On Sunday, July 29, a day that many Detroit Tigers’ fans have waited over two decades for, finally arrived. Tigers greats, and members of the legendary wire-to-wire World Series champs of 1984, Alan Trammell and Jack Morris, were inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Both were elected by the Modern Era Committee, which votes every two years on players active between 1977-1994. They entered the hallowed halls in the company of Vladimir Guerrero, Chipper Jones, Trevor Hoffman and Jim Thome, who were elected in the normal voting this year.
TTrammell played shortstop for the Detroit Tigers for 20 seasons from 1977 until his retirement after the 1996 campaign. He ended his career with a lifetime .285 batting average, .352 on base percentage, and an OPS+ of 111. Trammell racked up 2395 hits and 185 home runs, providing rare middle-of-the-order power in a time when middle infielders didn’t hit for power. He achieved this while playing rock solid shortstop and being consistently recognized as one of the best defenders of his era. Trammell was the 1984 World Series MVP, and lost out on the 1987 American League MVP voting by just a hair to the Toronto Blue Jays’ George Bell.
As for Morris, he won 254 games in an 18 year career, the first 14 of which came in Detroit. Morris punched out 2478 batters, finishing with a career 3.90 ERA. His no-hitter on April 7, 1984, was a defining moment as the club rolled to its incredible 35-5 start. He played his part in the World Series with a complete game in Game 4 against the San Diego Padres in which he allowed just five hits and two runs as the Tigers took a 3-1 lead in the series.
However, the game for which Morris is best remembered came late in his career with the Minnesota Twins. In the 1991 World Series, the Twins and Atlanta Braves matched up for a truly epic championship series. In the deciding Game 7, Morris took on the Braves’ young ace, Johh Smoltz, and simply willed the Twins to victory with an incredible 10-inning shutout performance.
Sweet Lou was in the house
Alan Trammell’s Hall of Fame speech: Terrific tribute to his partner, Lou Whitaker. “For all those years, it was Lou and Tram”. “I hope someday you’ll be up here too”— John Keating (@JohnKeatingFSD) July 29, 2018
Plenty of Morris and Trammell’s former teammates were on hand to celebrate the occasion, but none shined brighter than Trammell’s long-time double-play partner, second baseman Lou Whitaker, whose case for Cooperstown is in many ways better than either Morris or Trammell’s own. Whitaker was clearly moved by the event, running into friends and former co-workers on hand who uniformly vocalized their appreciation for him and his career as well, and the the hope that Whitaker will take his rightful place beside Trammell and Morris in time.
Whitaker, who fittingly narrated Trammell’s induction video, expressed his pride and appreciation that two of his old comrades were finally getting their due. Trammell, for his part, has done just about everything possible without insulting the Hall of Fame to promote Whitaker’s case and make clear that the only bittersweet part of this moment is the fact that he and Whitaker should be going in together. The two are partners for life in baseball terms, inseparable in the minds of so many Tigers fans who forever have a special place in their hearts for the legendary double-play combination. And as always, Whitaker demurred over his own chances to join them, evincing not a whit of bitterness or jealousy over his exclusion.
Your time will come, Lou. And we won’t shut up about it until it does. Someday there is going to be a statue of Whitaker and Trammell in Comerica Park, and the Ilitch family and the Tigers’ organization better be on the ball to promote Whitaker’s case.
Lou Whitaker talks about what it was like playing with his longtime double-play partner, Alan Trammell. pic.twitter.com/9wSPWH7DsT— FOX Sports Detroit (@FOXSportsDet) July 28, 2018