Hal Newhouser was a
Detroit native Hal Newhouser signed on
with the Tigers in 1938 at the age of 17.
Early in his career, Newhouser had difficulty with control. Plagued by streaks of wildness and a volcanic temper, he alienated both managers and teammates. His fortunes changed, however, with the 1943 arrival of catcher Paul Richards in
Richards helped the talented but erratic Newhouser develop into the American League’s premier pitcher during the war years. Newhouser wanted to serve in the armed forces during the war, but a congenital heart disorder kept him at home, and for a while even threatened his baseball career. Hal had a 29-9 record with a 2.22 ERA in 1944, winning his first Most Valuable Player Award. He went 25-9 with a 1.81 ERA in 1945 to earn his second MVP trophy, as the Tigers won the pennant and beat the Chicago Cubs in the World Series. Hal was 2-1 with a 6.10 ERA in that tourney.
Newhouser paralyzed opponents with an arsenal that included a fastball, curveball, and changeup. He led the league in victories three times and strikeouts and ERA twice each. With 152 wins by age 27, Hal seemed certain to challenge Eddie Plank’s record (since broken) of victories by a left-handed pitcher.
Pitching with one day’s rest on the last day of the 1948 campaign, Newhouser beat
Here are Hal Newhouser's major league totals:
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