Born: April 8, 1943|
|September 6, 1965 for the Detroit Tigers|
Last MLB appearance
|May 27, 1980 for the Detroit Tigers|
|Earned run average||2.83|
Career highlights and awards
John Frederick Hiller (born April 8, 1943) is a former left-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who played his entire career for the Detroit Tigers. His nickname was ratso. After suffering a heart attack in 1971, he returned to the team and recorded 38 saves in
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Hiller grew up in Scarborough, Ontario, and after signing with the Tigers in 1962, he broke in with the team in
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After his January 11,
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1973 marked a full return, as Hiller posted a 1.44 ERA and an Adjusted ERA+ of 285—the highest in Detroit Tigers history and one of the highest in baseball history. (See Detroit Tigers award winners and league leaders) Hiller also broke Clay Carroll's record of 37 saves, set the previous year with the Cincinnati Reds; he also led the league with 65 appearances. Hiller became the first Tiger to lead the AL in saves since Al Benton in 1940, and the first to lead the league in games since Harry Coveleski in 1915. His saves record would stand for ten years until Dan Quisenberry saved 45 games with the
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- REDIRECT Template:Baseball year. He won baseball's Hutch Award – given for fighting spirit and competitive desire – in 1973 after having recovered from his heart attack, as well as the AL Fireman of the Year Award and Comeback Player of the Year Award. Hiller was also the last man to throw a pitch in the "original" Yankee Stadium, getting New York Yankee Mike Hegan to fly out to center field in an 8–5 Detroit win.
In 1974, Hiller set an AL record with 17 relief wins, topping Dick Radatz' total of 16 with the
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Hiller went into the insurance business and owned his own pet store for a year in Duluth, Minnesota after leaving baseball. He currently lives in Michigan's Upper Peninsula with his wife Lynette and dog Ollie. He was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in
During the 1977 season, Hiller was pitching for the Tigers in a game against the Seattle Mariners, who at the time were a first-year expansion team playing their home games in the Seattle Kingdome. The Kingdome had huge speakers hanging from its roof, in which a batted ball could very easily hit. Hiller gave up what appeared to be a game-winning home run to former teammate Willie Horton, but the ball hit one of the speakers and bounded back onto the field. In his post-game interview, Hiller was quoted as saying, "If a ball hits one of those (speakers) and saves a game for a pitcher, he ought to go to church the next day. I guess you know where I'll be tomorrow!"
- Best pitching seasons by a Detroit Tiger
- 1968 Detroit Tigers season
- List of Major League Baseball saves champions
- List of Major League Baseball all-time saves leaders
- List of Major League Baseball players who spent their entire career with one franchise
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
- BaseballLibrary - career highlights
- Canada's Sports Hall of Fame
- Baseball Hall of Fame column on Hiller's comeback