Hiller nearly died when he suffered a massive stroke in 1971, but after a miraculous recovery he was pitching again for the Tigers by the end of 1972. He posted 38 saves in 1973 to set a ML record and win Comeback Player of the Year and Fireman of the Year honors. He was also 10-5 with a 1.44 ERA and led the AL with 65 appearances.
After a moderately successful career as a reliever and occasional starter (he tied a since-broken ML record for consecutive strikeouts from the start of a game with six on August 6, 1968) Hiller missed all of 1971 after being stricken. He came back as a batting-practice pitcher in June 1972 and returned to action a month later, helping Detroit to the division title and winning Game Four of the LCS. Hiller set some more relief marks in 1974, the year after his save record, when his 17-14 record (13 saves) tied both the AL mark for relief wins and the ML standard for relief losses. The Canadian had several more seasons as the ace of the Tigers’ bullpen and retired with a club-record 125 saves.