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Billy Hoeft

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William Frederick Hoeft

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[edit] Biographical Information

A tall, lean southpaw with a blazing fastball, Billy Hoeft pitched fifteen years in the big leagues, playing in the All-Star Game once and winning twenty games in another season. Along with teammates Paul Foytack, Frank Lary and Jim Bunning, Hoeft was part of a formidable Detroit Tigers starting rotation in the mid to late 1950s. However, he was saddled with pitching for poor to mediocre teams throughout most of his career and had a sub-.500 lifetime winning record.

Hoeft attended Oshkosh High School, where he once struck out 27 batters in a game and hurled several no-hitters during his senior year. After graduating in 1950, he was signed by the Tigers, and he reached the majors as a 19-year-old in 1952. After several years as a member of the Tigers rotation, he went 16-7 with a 2.99 ERA and a American League-leading 7 shutouts in 1955 and was selected to the All-Star team. The following summer, in 1956, he won 20 games, but his ERA ballooned to 4.06.

During the 1959 season, Hoeft was traded to the Boston Red Sox, who in turn dealt him to the Baltimore Orioles a month later. From that point on, he was primarily a reliever, and he went on later to stints with the San Francisco Giants, Milwaukee Braves, and Chicago Cubs.

Following his baseball days, Hoeft was a printing equipment salesman. He died of cancer at Canadian Lakes, MI in 2010 at age 77.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • AL All-Star (1955)
  • AL Shutouts Leader (1955)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 2 (1955 & 1956)
  • 20 Wins Seasons: 1 (1956)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 3 (1955-1957)

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