When it was announced newly acquired second baseman Ian Kinsler was going to wear number 3, which has long been associated with Tigers' All-Time great Alan Trammell, the news did not go over well with many fans. Yet it turns out Trammell, now bench coach with the Diamondbacks, is delighted Kinsler will wear a number many think should have been retired by the team years ago.
Asked about the controversy, Trammell made sure to note Kinsler first asked for permission to wear the iconic number. He went on to say he has no problem with the number 3 being back in circulation.
"I have no problem at all with it. I hope he gets plenty of hits in it. All the best. I hope he does very well. I’ve followed him, and I know he’ll be a nice addition to the Tigers."
When Kinsler arrived in Lakeland, he was asked for his thoughts on the number and the legacy which goes with it. A thoughtful Kinsler brought up how Jose Iglesias was now wearing Lou Whitaker's just-as-iconic number 1 and would give attention to the Tigers' history.
"I thought it would be cool to have those two numbers in the middle again. For fans to be able to talk to their kids about it: ‘I remember when there was a 1 and 3 up the middle, and they were the longest-tenured up-the-middle guys.’ "
When told of Kinsler's comments, Trammell continued to be all class about the controversy that apparently wasn't.
"We appreciate that. I’m speaking for Lou: We are associated with those numbers. We were there for a long time. But that was a long time ago. I hope (Kinsler and Iglesias) play very well."
I know my knee-jerk reactions to the 1 and 3 being put back in circulation was at first confusion, then anger. But the anger wasn't aimed toward the players, but at the Tigers for their unwritten, yet selectively applied, rule of only Hall of Fame players having numbers retired. I don't agree whatsoever with the policy (there are several players other than Whitaker and Trammell who deserve the honor and are not Hall members, such as Bill Freehan), but if Trammell is happy with the number being seen in the middle of the Tigers' infield again, I think we should all take heed of his voice of reason.
"I didn’t care what number I had as long as they gave me a number."
This wouldn't even be an issue if the BBWAA would get their heads out of their ... No, I won't go there. I'll save that rant for another day.