Friday, May 20, 2016

Happy Baseball Birthday... Hal Newhouser

Today we celebrate the Happy Baseball Birthday! of Detroit Tigers Hall of Fame pitcher Hal Newhouser.

Harold Newhouser  was born on May 20, 1921, in Detroit, Michigan, joining a list of outstanding Tigers ballplayers like Willie Horton and Bill Freehan, that were born in the Motor City.

I've always felt that "Prince Hal" has gotten somewhat overlooked when it comes to naming terrific left handed pitchers in baseball history, especially when you factor in that Newhouser is the only pitcher in big league history to win back to back American League MVP Awards, in 1944-45.

Because he won the awards during the "World War II era" Newhouser isn't fully respected for his achievements during the 1940s, where he led the A.L. in wins with 29 in '44, 25 in '45, 26 in '46, and 21 wins in 1948.

Hal won exactly 200 games pitching for Detroit, the 4th most in franchise history, behind Hooks Dauss (223), George Mullin (209), and Mickey Lolich (207).

Hal also struck out 1770 batters, also 4th most in Tigers history... Lolich (2,679), Justin Verlander (2,003), and Jack Morris (1980).

Hal also tossed 212 complete games for the Tigers, and pitched 33 shutouts in Detroit.

Another thing about Newhouser...his #16 wasn't retired by the Tigers until July 27, 1997...44 years after he played in Detroit...and 5 years after he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Many players wore #16 for the Tigers, including fan friendly Tom Brookens, the 3rd Baseman on the 1984 Tigers World Series Champions.

The Tigers were very slow to retire player numbers, and only started with Al Kaline in 1980, the year Kaline was inducted into the HOF.

Hal became a big league scout after his retirement, and he was a darn good one.

As a scout for the Baltimore Orioles Hal signed 209 game winner Milt Pappas, and Detroit high school pitcher.

In 1992, as a scout for the Houston Astros, Hal discovered a kid named Derek Jeter playing baseball at Kalamazoo Central High School in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and was adamant the Astros draft Jeter.

The Astros took Phil Nevin with the #1 overall pick in '92, and their refusal to listen to Hal caused him to quit scouting for Houston.

Prinice Hal Newhouser passed away at age 77 on November 10, 1998, in Southfield, Michigan.

Today we celebrate the life of Hal Newhouser, and give him a loud and proud Happy Baseball Birthday! salute....Play Ball! ⚾

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