January 06, 2013

Tram was the Man

Before my "rookie" year at Elk Rapids High School, I bought myself a new mitt. At the time, I thought I was in infielder, so I bought the SSK Alan Trammell model. It's a small mitt. After that rookie year, I had the opportunity to see Mr. Trammell speak at the University of Michigan Baseball Camp. 
Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker were a couple of my favorite players. I always figured that every team had a second baseman and short stop that played for only one team and were perennial All–Stars. They wore #3 and #1 — amazing that the Tigers still had such "star" numbers available well into the '70s. Amazing, too, is that those numbers are still available. The Detroit Tigers have not retired the numbers of those two stars, and they should.

Trammell played the game with class and he played the game right. He did whatever it was that the manager (Sparky Anderson, for most of his career) asked him to do. How many of us remember that Tram was the cleanup hitter on the '87 American League East Champion team? He had a phenomenal season but lost out on the MVP to the Toronto Blue Jays George Bell. Just out of memory, Tram hit .343 with 28 HR and 105 RBI that season. He was clutch. He was always a leader of the Tigers.

Alan Trammell played the game with pride. He was a great Tiger. His hair curled out from under his Old English D baseball cap. He had an intense look in the batters box. His eyes always focused on the ball. He played 20 years in Detroit, the last six he wasn't really a regular.

Number Three made it look easy. He was classy.

The one blemish on his resumé is that he managed the 2003–2005 Detroit Tigers who were not very good. In fact, they were terrible. That coaching staff was a reunion of sorts for the '84 World Champion Tigers. In the end, it was more a marketing ploy than an effective effort toward improvement. I have to believe that their is no "love lost" between the Illitch folks and the Trammell folks. Of course, the team improved greatly under Jim Leyland, who is still managing — so maybe Tram and his crew were not quite ready for primetime. Now, his assistant coach, e.g. bench coach, Kirk Gibson, manages the Diamondbacks with Tram as his assistant.

Alan Trammell might not have been the BEST shortstop of the '80s and '90s (Cal Ripken was pretty good, I suppose) but he was GREAT. I believe Alan Trammell belongs in the Hall of Fame. I might be a Tigers fan and had the great opportunity to grow up watching the Tigers and Trammell, but he's a HOFer in my book.

What says you?

Tomorrow we will look at the chances of Jack Morris making it into the Hall of Fame. 

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