Jack Morris had the opportunity to become the all-time wins leader in Detroit Tiger history. Instead, he chose to leave the Tigers for a chance to win another World Series. Morris departure after the 1990 season led many fans to rediscover Hooks Dauss. Dauss played his entire 15-year career with Detroit and retired the franchise all-time leader in wins.
George August Dauss earned his nickname “Hooks” because of his nasty curveball. The pitch proved difficult for big leaguers to hit and led to a long career. The pitcher joined the Tigers in 1912. He started two games, completed them both, and split the decisions. The right-hander made the big club for good in 1913. That season, he appeared in 33 games, started 29, completed 22, won 13, and posted a respectable 2.48 ERA.
Dauss began to accumulate wins in 1914. He won 19 games in 45 appearances and 302 innings. He had his finest campaign in 1915. The Tigers challenged the Red Sox for the pennant, won 100 games, but fell just short. Dauss emerged the staff ace with a 24-13 record, 2.50 ERA, in 309.2 innings. The Tigers did not seriously contend again until the Great Depression.
Although the Tigers were not contenders, Dauss remained a consistently reliable starter. He won 21 games in 1919 and 1923, 19 games in 1916, and 17 in 1917. The righty won at least 10 games in fourteen seasons and at least 13 eleven times. He posted his 200th victory in 1925 and passed George Mullin as the team’s all-time leader in wins when he secured his 210th victory that same season. Hooks Dauss has remained atop the career wins leader board for the Tigers ever since.
Overall, Dauss won 223 games for the Detroit Tigers. He appeared in 538 games, started 338, completed 245, and tossed 22 shutouts. The right-hander hurled 3,390.2 innings, struck out 1,201 batters, and finished with a 1.320 WHIP. Dauss also hit 121 batters and led the league three times.
Hooks Dauss was not the greatest pitcher in Tiger history. However, he was one of the most consistent. The man won baseball games for the franchise during an unremarkable period. Detroit contended for the postseason once in his tenure. They fell short and never sniffed the World Series again. However, Dauss continued to pitch and win games. As of 2014, he has been the Tiger leader in wins for nearly 90 years. Justin Verlander is the only pitcher with a shot at surpassing the record. If he remains healthy, Verlander should pass Dauss in 2018.