Virgil Trucks

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Virgil Trucks
Virgil Trucks.jpg
Trucks during his tenure with the Browns
Pitcher
Born: (1917-04-26)April 26, 1917
Birmingham, Alabama
Died: March 23, 2013(2013-03-23) (aged 95)
Calera, Alabama
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 27, 1941 for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
September 26, 1958 for the New York Yankees
Career statistics
Win–loss record 177–135
Earned run average 3.39
Strikeouts 1,534
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Virgil Oliver "Fire" Trucks (April 26, 1917 – March 23, 2013) was a starting pitcher and coach in Major League Baseball. From 1941 through 1958, Trucks played for the Detroit Tigers (1941–1943, 1945–1952, 1956), St. Louis Browns (1953), Chicago White Sox (1953–1955), Kansas City Athletics (1958) and New York Yankees (1958). He batted and threw right-handed.

Trucks was a two-time All-Star and a two-time league leader in shutouts. In 1952, Trucks became the third major leaguer to throw two no-hitters in a season. He missed two seasons due to service in World War II. After his playing career, Trucks coached for several years in the major leagues. At the time of his death in March 2013, he had been one of the oldest living former major league players.

Career[edit]

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Virgil "Fire" Trucks posted a 177–135 record with 1,534 strikeouts and a 3.39 ERA in 2,682.2 innings pitched over a 17-year career. The Detroit Tigers first signed him as an amateur in 1938. In his first minor league season, Trucks set a minor league record with 418 strikeouts. He also threw four minor league no-hitters. He debuted with the team in the fall of 1941.

Trucks missed two seasons due to military service in World War II and was discharged from the Navy less than two weeks before his start in the second game of the 1945 World Series. Because of the circumstances, the leagues waived the rule requiring players to have been on the team's roster by September 1 to qualify for post-season play. He defeated the Cubs in that game. The only other pitcher to win a post-season game without winning a regular season game is Chris Carpenter of the 2012 St. Louis Cardinals.

In 1949, Trucks was selected for the MLB All-Star Game and he led the league in shutouts and strikeouts. In 1952, despite a 5–19 record, Trucks became just the third major league pitcher to hurl two no-hitters in one season (two others have since matched the feat). He won both no-hitters by a score of 1-0, beating the Washington Senators on May 15 and the New York Yankees on August 25. In the 1953 season, Trucks recorded a 20-10 record, 149 strikeouts and a 2.93 ERA; he finished fifth in AL MVP voting. He had been traded early that season from the St. Louis Browns to the Chicago White Sox, becoming one of a small number of pitchers traded during a 20-win season. He earned his second All-Star distinction in 1954, a year in which he led the AL in shutouts for a second time.

Coaching[edit]

After retiring as a player, Trucks joined the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Pirates, winning the 1960 World Series with them against his old team, the Yankees. He continued coaching with the Pirates, then coached the Atlanta Braves and ended his MLB career with the Tigers in 1974.[1]

Later life[edit]

Trucks was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1974 and into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.[1][2]

In the summer of 2012, Trucks was injured in a fall, but he made a recovery.[3]

Personal[edit]

Trucks was the uncle of Butch Trucks, a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band. Trucks' great nephew, Derek, is also currently a member of the Allman Brothers Band and has a band with his wife, Susan Tedeschi, Tedeschi Trucks Band.[4] In addition, several of Trucks' other relatives are accomplished musicians.

Death[edit]

Trucks died on March 23, 2013 at the age of 95 in Calera, Alabama.[5] He had been hospitalized with pneumonia shortly before his death. He is survived by his fourth wife, Elizabeth Ann.[3]

References[edit]

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

Preceded by
Allie Reynolds
Carl Erskine
No-hitter pitcher
May 15, 1952
August 25, 1952
Succeeded by
Carl Erskine
Bobo Holloman