HOF 2018: Trammell Finally Earns His Due in Cooperstown
Eighteen years after his name first appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot considered by veteran members of the Baseball Writers Association of America – and after 15 years of falling short of the votes necessary for enshrinement – Alan Trammell is finally receiving his due.
He, along with long-time Tigers teammate Jack Morris, along with Vladimir Guerrero, Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero and Jim Thome will be inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., on Sunday.
And the fact Trammell and Morris had to wait a little longer, and be voted into the Hall by the Modern Era Committee, designed to correct oversights by the BBWAA members in their voting, doesn’t bother Trammell at all. The 16-person committee is a combination of former players, executives, media members, and statistical analysts.
“Regardless of how you get in, you’re not going to complain,” said Trammell. “I can assure you of that. But the fact that it was my peers, my contemporaries that basically, in my book, and is just kind of what I’m evaluating the way this vote came down, is they look at some of the intangibles.”
Trammell had the stats, but he had the intangibles, too.
In an era where shortstops were not considered big-time run producers he often hit fourth, and usually was somewhere in the middle of the lineup. He wasn’t flashy, but he was productive, and in the field he was an elite player.
The 22nd shortstop to be inducted into the Hall of Fame his ranks ninth among players at his position with 1,003 RBI, 12th with a .285 batting average and fourth with 185 home runs. His .976 career fielding percentage at shortstop is third among the 22 shortstops enshrined at Cooperstown.
In the clubhouse, he was a strong force, keeping those Tiger teams of the `80s focused on the challenges they faced, highlighted by the 1984 season when they won the AL East by 15 games over the Blue Jays, swept the Royals in the ALCS, and needed only five games to claim a world championship.
Even Kirk Gibson can attest to Trammell’s willingness to keep everybody on the same page.
“I remember him telling me one time that I was wrong and I needed to apologize to somebody,” Gibson said. “It was kind of interesting because I was pretty volatile, and when people challenged me I usually tried to take it and resolve it in a different fashion. But I really respected Tram.”
It spoke for the bond between the two.
“My wife called him my road wife because I always spent time with Tram, talking about baseball, and our development,” said Gibson. “We were constantly together. We were the first guys at the park and we were the ones hanging around when everyone else left.”
Now Trammell is ready to receive the ultimate reward for a baseball career – a plaque on the wall at the Hall of Fame.
“I’m sure 99.9 percent of the inductees will say that it wasn’t your goal as a kid to be in the Hall of Fame,” he said. “What you wanted was to get to play professional baseball, get to the big leagues. Then you want to win. That’s why you play the game, to win, not get awards.
“I was able to do those things.”
And his ability to accomplish that goal has earned him the highest recognition a baseball player can receive.
Shortstops in Cooperstown
|Cal Ripken Jr.||1981-2001(21)||1647||3184||603||44||431||1695||0.276||0.447|
|Pee Wee Reese||1940-1958(16)||1338||2170||330||80||126||885||0.269||0.377|