Back when the color commentary was broadcast in black and white, one of the most spirited sports broadcasters on Detroit television was former Detroit Tigers pitching great Paul “Dizzy “ Trout. From 1953 to 1955 Trout called the play-by-play with Van Patrick on WKMH radio and WJBK-TV.  Trout’s booming voice and scrambled syntax made him a favorite of Detroit sports fans in television’s halcyon years.

   Paul Howard Trout was born on June 29, 1915 in Sandcut, Indiana, a town he once described as “what can be in two different places overnight if the wind blows hard enough.”  Trout’s baseball career began in 1935 when he played Minor League ball for the Terre Haute Tots in the famed Three-I League. In 1939 he advanced to the majors and signed with the Detroit Tigers.

 Trout pitched for the Tigers from 1939 to 1952. In 1943 he led the league with 20 wins. In 1944 he won 27 games and posted the lowest earned run average in the major leagues. The 1945 season saw him win 18 games, helping the team win the World Series. Trout’s trademark fastball was good enough for him to win 161 games for the Bengals. But by the late 1940s it was clear that his glory days were behind him. In the middle of the 1952 season Trout was traded to the Boston Red Sox, where he finished out the season before retiring from baseball.

  Trout returned to Detroit in 1953 when he was tapped by WJBK-TV to call the play-by-play for Tigers games with “The Ol’ Announcer,” Van Patrick. Trout’s self-effacing humor and folksy demeanor made him a natural in front of the TV cameras.

  Harold Summers, a life long Detroit Tigers fan, remembers Trout’s storytelling style. “Trout’s stories were great. Whenever he was the object of the story, it was rarely as a hero; he was usually the goat. He had this great capacity to laugh at himself.”

  A typical Trout baseball anecdote: “Shucks, Ol’ Diz once hit a beauty in this ball park. I was going after my twentieth victory one year and was losing by a run when Atley Donald came on in relief for the Yankees. There was a man on base when Ol’ Diz came to bat. See that second exit beyond the bullpen in right center? I’d like you to know that I’m the only right-handed batter in history ever to hit one there. Won the game with it, too.”

  The summer of 1953 found Trout hosting The Knot-Hole Gang, a WJBK-TV sports show aimed at kids. The premise was simple. Ol’ Diz visited neighborhood sandlots and Little League teams to interview budding baseball stars and offer pitching tips. Current and former Detroit Tigers players occasionally appeared with him on the show.

  Trout left the airwaves in 1955, replaced by former New York Giants batter Mel Ott.                                                                                                                

   In 1956 he decided to give politics a try, running for Wayne County Sheriff. His opponent was the long time incumbent Democrat, Andrew C. Baird. With Wayne County being so heavily working class, the Republican Trout didn’t stand a chance. Trout’s campaign promised, “If I am elected, I will be in there pitching for you.” Unfortunately, Trout got knocked out of the box and lost the election.

  After pitching in an Old Timers game Trout was signed in August of 1957 as a free agent with the Baltimore Orioles, playing only two games before being released from his contract.   Later that year he was hired by the Chicago White Sox as a pitching instructor, eventually becoming the director of the White Sox speaker’s bureau, a position he kept until his death in 1972. 

   Trout’s pitching record is somewhat tarnished due to the drafting of many of baseball’s best players during World War II, but you could always count on Dizzy Trout to pitch a good game as well as a good story.


Steve "Rainbow" Trout, son of pitching great Dizzy Trout, was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1976, carrying on the pitching tradition that his dad started. He played for twelve years in the majors with four franchises. Check out Steve's website by clicking on the  banner.