- June 29, 1915
- 6' 2"
- 195 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 4-25-1939 with DET
The colorful, fun-loving Trout led the AL in wins in 1943 for Detroit, but his best season was 1944, when he won 27 and led the league in ERA (2.12). He also topped the AL in shutouts (7) and hit five of his 20 career home runs while batting .271. That season, he and lefty Hal Newhouser, who won 29, came closer to teammates winning 30 each than any pair since 1904.
In 1945 Trout was the Tigers' workhorse in the pennant drive, pitching six games and winning four over a nine-game late-season stretch. In Game Four of the 1945 WS, Trout beat the Cubs 4-1 on a five-hitter. He remained a Tiger mainstay into the 1950s. Five years after Dizzy "retired," he signed with the Orioles and pitched twice after an impressive showing in an Old-Timers Game. Dizzy is the father of pitcher Steve Trout.
Early Years: 1939-1942
Nicknamed "Dizzy" because of his irreverent manner, Trout was born in Sandcut, Indiana and began his career with minor league teams in his home state (the Terre Haute Tots and the Indianapolis Indians in 1935 and 1936). Although a pitcher with a winning record, he also hit over .270 each season. After playing for the Toledo Mud Hens in 1937, he earned a trip to Spring Training with the Tigers in 1938 but ended up splitting the season between the Mud Hens and the Beaumont Exporters, winning 23 games between the two clubs.
As a 24-year-old rookie in 1939, Trout became a member of the Tigers starting rotation, going 9-10. The following season, he spent most of his time in the bullpen but started Game Four of the 1940 World Series, taking a loss against the Cincinnati Reds. Within a few seasons, he was one of the aces of the team's staff along with Hal Newhouser, and in 1943, he went 20-12 with five shutouts while leading the AL in victories. The next summer, he went 27-14 with a league-best 2.12 ERA and also had his finest year at the plate, hitting .271 with 5 home runs.
One of the Best Pitchers in Baseball: 1943-1947
Dizzy Trout was classified 4-F due to hearing impairment and was not accepted for military service during World War II. It was during the war years that Trout had his best seasons.
Whereas Trout had a losing record in his first four seasons, the next four years (1943–1946) saw Trout turn into one of the best pitchers in the American League, winning 82 and losing 54.
Dizzy Trout led the American League in wins in 1943 with 20 wins, but his best season was 1944, when he won 27 games and lost only 14. He led the American League that year in ERA (2.12), complete games (33), shutouts (7), and innings pitched (352-1/3). He also finished second in the league to his Detroit teammate, Hal Newhouser, in wins (27) and strikeouts (144). The Tigers' pitching duo of Trout and Newhouser won 56 games in 1944 and finished 1-2 in ERA, wins, innings pitched, strikeouts, complete games, and shutouts. Newhouser and Trout also finished 1-2 in the American League MVP voting, with Trout trailing Newhouser in the voting by only 4 votes.
Trout's pitching totals were not as impressive in 1945, but he was a workhorse in the pennant drive. He pitched six games and won four over a nine-game late-season stretch. In Game 4 of the 1945 World Series, Trout beat the Cubs 4-1 on a five-hitter. The Tigers won the 1945 World Series, and Trout went 1-1 with an ERA of 0.66 in the Series.
The Later Years: 1947-1952
From 1947-1949, Trout's performance dropped off, as he failed to achieve a winning record, and had a total record of 23-31.
Aside from his pitching, Trout could hit for power. He hit 20 home runs, tying him for 11th all-time in home runs by pitchers. He hit a 9th inning grand slam against the Washington Senators on July 28, 1949, helping the Tigers to a victory.
In 1950, Trout and the Tigers both turned things around. Trout won 13 and lost only 5, and the Tigers won 95 games and narrowly lost the American League pennant to the Yankees.
On June 3, 1952, Trout was sent to the Boston Red Sox in a blockbuster trade that sent Walt Dropo, Don Lenhardt, Johnny Pesky, Fred Hatfield, and Bill Wight to the Tigers for Trout, George Kell, Hoot Evers, and Johnny Lipon. Trout started only 17 games for the Red Sox, and retired at the end of the 1952 season.
Trout's Life After Major League Baseball
After retiring from baseball, Trout called play-by-play for the Tigers on radio WKMH and TV WJBK-TV from 1953-1955. He also hosted The Knot-Hole Gang, a sports show aimed at children. Trout broadcast the Tigers games with Van Patrick and became popular with Detroit fans for his self-effacing humor, scrambled syntax, and folksy demeanor.
In 1956, Trout ran unsuccessfully for sheriff in Wayne County as a Republican, losing to long-time incumbent Andrew C. Baird.
He attempted a return to baseball with the Baltimore Orioles in 1957 at age 42. Trout made two appearances, allowed three earned runs, and retired one batter, for an 81.00 ERA. After being released by Baltimore, he joined the Chicago White Sox as a pitching instructor and then worked with that organization's front office until his death from stomach cancer at the age of 56 in 1972 at Harvey, Illinois.
His son, Steve, who won 88 games in the big leagues, recalls his feelings on the death of his father, when Steve was just 12 years old:
"It hurt a lot. I was in the eighth grade and I looked up to him. He knew that I would be a ballplayer. He knew. Out of the seven boys in our family, he knew it would be me. My mother told me about one time at a picnic, when I was just a little kid, how dad got so excited when I was playing catch with him. He started yelling 'Pearl, come quick...come see the player!' "
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- Dizzy Trout