Virgil Trucks dead at 95 Topic

I had missed this story till I saw it on the NY Yankees website. Trucks is a mainstay of one of my favorite teams in a prog league and there is a forum thread based on how best to use him in the late 40s and early 50s.   Italyprof

Former Yankees pitcher Trucks dies at 95

Right-hander spent final season of 17-year big league career in Bronx in 1958

By Bryan Hoch / | 3/25/2013 6:04 P.M. ET


TAMPA, Fla. -- Virgil Trucks, who had the distinction of being the oldest living Yankees player, died on Saturday evening at his home in Calera, Ala. He was 95.

The right-hander enjoyed a 17-year career in the big leagues and made 25 relief appearances with the Yankees in 1958, his last season in the Majors, going 2-1 with a 4.54 ERA.

He is also the last pitcher to throw a complete-game no-hitter against the Yankees in the Bronx, which he did on Aug. 25, 1952, with the Detroit Tigers.

Trucks threw two no-hitters during the 1952 campaign, but remarkably went just 5-19 that season before winning a career-best 20 games in 1953.

According to the Detroit News, Trucks was hospitalized on Thursday morning with what doctors said was pneumonia. He had five children, several grand- and great-grandchildren and is survived by his fourth wife, Elizabeth Ann.

Trucks finished his career with a 177-135 mark and a 3.39 ERA. He pitched 2,682 1/3 innings in his career, striking out 1,534 batters.

He played 12 seasons with the Tigers and also spent time with the White Sox (three years), the Kansas City A's (two), and the St. Louis Browns (one). Trucks was twice an All-Star (1949 and '54) and finished fifth in the Most Valuable Player Award voting in '53.

Services for Trucks will be held on Thursday at Charter Funeral Home in Calera. Trucks served with the Navy and will be buried with honors at the Alabama National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made in Trucks' name to either the St. Jude's Children's Hospital or the Amazing Grace Worship Center (P.O. Box 157, Saginaw, AL 35137).

According to the Yankees, available records now indicate that 93-year-old Rugger Ardizoia is the oldest living Yankee.

Ardizoia made just one Major League relief appearance in his career, pitching two innings on April 30, 1947, in a 15-5 Yankees loss to the Browns in St. Louis.


Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @bryanhoch. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

3/27/2013 7:54 AM

   Ironically I stumbled on a Fred Hutchison Article while searching Frank " Trader " Lane. 

   One of the main anecdotes concerning Detroit Pitcher, Player / Manager Fred Hutchison is recounted by Virgil Trucks.





Hutchinson famously wrestled a bear during spring training in Lakeland, FL. (hard to tell whether it's Hutchinson who is chained, or the bear). / David Eskenazi Collection

Recalled Yankees catcher Yogi Berra: ?I always know how Hutch did when we follow Detroit into a town. If we got stools in the dressing room, I know he won. If we got kindling, he lost.”

Hutchinson had a couple of nicknames. One was ?Iceman,? the other ?The Bear.? The latter stemmed from a spring training incident in Lakeland, FL., and is best recalled by Virgil Trucks, who pitched for Detroit when Hutchinson did.

Hutchinson became the manager of the Detroit Tigers midway through the 1952 season at the age of 33, while he was still an active pitcher. / David Eskenazi Collection

“They had a little sideshow circus at the ballpark, and they had a bear there,” Trucks said.

“This bear was staked out by the trainer, but the bear broke the stake and got loose and was coming toward Fred — and Fred just grabbed him by the throat and the neck, and had an arm around his neck.

“He (the bear) probably didn’t weigh any more than Hutch did, but you know bears, they got claws and everything else they can retaliate with. But that didn’t bother Fred.

“The trainer came over and said, ‘Hey, man, you let go of my bear. You gonna kill him.’ He probably would have, but Fred said, ‘You get him away from me. He might kill me, too.’ But he held on to him. That bear couldn’t do nothin’. Oh, he was really strong.”

But, as Meyers noted, Hutchinson had a soft heart. Jim Brosnan, who pitched for Hutchinson in both St. Louis and Cincinnati when Hutchinson managed those clubs (Cardinals, 1956-58; Reds, 1960-64) wrote this about Hutchinson in 1959: “Most ballplayers respect Hutch. In fact, many of them admire him, which is even better than liking him.

“He seems to have a tremendous inner power that a player can sense. When Hutch gets a grip on things it doesn’t seem probable that he’s going to lose it. He seldom blows his top at a player, seldom panics in a game, usually lets the players work out of their own troubles if possible.”

Hutchinson managed the Tigers from 1952-54 and also managed the St. Louis Cardinals (1956-58) and Cincinnati Reds (1960-64). / David Eskenazi Collection

Thirty-five years after Hutchinson’s death (3:58 a.m. on Nov. 12, 1964, at Manatee Memorial Hospital in Bradenton, FL.), the Seattle Post-Intelligencer named Hutchinson the city’s Athlete of the 20th Century, an amazing pick considering that that he played and managed in Seattle for slightly more than two years.

“No local athlete has been more revered than Hutch,” wrote Dan Raley. “Hutchinson was a leader, and there was never a question.

“He led people to championships. He led us to tears, sharing his own struggle with cancer in a very public and heroic manner.”



3/28/2013 8:31 PM


    Virgil "Fire" Trucks died Saturday, March 23, 2013, at age 95.

   He played in Major League Baseball for 17 seasons, including one in which he pitched two no-hitters.

   He is one of just five who have accomplished that feat. Here is a collection of baseball cards on displayed in the study at his home in Calera. (Michelle Williams/The Birmingham News)

Virgil "Fire" Trucks died Saturday, March 23, 2013, at age 95. He played in Major League Baseball for 17 seasons, including one in which he pitched two no-hitters. He is one of just five who have accomplished that feat. Here is a collection of baseball cards on displayed in the study at his home in Calera. (Michelle Williams/The Birmingham News)


Calera's Virgil Trucks was a great father and a great baseball player, says his namesake son (photos)

 By Solomon Crenshaw Jr. | [email protected] 
on March 26, 2013 at 7:00 AM, updated March 26, 2013 at 7:10 AM
It has been tough because we love that man like everything. Virgil Trucks Jr.


BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - Monday was a busy day for Virgil Trucks Jr. as he received condolences from friends and fans of his father, the Leeds native and former major league baseball pitcher for whom he was named.

Virgil "Fire" Trucks died Saturday night at Shelby Baptist Medical Center, where he had been for nine days because of breathing problems. He was 95.

"When you autograph cards and send a personal note to some of them, or most of them, they never forget," said the younger Trucks of Altadena Valley. "He cared more about (fans) than they cared about him. He wanted to make sure that everyone was happy."

Trucks Jr. said some fans would give his father $2 to $5 for his time in signing autographs for them. Unbeknown to them, he didn't keep it.

"He always donated that to the Alabama Sheriff's Boys and Girls Ranch," the former pitcher's second son said. "He would give it to them when he felt that he had enough in there to donate. He never, never took a dime from that aspect."

That, said the younger Trucks, extended his father's life.

"I think that gave him his 95 years," he said. "That kept him active and kept his mind going and everything."

Asked in 2009 if he should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame, the elder Trucks didn't mince words.

"Yes," he replied. "If I played my entire career with the Yankees, I'd be in there already."

Trucks Jr. said his father's tour of service in the Navy likely cost him 20 to 30 pitching victories, which might have influenced writers with Hall of Fame votes.

"But they don't look at the player himself, they look at the team," he said. "I don't begrudge anyone going into the Hall of Fame, like Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams. But they don't look at, what I consider, a great pitcher who kind of lingered with some of the lowest teams, like the Tigers of that time."

The younger Trucks cited the 1952 season his father went 5-19 but managed to have two no-hitters in that one year.

"I think they had the worst batting average in major league history," he said. "They didn't score runs for him. But he never begrudged that. He was a Tiger through and through. When Ted Williams said he was one of the three hardest pitchers to hit, that's quite a compliment."

Regardless, the former major-leaguer was tops with his five children. Trucks' favorite memories of his father were a golf outing when he nearly defeated him -- he never did -- and a road trip when he drove his father to a card show in Dallas, Texas.

"He was a great father and a great baseball player," Trucks Jr. said. "Those were his two favorite things in the world. He loved his kids and he loved baseball, in that order. It has been tough because we love that man like everything."




   In this May 2007 photo, Virgil Trucks, then 90, poses in his study among his baseball memorabilia at his home in Calera. (Michelle Williams/The Birmingham News) 


3/28/2013 8:47 PM (edited)
in related news, Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks, and his nephew, ABB guitarist Derek Trucks, recently had a relative pass away

4/10/2013 7:30 PM (edited)





            Stumbled upon this better image of Virgil Trucks in an Out of the Park page.



4/9/2013 10:25 AM
hadn't seen this.  my brother sent me his autographed baseball a few years back.    Great name and from what I understand, a very nice man.  RIP
4/9/2013 11:09 AM
Thanks ooooohdoggie. He looks like a Virgil Trucks.
4/9/2013 11:16 AM
Virgil Trucks dead at 95 Topic

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