On Monday afternoon the Baseball Hall of Fame announced the names on the Modern Baseball Era Hall of Fame ballot, which represents an opportunity for deserving candidates to get voted into Cooperstown. Tigers legend Lou Whitaker was among the 10 names listed.
As recently as 2017, deserving Tigers like Alan Trammell and Jack Morris were elected by the same Modern Era committee, and now Trammell’s double-play partner Whitaker will get his chance.
Whitaker joined nine former players on the 2019 Modern Era ballot. In addition to the players, Marvin Miller who was the head of the MLBPA from 1966-82, is listed for consideration. The other players up for vote are Dwight Evans, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Marvin Miller, Thurman Munson, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, and Ted Simmons.
The candidates will be voted on by a 16-member committee, and if any receive 75 percent of the vote, they will be included in the 2020 class inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 26. The Eras committee is a way to allow candidates who might have fallen off the BBWAA ballot without making the cut to get a second chance. Any player retired for more than 15 season, or any non-player of note, can be considered for inclusion.
During the 2017 Winter Meetings, the committee voted to include Jack Morris and Alan Trammell, and this coming winter, they might vote to finally include Whitaker.
Whitaker spent all 19 years of his career with the Tigers, and in that time earned the 1978 Rookie of the Year nod, was a five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger, three-time Gold Glove winner, and of course a member of the history 1984 World Series team. In 2001 he earned only 2.9% of the BBWAA Hall of Fame vote. He ranks 13th of all time by second baseman JAWS (Which averages 7-year peak WAR by position). This places him just below Jackie Robinson.
Of all-time second baseman JAWS, Whitaker is the only one int he top 16 of players who is retired and not in the Hall.
Let’s hope the Modern Era committee does the right thing.