The Tigers split a doubleheader with the Indians. Bob Feller got his 200th win‚ 5-3‚ in the second game. Detroit won the opener‚ 8-5.
  • July 19: The Tigers beat the Red Sox, 9-5, at Fenway Park. In the 9th inning, umpire called time just before a Red Sox pinch hitter tripled to center field. The at bat was played over, and results in a groundout.[citation needed]
  • July 23: The Tigers beat the Yankees, 6-5, to maintain their hold on first place. Detroit pitcher Saul Rogovin hit a grand slam off Eddie Lopat.
  • August 3: The Tigers bought Hank Borowy from the Pirates. Detroit fans recall Borowy as the pitcher who pitched for the Cubs against the Tigers in four games of the 1945 World Series, winning two and losing two.
  • August 14: The Tigers lost to the Indians, 3-2, in 10 innings, before 60,120 fans at Cleveland Stadium. Detroit's lead in the AL was reduced to 2½ games. Al Rosen tied the game in the ninth with a two-out home run. Right fielder Bob Kennedy started a triple play from the outfield.
  • August 30: The Tigers dropped out of first place for the first time since June 10 when they split a pair with the Senators, losing 3–2 in 11 innings, then taking the second game, 10–8.
  • September 7: Hoot Evers hit for the cycle, added another triple, and batted in six runs in a 13–13, ten-inning tie with Cleveland. The game, ended because of darkness, left Detroit in first place by a few percentage points. Al Rosen and Bob Feller both hit early 2-run home runs as the Indians blew three leads in the game.
  • September 9: The Tigers and White Sox finished a game that started in April. The game was originally scheduled as the second game of a doubleheader, but was halted by darkness after 9 innings with the scored tied 7-7. Art Houtteman finally ended it with a 1–0, 12-inning win. Hoot Evers tripled and scored on a single by Johnny Groth. The Tigers lost the second game, 5–4, cutting their lead to a half game over New York and a game ahead of Boston.
  • September 11: The Tigers were idle, and the Yankees moved into first with a doubleheader sweep over the Senators, 5–1 and 6–2.
  • September 12: The Tigers beat the Senators, 3-2 in Detroit, and the Yankees blew a 6-run lead as Cleveland scored four in the 9th inning to win, 8–7. The Tigers moved ahead of the Yankees by a half game and a full game ahead of Boston.
  • September 13: The Tigers beat the Senators, 6-1, and the Yankees beat the Indians, 10-3. The Tigers remained 1 half game ahead of the Yankees.
  • September 14: The Tigers and Yankees meet in Detroit for a three-game series. The Yankees won, 6-5, as Vic Raschi got his 20th win. Detroit scored two runs in the 1st inning, but the Yankees came back as Joe DiMaggio and Hank Bauer both hit home runs. The Yankees took over first place by a half game.
  • September 15: The Tigers won the second game of the three-game series in Detroit. On a Friday night, Johnny Mize hit three home runs, but the Tigers won, 9-7. The Tigers moved back into first place by a half game.
  • September 16: Rookie Whitey Ford held the Tigers to six hits, as the Yankees beat the Tigers, 8-1. Joe DiMaggio hit his 30th home run and the Yankees scored seven runs in the ninth inning. The Yankees moved a half game ahead of the Tigers in a see-saw pennant race.
  • September 17–18: The Tigers were swept in a two-game series with the Red Sox in Detroit, both games by identical 3-2 scores.
  • September 19–21: The Tigers swept a three-game series against the A's in Detroit.
  • September 22: The Tigers were swept in a doubleheader against the Indians, in Cleveland. In the first game, Detroit first baseman Don Kolloway hit a two-run home run in the top of the 9th inning off Bob Feller to tie the game at 3–3. In the bottom of the inning, Joe Gordon hit a walk-off home run off Hal Newhouser. The loss moved the Tigers back into 2nd place. The Tigers lost the second game, 10-2. Cleveland was the only team that held a winning record over Detroit in 1950 (13–9).
  • September 24: The Tigers lost to the Indians, 2-1. In Detroit, heavy smoke from a Canadian forest fire forced the Tigers to put on the lights in the Sunday afternoon game. Bob Lemon hit a home run in the 4th inning, and Johnny Lipon tied it with a home run. Lemon opened the 10th with a triple, and two intentional walks followed. With the bases loaded and one out, Detroit catcher Aaron Robinson thought he could complete a double play be stepping on the plate. Because of the haze, he did not see first baseman Don Kolloway remove the force after fielding the ball. Robinson's mental lapse cost Detroit the game.
  • September 26–28: The Tigers won three out of four games against the Browns, and relief pitcher Hal White got the win in all three games.
  • September 29 – October 1: The Tigers finish the season losing two games in a three game series with the Indians. On the last day of the regular season, the Indians beat the Tigers, 7-5. The Tigers finished three games behind the Yankees.

Roster[edit]

1950 Detroit Tigers
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders

Other batters

Manager

Coaches

Player stats[edit]

Batting[edit]

Starters by position[edit]

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
C Robinson, AaronAaron Robinson 107 283 64 .226 9 37
1B Kolloway, DonDon Kolloway 125 467 135 .289 6 32
2B Priddy, JerryJerry Priddy 157 618 171 .277 13 75
3B Kell, GeorgeGeorge Kell 157 641 218 .340 8 101
SS Lipon, JohnnyJohnny Lipon 147 601 176 .293 2 63
OF Groth, JohnnyJohnny Groth 157 566 173 .306 12 85
OF Wertz, VicVic Wertz 149 559 172 .308 27 123
OF Evers, HootHoot Evers 143 526 170 .323 21 103

Other batters[edit]

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Kryhoski, DickDick Kryhoski 53 169 37 .219 4 19
Mullin, PatPat Mullin 69 142 31 .218 6 23
Swift, BobBob Swift 67 132 30 .227 2 9
Ginsberg, JoeJoe Ginsberg 36 95 22 .232 0 12
Keller, CharlieCharlie Keller 50 51 16 .314 2 16
Berry, NeilNeil Berry 39 40 10 .250 0 7
Lake, EddieEddie Lake 20 7 0 .000 0 0
House, FrankFrank House 5 5 2 .400 0 0
Campbell, PaulPaul Campbell 3 1 0 .000 0 0

Note: pitchers' batting statistics not included

Pitching[edit]

Starting pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Houtteman, ArtArt Houtteman 41 274.2 19 12 3.54 88
Hutchinson, FredFred Hutchinson 39 231.2 17 8 2.96 71
Newhouser, HalHal Newhouser 35 213.2 15 13 4.34 87
Trout, DizzyDizzy Trout 34 184.2 13 5 3.75 88
Gray, TedTed Gray 27 149.1 10 7 4.40 102
Trucks, VirgilVirgil Trucks 7 48.1 3 1 3.54 25

Other pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
White, HalHal White 42 111 9 6 4.54 53
Rogovin, SaulSaul Rogovin 11 40 2 1 4.50 11
Borowy, HankHank Borowy 13 32.2 1 1 3.31 12
Herbert, RayRay Herbert 8 22.1 1 2 3.63 5

Relief pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Calvert, PaulPaul Calvert 32 2 2 4 6.31 14
Stuart, MarlinMarlin Stuart 19 3 1 2 5.56 19
Connelly, BillBill Connelly 2 0 0 0 6.75 1

Awards and honors[edit]

1950 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

League leaders[edit]

  • Hoot Evers: MLB leader in times caught stealing (9)
  • Hoot Evers: AL leader in triples (11)
  • Hoot Evers: AL leader in fielding percentage by an outfielder (.997)
  • Fred Hutchinson: AL leader in shutouts (4)
  • Fred Hutchinson: AL leader in walks per 9 innings pitched (1.86)
  • Fred Hutchinson: AL leader in strikeout to walk ratio (1.48)
  • Fred Hutchinson: AL leader in home runs allowed (29)
  • George Kell: MLB leader in hits (218)
  • George Kell: MLB leader in doubles (56)
  • George Kell: AL leader in runs created (124)
  • George Kell: AL leader in at bats (641)
  • Johnny Lipon: AL leader in assists (483) and double plays (126) by a shortstop
  • Jerry Priddy: AL leader in assists (542) and double plays (150) by a second baseman

Players ranking among top 100 of all time at position[edit]

The following members of the 1950 Detroit Tigers are among the Top 100 of all time at their positions, as ranked by The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract in 2001:

Farm system[edit]

Level Team League Manager
AAA Toledo Mud Hens American Association Eddie Mayo
AA Little Rock Travelers Southern Association Jack Saltzgaver
A Flint Arrows Central League Gene Desautels
A Williamsport Tigers Eastern League Jack Tighe
B Durham Bulls Carolina League Ace Parker
C Butler Tigers Middle Atlantic League Marv Olson
D Thomasville Tigers Georgia-Florida League Bob Benish
D Richmond Tigers Ohio-Indiana League Ralph DiLullo and Ken Holtcamp
D Jamestown Falcons PONY League Bob Shawkey

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Butler

References[edit]

External links[edit]