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Obituaries

Virgil ‘Fire’ Trucks, 95; threw 2 no-hitters

Mr. Trucks, a World Series winner in 1945, was 5-19 in 1952, the year he tossed no-hitters.

Associated Press/file 1952

Mr. Trucks, a World Series winner in 1945, was 5-19 in 1952, the year he tossed no-hitters.

DETROIT — Virgil ‘‘Fire’’ Trucks, who threw two no-hitters for the Detroit Tigers in an otherwise dreadful 1952 season and was the last visiting pitcher to toss a complete-game no-hitter at Yankee Stadium, has died. He was 95.

Charter Funeral Home and Crematory in Calera, Ala., confirmed Mr. Trucks’s death but did not release a specific cause.

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The two-time All-Star died Saturday near Birmingham, Ala. He pitched in the major leagues from 1941-58, helping the Tigers beat the Chicago Cubs in the 1945 World Series.

‘‘Virgil will forever be remembered for his significant contributions in Tigers history,’’ team owner Mike Ilitch said in a statement. ‘‘Virgil remained a friend to the club following his career and will be greatly missed by those of us who had the pleasure of knowing him.’’

Mr. Trucks is one of five pitchers to throw two no-hitters in a season, according to STATS. The others were Johnny Vander Meer (1938), Allie Reynolds (1951), Nolan Ryan (1973), and Roy Halladay (2010). One of Halladay’s no-hitters came in the postseason.

Mr. Trucks threw his in a year the Tigers lost 104 games — it was the first time Detroit reached triple figures in losses, and stood as a team record until 1996. The righthander went 5-19 with a 3.97 ERA that season, but he held Washington without a hit on May 15 and did the same to the Yankees in New York on Aug. 25.

The only other time the Yankees have been hitless at their ballpark since then came in 2003, when six Houston Astros blanked New York in a combined no-hitter.

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Mr. Trucks pitched 12 seasons for the Tigers and also had stints with the St. Louis Browns, Chicago White Sox, and Kansas City Athletics before finishing with the Yankees in 1958.

Mr. Trucks was born in Alabama and is in the sports Hall of Fame in both Alabama and Michigan.

The Tigers have thrown only seven no-hitters, and Mr. Trucks was the only pitcher to throw more than one with Detroit until Justin Verlander tossed no-hitters in 2007 and 2011.

Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski talked about Mr. Trucks after his team’s spring training game Monday against the Miami Marlins in Jupiter, Fla.

‘‘I got to know him years ago when I was working in Florida with the Marlins. We happened to sit at the same table for a SABR [Society for American Baseball Research] luncheon. What a fine gentleman. I really, really enjoyed his company,’’ Dombrowski said. ‘‘Within the last month, he called and left a message with my secretary. He wanted to say hi. . . . She didn’t really know him as well . . . and he said, ‘Gee, I really like those spring training hats, I was wondering if I could get a couple of them.’ I called my secretary and said, ‘Call Virgil Trucks, and he can have whatever he wants — home hat, road hat, you send him whatever he needs.’ ’’

Mr. Trucks was 1-0 in the 1945 World Series, when the Tigers beat the Cubs in seven games. That was the last year the Cubs reached the Series.

His best season may have been 1949, when he went 19-11 with a 2.81 ERA, edged Warren Spahn for the major league lead in strikeouts with 153, and tied for the lead with six shutouts.

Mr. Trucks went 20-10 in 1953, splitting time between the Browns and White Sox. He was 19-12 for Chicago in 1954 with a 2.79 ERA.

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