On this day in 2010 longtime major league pitcher Billy Hoeft died in Canadian Lakes, Michigan. He was 77 years old.
Hoeft was born and went to high school in Oshkosh before signing with the Tigers as an amateur free agent in 1950. Two years later he was a big leaguer for the first time in 1952 and went on to pitch 15 major league seasons as a member of six teams. He was an AL All Star as a Tiger in 1955, and won 20 games for Detroit in 1956.
Hoeft briefly returned to his home state as a member of the Milwaukee Braves in 1964, making 42 relief appearances and posting a 3.80 ERA over 73.1 innings.
All told, Hoeft pitched 1847.1 innings over 505 big league appearances, including 200 starts. His 505 appearances are the third most ever for a Wisconsin-born pitcher.
Hoeft is buried in Park View Cemetery in Livonia, Michigan.
With help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday today to:
- Madison native and UW-Madison alum Rick Reichardt, who turns 70. He pitched eleven seasons in the majors between 1964-74 as a member of the Angels and three other teams. We covered his birthday in this space last year.
- Columbus, Wisconsin native and UW-Madison alum Bob Poser, who would have turned 103. He pitched in the majors as a member of the 1932 White Sox and 1935 St. Louis Browns.