On this day in 1932 William Frederick "Billy" Hoeft was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He was 18 when the Tigers signed him as an amateur free agent in 1950, and 19 when he made his major league debut for Detroit on April 18, 1952. He pitched two innings in relief that day, the first over over 1800 in the major leagues.
Hoeft was a full time major league starter already in his age 21 season in 1953 and played 15 seasons in the majors. His best season was probably 1955, when he posted a 2.99 ERA and pitched seven complete game shutouts while compiling 220 innings of work. He also made his only All Star team that year.
Hoeft played his first eight major league seasons as a member of the Tigers but became a bit of a journeyman after that, splitting his final seven seasons between five teams. One of his stops was in Milwaukee, where he made 42 relief appearances for the 1964 Braves.
When he retired following the 1966 season Hoeft had a 3.94 career ERA in 505 games (200 starts). He passed away in 2010, or he would have turned 80 today.
- Huntsville Star Evan Anundsen, who turns 24.
- 2003 Brewer John Foster, who turns 34.
- 1997 Brewer Jack Voigt, who turns 46. We covered his birthday in this space last year.
- Appleton Baseball Hall of Famer Carlos May, who turns 63.