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100 greatest Detroit Tigers #34: Dizzy Trout

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Dizzy Trout started 322 games and relieved 199 times. As a starter, he enjoyed an amazing stretch between 1943 and 1946. As a reliever, Trout provided the Tigers with innings, experience, and a fireman. On top of this, the pitcher proved an adept hitter. In the end, the righthander's presence helped Detroit to two pennants in fourteen seasons. As a result, Trout remains the greatest swingman in Tiger history.

Indianapolis of the American Associated traded Tigers traded 21-year-old Paul Trout to the Detroit Tigers. The Indiana native toiled in the minor leagues until 1939. Trout's numbers did not impress in his first three seasons. He finished 9-10, 3-7, and 9-9 from 1939-1941. In 1940, he went 3-7 with a 4.47 ERA and terrible 1.778 WHIP. Detroit won the pennant and Trout made one World Series appearance. He surrendered two earned runs in his two inning stint and suffered a loss. The Tigers lost the series in seven games to the Reds.

The pitcher showed some promise as a starter two years removed from his terrible 1940 campaign. Despite a 12-18 record, Trout posted a 3.43 ERA, pitched 223 innings, allowed only 214 hits, completed 13 games, tossed a shutout, and lowered his WHIP to 1.359. In other words, the 27-year-old improved and seemed to have learned how to pitch.

Trout erased his 33-44 record in his first four seasons with a tremendous run from 1943-46. In fact, the pitcher finished 82-54 in the period and developed into an elite starter. He dominated the talent deprived majors during World War II. A hearing problem spared the star from military service. Trout led the league in wins (20) and shutouts (5) in 1943. Additionally, he threw 246.2 innings, 18 complete games, and finished 14 games. His WHIP dropped to 1.236 and he finished 11th in the MVP race.

The pitcher improved upon his 1943 performance with a career season in 1944. Trout went 27-14 with a league-leading 2.12 ERA. He also led the league in starts (40), complete games (33), shutouts (7), and innings (352.1). The righty lowered his WHIP to a career best 1.127. The statistics led to an All Star appearance and a second place finish in the MVP balloting. Trout's moundmate Hal Newhouser won the MVP with a 29-9 season.

Trout and Newhouser combined for 56 wins in 1944 and 43 in 1945. Newhouser won his second MVP with Trout finishing 17th. Trout finished 18-15 with a 3.14 ERA. Detroit won its second World Series in seven games against the Cubs. Newhouser won Game 7 while Trout finished 1-1 with a remarkable 0.66 ERA in two appearances.

The world champions did not repeat in 1946. War veterans returned to their teams, but Trout improved over 1945. He went 17-13 with a 2.34 ERA, 23 complete games, 276.1 innings, and 1.234 WHIP. Trout did not win more than 13 games or hurl 200 innings in a season over the final six plus years of his career.

Between 1947 and 1952, the righthander won 10,10, 3, 13, 9, and 10 games. He led the league in losses in 1951 with 14. Trout made his final All Star team in 1947 when he went 10-11 with a 3.48 ERA. He had a nice season in 1950 with a 13-5 record, 3.75 ERA, and finished 12th in the MVP vote. However, he began to start fewer games for Detroit. The pitcher did not start more than 26 games after 1946. Trout did not start a single game in 1949 and relieved as much as he started from 1950-52.

Detroit gave up on Trout in 1952 and traded him to Boston with George Kell, Hoot Evers, and Johnny Lipon for Walt Dropo, Johnny Pesky, and others. Trout performed well for the Red Sox and retired at season's end. Afterward, he became a broadcaster for the Tigers, ran for Wayne County sheriff, and made a comeback attempt in 1957. Stomach cancer claimed Dizzy Trout in 1972 at age 56.

Dizzy Trout was a great wartime pitcher, MVP candidate, and swingman for Detroit. He finished his career 170-161 with a 3.23 ERA and 1.353 WHIP in 521 games. He started 322 times and relieved 199. Over the course of his career, he led the league in wins, ERA, innings, and made two All Star appearances. Trout played on two pennant winners and won a game in the 1945 World Series. In the end, Trout's versatile nature made him an invaluable tool for Tiger managers during his 14 year tenure with Detroit.

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