- November 16, 1930
- 5' 11"
- 175 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 4-21-1953 with DET
A blazing fastball and erratic control were Paul Foytack's calling cards during his early M.L. career -- a career in which he would pitch 10 years for Detroit. A workhorse from '56-'59, he won 58 games for the Tigers and pitched over 200 innings each of those years. In 6 of 8 full seasons with Detroit, he won 10 or more games. Along with Frank Lary, Billy Hoeft and Jim Bunning, he was part of a formidable Tiger starting rotation in the mid to late '50s.
Before the 1949 season the Detroit Tigers signed Foytack as an amateur free agent and the 19 year old right-hander would spend this season with the class D Thomasville Tigers of the Georgia-Florida League going 14-10 with a 3.29 ERA. Paul would spend the next four seasons in the minors (1950-53) before the Tigers would give him a short look at the tail end of the '53 year. He would get into six games, pitch 9 innings with no decisions and go back to the minors for the 1954 season.
Foytack would spend a split season with the Louisville Colonels and the Buffalo Bisons in 1954 and would be back with the Tigers club in the 1955 season for nine consecutive years. He would become a mainstay in the Detroit rotation from 1956 to 1962, winning 58 games for his team from 1956 to 1959. In 1959 Foytack led the American League in games started with 37. On July 28, 1956, he struck out 15 Senators in a game which was a Tigers team record at that time until broken by Mickey Lolich who had 16 in 1969 and '72 then 17 in a 1973 game.
Foytack still remembers that he is the pitcher that served up the first of the 61 home runs hit by Roger Maris on his record breaking run in 1961. The right-hander finished the last two years of his major league career with the Los Angeles Angels and on July 31, 1963, he set a dubious record while pitching against the Cleveland Indians when he allowed four consecutive home runs, the only pitcher to do so in the 20th Century, to Woodie Held, Pedro Ramos, Tito Francona and Larry Brown. Forty-four years later, Chase Wright accomplished the same dubious distinction, against a Red Sox team managed by Francona's son. Overall, Foytack spent 11 years in the majors, winning 86 and losing 87 in 312 appearances for a 4.14 ERA.
Foytack would end his 16 year pro baseball career, finishing out 1964 with the IL Syracuse Chiefs with a 10-10 record and a 4.53 ERA. Paul had spent part or all of six seasons in the minors, building a creditable record of 78-67 in 218 appearances and a minor league career 4.07 ERA.
This former Detroit right-hander once put Yankees relief ace Ryne Duren in the hospital. As told to Ross Forman in an article for Sports Collectors Digest, he said, I was sitting on the bench in a game against the Yankees. Ryne Duren came in and proceeded to hit second baseman Frank Bolling in the elbow, then threw one behind Al Kaline's head. Our manager asked, "Who can pitch an inning?, I volunteered." Foytack ran to the bullpen to warm up. When he came into the game the second batter he faced was Duren. "I wanted to hit him hard, like in the arm or somewhere like that, because he's done it to many times to our team," Foytack finally admitted. "Unfortunately, I got it high and the pitch cracked his helmet and cracked his cheekbone. My father was in town and wanted to go with me to see how Duren was doing after the game." Paul didn't want to go but he eventually relented and visited his rival. "I walked in to the room and Duren said, "Don't worry about it - I had it coming," Foytack recalled. "That shocked me."
Foytack, who had been in sales for an industrial rubber plastics company lives in Keego Harbor, Michigan, near Detroit.
- Paul Foytack