Summary

Birth:
Detroit MI 1
Death:
10 Nov 1998 2
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Also known as:
Hal Newhouser, Prince Hal 1
Full Name:
Harold Newhouser 2
Birth:
Detroit MI 1
Male 1
Birth:
20 May 1921 2
Death:
10 Nov 1998 2
Residence:
Last Residence: Bloomfield Hills, MI 2
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Social Security:
Card Issued: Unknown Code (PE) 2
Social Security Number: ***-**-4930 2

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Stories

Hal Newhouser, 77, a Hall of Fame Pitcher

Hal Newhouser, the Detroit Tigers' Hall of Fame left-hander and the only pitcher to win two consecutive Most Valuable Player awards, died yesterday at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Mich. He was 77.

Newhouser, who lived in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., had been suffering from emphysema and heart problems, his family said.

Featuring a high fastball, Newhouser was the American League's top left-hander of the 1940's. He posted records of 29-9 in 1944 and 25-9 in 1945, winning the m.v.p. award each season, and had a 26-9 mark in 1946. Pitching for the Tigers from 1939 to 1953, then for Cleveland in his final two seasons, he had a lifetime record of 207-150.

He threw a complete game, striking out 10, in pitching the Tigers to a Game 7 victory over the Chicago Cubs in the 1945 World Series. As a reliever, he played a key role for the Indians' 1954 pennant winners.

A native of Detroit, Newhouser was thrilled to sign with his hometown team as a teen-ager when a scout offered a $500 bonus.

''That was during the Depression, and I was trying to earn money to go to a trade school by selling newspapers, setting pins in a bowling alley and collecting pop bottles to get the deposit on them,'' Newhouser recalled. ''I thought it was unbelievable to get that much money for playing baseball.''

But he might have been better off waiting, since a representative of the Indians arrived at the Newhouser home 10 minutes later and ''told me they were going to give my parents $15,000 and a new car worth $4,000.''

Newhouser was often matched against the Indians' Bob Feller, the league's top right-hander of the 1940's. On the final day of the 1948 regular season, Newhouser bested Feller, 7-1, before more than 74,000 at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium to drop the Indians into a tie for first place with the Red Sox. Newhouser was pitching on short rest and had experienced arm problems, but ''I ended up throwing one of the best games of my life.''

Newhouser had planned to be sworn into the Army Air Forces on the Briggs Stadium pitching mound during World War II, but was deferred because of a heart problem. Because his two m.v.p. years came when baseball manpower was depleted by the war, he was labeled by some as a ''wartime player'' and was not selected for the Hall of Fame until 1992, when he was voted in by the veterans' committee. But he remained a dominant pitcher after the war, averaging more than 19 victories a season from 1946 to 1950.

Following his retirement, Newhouser was a scout and a bank executive. In July 1997, he became the only pitcher whose uniform number (16) was retired by the Tigers.

He is survived by his wife, Beryl; a brother, Richard; two daughters, Charlene Newhouser and Sherrill Robinson, and a grandson.

Newhouser's determination complemented his talent: he completed 212 of his 374 starts.

''You couldn't get the ball away from him -- he hated to be pulled from a game,'' the former Tiger catcher Joe Ginsberg recalled.

''I remember one game when I pitched in Yankee Stadium and gave up five runs in the first inning,'' Newhouser once said. ''It would have been easy to quit, but I shut 'em out the rest of the way and we came back and won the game.''

His philosophy: ''Never give up and never give in.''

Prince Hal' Was Crafty Competitor, Top Lefty

Hal Newhouser was the only Detroit-born player elected to the Baseball
Hall of Fame.

He remains the only pitcher in major league history to win two
straight league Most Valuable Player awards, earning them with the
Tigers in 1944-45.

Newhouser, who lived in retirement in Bloomfield Hills, died Tuesday
after a lengthy illness. He was 77.

"I know there were people who looked down on some of his
accomplishments because he pitched during the war," said George Kell,
a Hall of Fame third baseman who played seven seasons with Newhouser.
"But he was a great pitcher before and after the war, too.

"I'll say this about Hal Newhouser -- he was the best pitcher I've
ever played behind."

Newhouser pitched for the Tigers in 1939-53, leading the club to a
World Series title in 1945, when he won the seventh and deciding game
against the Chicago Cubs.

He led the American League in victories four times and in strikeouts
and earned-run average twice.

Nicknamed "Prince Hal," Newhouser was a left-hander known for his
fastball. Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller, a fastball artist with the
Cleveland Indians, remembers him as an intense competitor.

"I used to kid him when we'd take those publicity pictures before we'd
pitch against each other -- you know, trying to get him to smile,"
Feller said. "But he didn't smile too often when he was in uniform.

"Hal took the game very seriously -- in fact, I think it was really
more than a game to him.

"He was very proud of what he did, and he should have been. He was a
great pitcher. I'm proud to say I played with him and against him. I'm
sad at the loss."

After leaving the Tigers, Newhouser pitched two seasons for Cleveland
before retiring after a 17-year major league career. His best seasons
were 1944-46, when his won-lost records were 29-9, 25-9 and 26-9. He
finished with a 207-150 record.

Feller recalled some of the tight pitching duels he had with
Newhouser.

"We pitched against each other quite a few times," Feller said. "I
remember he beat me on the last day of the 1948 season to force the
Indians into a playoff for the pennant after I had beaten him four
days earlier."

Virgil Trucks, who pitched with Newhouser with the Tigers and often
roomed with him on the road, said the Feller-Newhouser matchups were
classics.

"It seemed like the two teams set it up so that they would face one
another," Trucks said. "Those games were great to watch, even for the
other players. Hal really liked going against the best. He had a lot
of showmanship."

Feller said he can still remember listening to the last game of the
1945 World Series on the radio and marveling at Newhouser's
performance.

"I was in California with Satchel Paige at the time, and we heard Hal
beat the Cubs," Feller said.

Before last season's interleague matchup between the Cubs and Tigers,
Newhouser talked about that pivotal seventh game of the World Series
at Wrigley Field as if it took place the day before.

"It was a bright, sunny day in Chicago and they had a full house,"
Newhouser said. "While I was practicing some bunts before the game, I
noticed the ball was tough to see. Then I saw the reason: The fans in
the centerfield bleachers had taken off their coats because it was a
hot day and most of them were wearing white shirts. It made the ball
tough to pick up for the batters."

Newhouser used that to his advantage, raising his arm angle to come
more overhand, which made his fastball jump at the hitter out of a sea
of white. He struck out 10 batters in a 9-3 victory.

Trucks said he became good friends with Newhouser during their playing
careers and remained close after they retired.

"Another teammate of ours, Hal White, and I would go over to his house
for dinner a lot when we were playing for the Tigers," Trucks said. "I
can still remember the fresh baked pies we'd have for dessert.

"Players were closer then; we'd spend more time together. We'd travel
by train and play cards -- just nickel-and-dime games, because we
couldn't afford anything more -- and talk baseball."

Newhouser went into banking after his playing career and later became
a Houston Astros scout. While working for the Astros, he recommended
that they take a shortstop from Kalamazoo as their first-round draft
pick in 1992.

The Astros didn't heed his advice and that shortstop -- Derek Jeter --
now stars for the World Series champion New York Yankees. Newhouser
was so upset by the Astros' decision that he quit working for the
team.

Newhouser was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1992. Longtime Tigers
broadcaster Ernie Harwell was on the Veterans Committee that selected
Newhouser.

"He sent me a nice note afterwards telling me how much he appreciated
that," Harwell said.

As much as he appreciated the Hall of Fame recognition, Newhouser said
it meant equally as much -- if not more -- to have his number 16
retired by the Tigers last year.

"He talked about that with me," Trucks said. "He felt -- and I agree
-- that it's a great honor to have a team retire your number like
that."

On having his number retired, Newhouser said: "I was the first
Detroit-born player to go into the Hall of Fame, and I'll be the first
Detroit-born player to have his uniform retired by the Tigers."

Newhouser is survived by his wife, Beryl; a brother, Richard; two
daughters, Charlene Newhouser and Sherrill Robinson; and a grandson,
Matthew Brewer. Funeral arrangements are pending.
---

In my experience, Harold Newhouser was an articulate pitcher -- beautiful motion -- a star but also a team player . In my estimation, his pitching when ever he was called upon, eventually shortened the strength & effectiveness of his gifted arm.

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