April 26th, 2012

April 26 – Happy Birthday Virgil Trucks

At one time, Virgil Trucks was one of the premier pitchers in the American League. The right-hander from Birmingham, AL won 177 big league games during his seventeen season career that began with the Tigers in 1941 and he’s one of just four pitchers to have thrown two no-hitters in the same season. The others are Johnny Vander Meer, Allie Reynolds and Nolan Ryan.

By the time he joined the Yankees however, just minutes before the 1958 regular season trading deadline, Trucks was 41 years old and his best days were behind him. The Yankees got the veteran pitcher and reliever Duke Maas from the A’s for outfielder Harry Simpson and pitcher Bob Grim.

Trucks would appear in 25 games for Casey Stengel’s AL Pennant winners during the second half of the ’58 season, finishing his brief Yankee career with a 2-1 record and a single save. Though he was left off of the team’s World Series roster, his Yankee teammates still voted him a full $8,759.10 winners’ share after they knocked off the Braves in that year’s Fall Classic.

Trucks never again played a big league ball game. He did stay in the game as a coach for the Pirates and then a scout for the Tigers, retiring in 1990. He turns 95 years-old today and is currently the oldest ex-Yankee still living. Update: Trucks passed away on March 23, 2013 in Alabama.

Trucks shares his April 26th birthday with this veteran pitcher the Yankees released to make room for Trucks on their 1958 roster. This current Yankee reliever also shares their birthday.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1958 NYY 2 1 .667 4.54 25 0 13 0 0 1 39.2 40 24 20 1 24 26 1.613
17 Yrs 177 135 .567 3.39 517 328 113 124 33 30 2682.1 2416 1124 1009 188 1088 1534 1.306
DET (12 yrs) 114 96 .543 3.50 316 229 53 84 20 13 1800.2 1618 786 700 123 732 1046 1.305
CHW (3 yrs) 47 26 .644 3.14 96 80 10 36 11 4 616.0 551 225 215 46 223 345 1.256
KCA (2 yrs) 9 8 .529 2.87 64 7 35 0 0 10 138.0 124 52 44 14 77 70 1.457
NYY (1 yr) 2 1 .667 4.54 25 0 13 0 0 1 39.2 40 24 20 1 24 26 1.613
SLB (1 yr) 5 4 .556 3.07 16 12 2 4 2 2 88.0 83 37 30 4 32 47 1.307
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/25/2013.