Goodbye, Virgil Trucks

Posted March 24th, 2013 by Tom Owens and filed in Detroit News, Virgil Trucks, World War II
Even in his final year, Virgil insisted on a signature
that denoted every letter in his name. He will be missed!

Winter storm Virgil brought some sad news.

When I saw the headline of the newest-named storm, I wrote to Carolyn Beckwith, the daughter of fabled pitcher Virgil Trucks. They both share a fine sense of humor. I knew that the pair would love the headlines of “Virgil” conquering America.

I was too late. “Fire” passed away Saturday at age 95.

According to the Detroit News tribute, this hobby hero wanted to sign autographs during his final days in the hospital. In his final months, he hadn’t been well enough to handle fan mail.

However, this baseball ambassador was legendary for his above-and-beyond replies to fan mail throughout his life. He shared his autograph philosophy in this 2011 blog feature.

Virgil’s funeral comes Thursday. The World War II veteran will be buried in a military cemetery.

As I spoke to Carolyn , I thanked her. Virgil’s family supported his eternal dedication to fan mail. In our last conversation, I asked him why he was so kind and thorough answering autograph requests of people who may not have even been alive during his career.

“We all love baseball,” he replied.

I’ll never forget Virgil Trucks. Amazingly, I don’t think he ever forgot any of us.

6 Responses to “Goodbye, Virgil Trucks”

  1. William says:

    Thanks Tom! Because so many mentioned it on my blog, I will be donating the audio copy of my 2011 interview with Mr. Trucks to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. I am also sending a copy to Ms. Beckwith as well.

  2. Tony says:

    That’s very sad news. If there was ever a Hall of Fame or All-Star for giving autographs, Virgil Trucks was it. I was very fortunate to receive his autograph by mail or times, and a personal letter always came back along with my requests. The last few times I had sent him copies of the photos I was requesting, and he was very appreciative, and mentioned he had never seen some of the photos before. Always a classy gentlemen, and appreciative of his fans. A huge loss for the autograph hobby. God Bless you Mr. Trucks.

    • Tom Owens says:

      Thanks for your input, Tony! The sharing of photos is just one of many ways we can say thanks as fans and collectors. Thanks for the example you’ve set.

  3. ND says:

    My little bit on Virgil Trucks. I met him in 2007 at the field dedication for Bobby Shantz in Pottstown, Pa. Trucks, who was 90, was still very spry, although it was hard for me to imagine this skinny guy throw close to 100 MPH. Great hitters like Mickey Vernon and Gus Zernial both raved about how hard he threw.

    I corresponded with him multiple times after that and he was always gracious. I included some of the correspondence in the tribute I did for his passing.

    http://www.examiner.com/article/virgil-trucks-95-threw-two-no-hitters-the-major-leagues

    • Tom Owens says:

      Yea, Nick! As always, your writing sparkles. I know Virgil’s family is keeping tabs on the online tributes for their dad. They’ll appreciate your work, too.

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