Saturday, November 19, 2011

Virgil Trucks Oldest Living Player

With the passing of Benny McCoy, Virgil Trucks becomes the oldest former Tiger at 94 years old. He is also the oldest player who also played with the Yankees, Kansas City Athletics, and St. Louis Browns.

Virgil Oliver Trucks was born on April 26, 1917. 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. He was born in Birmingham, Alabama.

In a 17-season career, Virgil "Fire" Trucks posted a 177-135 record with 1,534 strikeouts and a 3.39 ERA in 2,682.2 innings pitched. 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).

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 the Atlanta Braves and finally ending his MLB career with the Tigers in 1974.

Highlights of Trucks' Career

> 1953 - 20-10, 149 SO, 2.93 ERA, including eight straight victories.

> Twice made American League All-Star team (1949, 1954)

> Fifth in American League MVP vote (1953, behind Al Rosen, Yogi Berra, Mickey Vernon and Minnie Miñoso)

> Led AL in strikeouts (1949 [153])

> Twice led AL in shutouts (1949 [6], 1954 [5])

> While with the Tigers in 1952, Trucks had a 5-19 record; however, two of those victories were no-hitters, both by a score of 1-0, against the Washington Senators on May 15, and New York Yankees on August 25, joining Johnny Vander Meer, Allie Reynolds, Roy Halladay and Nolan Ryan as the only major league pitchers to accomplish this feat in a single season.

> During his minor league career, set a record with 418 SO in a single season (1938) and also pitched four no-hitters.

> Trucks had been out of the Navy less than two weeks before his start in the second game of the 1945 World Series. The leagues waived the rule requiring players to have been on the team's roster by September 1 to qualify for post-season play, because of the circumstances of World War II. He defeated the Cubs in that game.

> One of a very small number of pitchers traded in a season during which he would eventually win 20 or more games. In 1953 Trucks went 5-4 for the St. Louis Browns (AL) before being traded to the Chicago White Sox (AL) where he went 15-6 for an overall season record of 20-10.

> As of 2011, Trucks is the oldest living pitcher to have thrown a Major League no-hitter.

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