Hal Newhouser

Harold Newhouser
Inducted to the Hall of Fame in: 1992
Primary team: Detroit Tigers
Primary position: Pitcher

“I had a philosophy that I pitched against the pitcher and I did not pitch against the hitters,” Hal Newhouser said. “The vast percentage of the time the ball was in my hand, everything was in my favor.”

Hal Newhouser’s career makes for a nice story of a Detroit native made good with the hometown Tigers, but it was nearly not so. In the summer of 1938, just minutes after Newhouser signed a contract with the Tigers, representatives from the Indians showed up at his family’s home offering a larger bonus of $15,000 and a new car. They were too late, though. Newhouser was a Tiger.

Had the Indians arrived at Newhouser’s home a little bit earlier, the lefthander would’ve been given the chance to be roommates with Bob Feller. Instead, Feller and Newhouser’s duels became legendary in the baseball lore of both cities. The Indians and Tigers would rearrange their rotations so their aces would face each other, often on a Sunday to spark attendance. The two Hall of Famers squared off 14 times in their careers.

Newhouser was just 19 when he pitched his first full season in the majors in 1940. After the U.S. entered World War II, Newhouser intended to join the armed forces as so many other players did, but a heart murmur made him ineligible for service. So Newhouser kept pitching and hit his stride in 1944.

Newhouser led the American League in wins and strikeouts in 1944, and he captured the league’s MVP award. He was even better in 1945, winning the AL’s pitching Triple Crown after leading the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts and being named MVP for the second straight year, becoming the first pitcher to win the award in consecutive seasons. He ended the year by winning two games in the 1945 World Series against the Cubs, including Game Seven. Newhouser led the AL in ERA again in 1946 and nearly won a third MVP award, finishing second to Ted Williams.

However, after his fourth 20-win season in 1948, Newhouser began experiencing arm troubles and he won just 18 games after his 30th birthday. He briefly rejuvenated his career with none other than the Indians in 1954, serving as a reliever and helping the club win the AL pennant. He went on to a successful scouting career after his playing days, his signings including Dean Chance and Milt Pappas.

"Every time he walks to that mound, you know you'll get a good-pitched game. "
Bobo Newsom

Career stats

ESSENTIAL STATS
Year Inducted: 1992
Primary Team: Detroit Tigers
Position Played: Pitcher
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Birth place: Detroit, Michigan
Birth year: 1921
Died: 1998, Detroit, Michigan
Played for:
Detroit Tigers (1939-1954)
Cleveland Indians (1954-1955)
CAREER AT A GLANCE
GamesG
488
HitsH
2674
RunsR
1197
Innings PitchedIP
2993
WinsW
207
LossesL
150
Winning %Winning %
.580
Games StartedGS
374
ERAERA
3.06
Complete GamesCG
212
ShutoutsSHO
33
WHIPWHIP
1.311
SavesSV
26
Earned RunsER
1016
WalksBB
1249
StrikeoutsSO
1976