Well, I picked a great day to write about baseball! (OK, so I write about baseball every Monday for the News.) If you agree to stick with me for the entirety of this post, I'll supply you with a link straight over to our wonderful Lions blog, Pride of Detroit, for Schwartenfreude the rest of your day.
But first, let's talk about the Hall of Fame. Some people have intense feelings about who belongs in or out. And that's fine. Baseball's long been a game you can debate about. Who's better, this player from the 1940s or this one from the 1960s? How about this guy from the 1980s? That's the kind of thing we're doing right now in another series at BYB. But it's also something we do when considering who belongs in the Hall of Fame and who doesn't.
Of course this is the silly season, when writers share their opinions and those opinions lead to veins popping out of foreheads. It's a long December, what else did you expect to happen, right? The case for Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker making Cooperstown is one of those things.
They deserve it. That's what I wrote today. Whitaker famously fell off the ballot after receiving just 2.9 percent of the vote. That seems like criminal negligence given he's one of the best second baseman in the history of the game, statistically. How does that even happen? Voters who didn't do their research, I suspect. Then we have Trammell. He, too, put up numbers that appear to be worthy of the Hall. They're not eye-popping, but they're in line with others of his generation who today are Hall of Famers.
It's hard to say why the pair are left out. Obviously some will want to put forth the idea that Detroit always gets overlooked. Is that accurate? There always seems to be a Wayne County sized chip on people's shoulders, though admittedly you can find ample reason for this belief.
I still think the issue is fame. Tram and Lou, the longest running duo -- and guest appearance makers on Magnum PI! -- seem like they were each lost behind more famous players at their position despite comparing favorably. Then again, how many people do you think realize the Tigers won 829 games in the 1980s? A franchise that was consistent throughout won a World Series in 1984 and won its division again in 1987, but few would likely call it one of the best of the decade.
Did the 90s do this to us? Did the 90s also destroy Whitaker and Trammell's chances at being elected into the Hall? We remember the Tigers for what seemed like a brief moment or two in the 80s, despite evidence to the contrary, and then the franchise went into a black hole after that. By the end of the 90s they were baseball's worst consistently. Whitaker continued to play through 1995. Trammell played through 1996. The Tigers were the only team either represented in their careers. Despite evidence that both players continued to play well during their twilight years, maybe the franchise's plunge to the bottom was too much and claimed their careers as victims.
Who's to say? But this much we know: Reclaiming their careers and showing them again and again as being worthy of the sport's highest honor is the right thing to do. And maybe if we're lucky -- this feels unlikely, but you should always have hope -- the pair will be honored by the veteran's committee and finally receive the accolades they both deserve.
Wouldn't that be great?
OK. Thanks for reading that important message. Now feel free to head on over to Pride of Detroit!