Virgil 'Fire' Trucks dead at 95, pitched two no-hitters in 1952

Doug Pensinger

Trucks is one of five pitchers in MLB history (Johnny Vander Meer, Allie Reynolds, Nolan Ryan and Roy Halladay are the others) to toss two no-hitters in one season, pulling off the feat for the Tigers in 1952.

Virgil Trucks, who pitched 17 years in the big leagues, 12 of those with the Detroit Tigers, died Saturday after a brief hospitalization in Calera, Alabama. A veteran of World War II, Trucks will be buried with full honors in Arlington National Cemetery.

A fire-balling right-hander, "Fire" Trucks was best known for his accomplishments in 1952. On May 15th, Trucks no-hit the Washington Senators 1-0 in Briggs Stadium, walking one and striking out seven. At the time, it was the first Tigers no-hitter in 44 years and second in franchise history.

There wouldn't be a long wait for the Tigers' third no-hitter.

Trucks pulled off one of the rarest of baseball feats by tossing his second no-hitter of the 1952 season on August 25th. Trucks walked one and struck out eight in beating the World Champion New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium, 1-0.

Despite the no-hit heroics, the then 35 year old Trucks finished the year 5-19 as the Tigers lost 104 games and finished last the American League.

But Trucks was far from a two game flash in the pan, leaving quite a mark as a major league pitcher. Trucks made a pair of All-Star games (1949 as a Tiger, 1954 with the Chicago White Sox), lead the AL in strikeouts in 1949 with 153, twice led the AL in shutouts (1949, 1954) and was a 20 game winner in 1953 (split between the St. Louis Browns and White Sox).

Trucks played a vital part in of the Tigers' 1945 World Championship as well. After missing the entirety of the 1944 season and nearly all of 1945 due to the war, Trucks started game two of the World Series a mere two weeks after being discharged from the Navy. He twirled a complete game, allowing just one run and seven hits, beating the Chicago Cubs 4-1.

As a member of the Tigers (1941-1952, 1956), Trucks posted a record of 114-96 and a 3.50 ERA. For his 17 year career, Trucks was 177-135 with a 3.39 ERA .

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