In 1942 Hal Newhouser improved quite a bit as a pitcher. He went from average or slightly below to above average. However, his win loss record that year was 8-14. The thing was Detroit wasn’t that bad a team. They were only two games below .500 if you take away Newhouser’s record. He must have pitched in some hard luck that year. He did save 5 games that season and was named to the All-Star team, so some people recognized his good pitching.
Newhouser was like Koufax. He made the Hall of Fame based largely on 3 great seasons. From 1944 to 1946 he won 29, 25 and 26 games. The funny thing was he lost 9 games each season. I guess Hall didn’t want to have double figures in losses. He even led his team to a World Series victory in 1945 going 2-1 in the World Series. However, he didn’t have a great ERA in the World Series.
Some people complained two of these seasons took place during World War II. Interesting fact was Newhouser tried to join the Army during WWII but was rejected due to heart problems. I subtracted points for players who played from 1943 to 1945 as the quality of play was low. However, Newhouser still had enough points to make my Hall of Fame.
It helped he had other good seasons outside his big three seasons. One thing his SABR biography mentions is Paul Richards spent a lot of time with him before the 1944 season getting to Newhouser to think like a pitcher and teaching him a slider. You think they would have done this earlier but sometimes someone has to be ready to listen. It helped Newhouser get to the Hall of Fame and it certainly helped the Tiger team for many years.