Signed off the Detroit sandlots, Houtteman first appeared with the Tigers at 17. A fast learner with a sharp curve and deceptive sinker, he came back from a 2-16 season in 1948 to win 15 in 1949. He suffered a fractured skull that year but recovered to win 19 games in 1950. After a year in the army, and the death of his baby in a car crash, he struggled to an 8-20 record in 1952. Traded to Cleveland, he was 15-7 for the 1954 pennant-winners.