Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser, the only pitcher to win consecutive Most Valuable Player awards, died Tuesday after a long illness. He was 77.
A native of Detroit, Newhouser pitched for his hometown Tigers from 1939-53 and led them to a World Series championship over the Chicago Cubs in 1945. In the decisive seventh game, he pitched a complete game.
Newhouser was the American League's MVP after going 29-9 in 1944. He won the honor again in 1945 when he was 25-9 with eight shutouts.
Newhouser, elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992, was on seven All-Star teams, led the AL in wins four times and in strikeouts and earned run averages twice.
After spending the final two years of his career with Cleveland, Newhouser retired in 1955 with a 207-150 record and 3.02 ERA.
| Hal Newhouser was a back-to-back AL MVP with the Tigers. (AP) |
"I am very pleased," Newhouser said at the ceremony where his number was retired. "And I have to say if it wasn't for the players that played in back of me, I would've never stood here today."
Several of Newhouser's surviving teammates from Detroit's 1945 world champions as well as other former Tigers stars were in attendance.
"It was much more fun playing with him than against him," Hall of Fame third baseman George Kell said. "If you wanted one pitcher to start the seventh game of the World Series, which he did in 1945, you'd pick Hal Newhouser."
Newhouser was only the fourth player to have his number retired by the Tigers. The others were Charlie Gehringer (2), Hank Greenberg (5) and Al Kaline (6). Detroit also retired No. 4in honor of Jackie Robinson.
Following his retirement, Newhouser went into banking for 20 years, then returned to baseball as a Michigan area scout for the Houston Astros.
Newhouser is survived by wife Beryl, his brother Richard Newhouser, two daughters and a grandson.
Funeral arrangements were pending.
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