With Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser, Dizzy gave the Tigers a solid righty-lefty tandem in their rotation during the 1940s. The colorful pitcher, like Newhouser, spent the war years on the ball diamond and has been passed over when Hall of Fame possibilities are mentioned because he enjoyed his greatest success in the war years. Nevertheless, Trout was an exceptional pitcher who flourished when the boys came back from overseas.
Trout won nine games as a rookie in 1939 and then suffered from accuracy issues in 1940 and ’41. In 1942, the first year of the World War II exodus, Dizzy led Detroit pitchers in innings pitched–topping the 200 mark for the first time. He would reach 200 innings every year until 1947.
Dizzy settled in as a star pitcher in 1943 when many of the games brightest, like Bob Feller, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio and Cecil Travis were in the military. That year Dizzy tied for the league lead in both wins and shutouts while posting a flattering ERA of 2.48. His finest hour came in 1944 when Dizzy tossed a league high 352 innings and paced the junior circuit in games started (40), ERA (2.12), complete games (33) and shutouts (7). He finished second in both wins and strikeouts while making his first All-Star appearance. For his amazing season, he was voted the runner-up to MVP Hal Newhouser; his Detroit mate.
In the Tigers’ Championship season of 1945, Dizzy won 18 games on a 3.14 ERA. With the return of Hammerin’ Hank Greenberg, the Tigers rushed to the World Series, narrowly edging out the Senators for the AL pennant. Dizzy stood Cubs batters on their ears, posting a 0.66 ERA in 14 World Series innings.
When the boys came back to the diamond from the war in 1946, many eyes were on the Tigers star pitchers Trout and Newhouser. Critics felt they were in for a poor season in ’46 since the talent level was back to normal, but they underestimated the man with the fishy last name. Trout won 17 games for Detroit on a marvellous 2.34 ERA. He was named to his final All-Star squad in 1947.
Dizzy posted a trim 3.43 ERA in 1948 but was moved to the bullpen in 1949. After a poor ’49 campaign, Dizzy returned to his dominant ways, fashioning a splendid .722 winning percentage on a 3.75 ERA in 1950. The Tigers became a losing team in 1951 but Dizzy, despite leading the league in losses, still had some left in the tank. He averaged just 0.896 hits per inning.
After a rough start in ’52, Dizzy was part of a blockbuster trade with the Red Sox. Shipped to Boston with Dizzy were Hall of Famer George Kell, slick shortstop Johnny Lipon and outfielder Hoot Evers for sweet-swinging infielder Johnny Pesky, thumper Walt Dropo and three lesser players. He won nine games for Boston who were hindered by Ted Williams’ induction into the military during The Korean War. It was his last full year at the Major League level.
W 170/L 161/PCT .514/G 521/CG 158/IP 2,726/H 2,641/BB 1,046/SO 1,256/SHO 28/ERA 3.23