Virgil “Fire” Trucks, who threw two no-hitters for the Detroit Tigers in the 1952 Major League Baseball season, died at his home in Calera, Alabama. He was 95.
Trucks’s death on March 23 was confirmed by Charter Funeral Home and Crematory in Calera.
In August 1952, the right-hander joined Johnny Vander Meer and Allie Reynolds as the only pitchers at that time to have thrown two no-hitters in the same season. Trucks ended the season 5-19 while the Tigers went 50-104.
Born April 26, 1917, he was the fourth of 13 children born to Lula Belle and Oliver Trucks in Birmingham, Alabama, according to his biography written by the Society for American Baseball Research. Trucks, who watched his father play sandlot baseball, joined a youth team at the age of 10 and went on to reach the American Legion leagues in high school.
Trucks signed a contract as an outfielder with the Tigers in 1937, receiving a $100 bonus. A year later he earned his reputation for hurling strikeouts with the minor-league Andalusia Bulldogs.
Trucks was given a trial at the Tigers’ spring training camp in 1941 after going 12-11 with Detroit’s Class A-1 team in the Texas League, the Beaumont Exporters. He was optioned to the Double-A Buffalo Bisons, getting 12 wins and 204 strikeouts before getting called up by the Tigers.
On Sept. 27, 1941, Trucks made his major league debut in the top of the fifth inning with the Tigers down 8-4 at home against the Chicago White Sox.
In 1942, he made his first career start in the fourth game of the season, losing 7-6 to the Browns in St. Louis. In his second start, he recorded his first career win, before losing his place in the rotation. He ended his rookie season with a team-high 14 wins and a 2.74 earned run average.
After his discharge from the Navy in 1945, Trucks returned to the Tigers to help the team win the World Series.
Following the 1952 season in which he had his two no- hitters, he was traded to the St. Louis Browns and then to the White Sox. He returned to the Tigers in 1955 and a year later was traded to the Kansas City Athletics.
He ended his career after being acquired by the New York Yankees in 1958. During his major league career, interrupted by two years of military service, he won 177 games and lost 135, tallied 33 shutouts and compiled a 3.39 earned run average.
Trucks is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Ann Trucks; two daughters, Carolyn Beckwith and Wendy Trucks; three sons, Jimmy Trucks, Virgil Trucks Jr. and Darryl Trucks; three stepdaughters; three stepsons; a sister; a brother; eight grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
Services are set for tomorrow.
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