Tigers pitcher Virgil 'Fire' Trucks dies

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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 Trucks' death but did not release a specific cause.

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."

Trucks threw his two no-hitters 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 own ballpark since then came in 2003, when six Houston Astros blanked New York in a combined no-hitter at the old Yankee Stadium.

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. At the time of his death, he was believed to be the oldest living player who appeared for either the Tigers or Yankees.

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

Trucks' 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.

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