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Hal Newhouser
Pitcher
Born: May 20, 1921(1921-05-20)
Detroit, Michigan
Died: November 10, 1998 (aged 77)
Detroit, Michigan
Batted: Left Threw: Left 
MLB debut
September 29, 1939 for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
May 3, 1955 for the Cleveland Indians
Career statistics
Win–Loss record     207–150
Earned run average     3.06
Strikeouts     1,796
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction     1992
Election Method     Veteran's Committee

Harold "Prince Hal" Newhouser (May 20, 1921 – November 10, 1998) was an American pitcher for Major League Baseball who played 17 seasons from 1939 to 1955, mostly with the Detroit Tigers of the American League. Newhouser was considered to be the most dominating pitcher of the World War II era of baseball, winning a pitcher's triple crown for the Tigers in 1945.

Contents

Early life

Newhouser was a schoolboy star in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan, signed by the Detroit Tigers in 1939 at the age of 18. He went up to the major league club before the end of the season and made his debut on September 29 of that year. In 1940, he earned a spot on the Tigers out of spring training and remained with the team until 1953.

In his first two full big-league seasons, the young left-hander was plagued with control problems, walking more batters than he struck out while posting records of 9–9 and 9–11. He improved in 1942 and 1943, posting excellent ERAs, but still losing more than he won on a team with a weak offense.

As World War II got under way, the Tigers moved up in the standings because several of their top players, including Newhouser, were classified as 4-F (ineligible to the drafted). Newhouser was 4-F due to a leaky heart valve; he attempted to join the service anyway but was turned down several times.[citation needed]

He blossomed all at once in 1944, becoming a dominant pitcher in wartime baseball. That season, Newhouser rang up a 29–9 record while leading the league in wins and strikeouts (187). His 2.22 ERA was second in the league, as were his 25 complete games and six shutouts. Not coincidentally, the Tigers jumped into contention, finishing second in the American League. Newhouser ended the season by being named MVP.

In 1945, he repeated as MVP with what was arguably an even better season. This time, he won the pitcher's Triple Crown, leading the American League in wins (25, against nine losses), ERA (1.81) and strikeouts (212). He also led the league in innings pitched, games started, complete games and shutouts. Newhouser pitched four innings of relief on the season's final day as Detroit rallied for the pennant. He then won two games in the World Series to help his team to the World Championship, including the deciding seventh game.

A year later, many stars came back from the war, and critics predicted that Newhouser wouldn't be as dominant against the "real" major leaguers. But he proved his 1944–45 performance was legitimate by duplicating it in 1946. He went 26–9 with a 1.94 ERA, again leading the league in wins and ERA. He didn't win a third MVP, but he was close, finishing a close second to Ted Williams.

Newhouser continued to rate among the game's best pitchers for the next five years. He won 17 games in 1947, led the AL with 21 wins in 1948 and rung up an 18–11 mark in 1949. After a 15–13 season in 1950, he hurt his arm and his workload was cut significantly.

After being released by the Tigers following the 1953 season, Newhouser signed on with the powerful Cleveland Indians and was their top long reliever in 1954, when Cleveland won the pennant. In his final big-league hurrah, he posted a 7–2 mark with an excellent 2.54 ERA, and got to pitch in his second World Series.

He ended his career with a record of 207–150 and a 3.06 ERA, marks well in line with many baseball Hall of Fame pitchers. He is the only pitcher ever to win two consecutive MVP awards. In 1992, he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Detret16.PNG
Hal Newhouser's number 16 was retired by the Detroit Tigers in 1997

Post-playing career

A statue of Hal Newhouser in Comerica Park.

After retirement, Newhouser worked as a scout for the Houston Astros, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, and the Tigers. While with the Astros, Newhouser was credited with discovering Derek Jeter, whom the Astros passed over for Phil Nevin.[1] He had discovered, as a scout with the Orioles, a Detroit high schooler named Milt Pappas, who would win 209 games in his career—two more than Newhouser, and Dean Chance, of Wooster, Ohio, who would also have a long career. The Tigers retired his number 16 in 1997, and he died a year later following an illness.

See also

References

External links

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