Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hall of Fame Baseball - Hal Newhouser

Yesterday, I told you that I bought three Hall of Fame signed baseballs on New Years Eve and two of them arrived in the mail yesterday.  The second ball to arrive is this Hal Newhouser signed baseball.
I have been watching Newhouser signatures ever since I read Virgil Trucks' book.  Newhouser played on the Tigers with Trucks.  They were part of a pretty formidable rotation including also Dizzy Trout, Fred Hutchinson and Stubby Overmire.

Newhouser, born in 1921, played in the majors from 1949 to 1955 for the Tigers and Indians.  His numbers from 1939 to 1943 and 1951 to 1955 are mostly pedestrian, but his stretch from 1944 to 1950 was sheer dominance.  During that stretch, he won two AL MVP awards (back to back) in 1944 and 1945.  He finished second in the MVP voting in 1946.  Imagine if he had won, a pitcher winning 3 MVPs back to back to back?  That's crazy!  Anyway, he did win two back to back and is the only pitcher to do so.  Also, during his 1944-1950 stretch, Newhouser won 20 or more games 4 times, leading the AL each year.  Newhouser also added a World Series ring to his accolades in 1945.

Hal Newhouser was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1992 with lifetime numbers of 207-150, 1,796 strikeouts and a 3.06 ERA.  Newhouser passed away in 1998 at the age of 77.  He is my 61st Hall of Famer.

I think I am going to attempt a little side project, in addition to my Hall of Fame signed baseballs.  I think I am going to try to get as many signed baseballs from players on the 1945 Tigers as I can.  I already have Virgil Trucks, Hal Newhouser and Billy Pierce.  I sent out 3 TTM requests this morning to the other 3 living members of that team (there are 5, Trucks and Pierce completing the 5).
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