Virgil Trucks, R.I.P. - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Virgil Trucks, R.I.P.

Former big league pitcher Virgil Trucks passed away yesterday at the age of 95. Trucks sustained serious injuries in a fall last summer and would never fully recover.

Nicknamed ‘Fire’ on account of both his name and his blazing fastball, Trucks had a stellar 17-year big league career in which he recorded 177 wins. The lion’s share of those wins came with the Detroit Tigers. Trucks made his big league debut in Detroit late in the 1941 season. 

After 14 and 16 win campaigns in 1942 and 1943, Trucks missed the entire 1944 and nearly the entire 1945 season as he was called into the U.S. Navy. However, Trucks remained stateside and pitched with the Navy’s baseball team. Trucks returned to the Tigers late in the ’45 season at the behest of Tigers manager Mickey Cochrane as Detroit was making a run for the American League pennant. Despite pitching only one regular season game, Trucks started two games against the Chicago Cubs in the 1945 World Series earning the win in Game 2 and a no decision in Game 6.

Trucks enjoyed his finest season in 1949 when he went 19-11 with a 2.81 ERA. He led the AL in strikeouts (153) and shutouts (6) that year.

But by 1952, Trucks had a reversal of fortune. He went 5-19 with 3.97 ERA for a Tigers team that lost 104 games. However, Trucks 1952 season isn’t remembered for his 19 losses but rather for his two no-hitters. Trucks was only the third pitcher in MLB history to pull off this feat. Johnny Vander Meer and Allie Reynolds had done it previously and only Nolan Ryan and Roy Halladay have done it since.

On May 15th, in front of only 2,215 fans at Briggs Stadium, Trucks no-hit the Washington Senators. It would be his first win of the season. Then on August 25th, Trucks no-hit the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. It was Trucks’ fifth and final win of the season. It was the last no-hitter thrown by a visiting pitcher at Yankee Stadium. 

The Alabama born Trucks would rebound during the 1953 season which he split between the St. Louis Browns and the Chicago White Sox with his only 20 win season. After returning to the Tigers in 1956, Trucks pitched with the Kansas City Athletics and finished his career with the Yankees in 1958. Trucks would earn a World Series in his capacity as pitching coach for the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates. After his stint with the Bucs, Trucks served as a pitching coach with the Atlanta Braves and eventually with the Tigers.

Trucks is part of a musical family. His nephew Butch Trucks is a drummer and founding member of The Allman Brothers Band. His great nephew Derek Trucks is a guitarist and also a member of The Allman Brothers Band and the Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Here is a radio interview Trucks conducted back in 2011.

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