January 4, 2010

Hall of Fame 2010: Alan Trammell

From now until the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2010 is announced, The Hall is going to be breaking down each candidate. Some write ups will be lengthy...some will be the opposite. Some will be brand new pieces...some will be re-hashes of previous pieces.

Growing up in the Midwest (Illinois specifically), I had plenty of friends that were fans of the Cubs, White Sox or even our neighbors to the north…the Brewers.

I had one friend who, for some reason, was a fan of the Tigers. The dude loved Detroit.

He LOVED them!

We’d play one of the myriad of baseball games that we had and he’d always have the same cast of characters on his team…Willie Hernandez, Lance Parrish, Jack Morris, Lou Whitaker and, of course, Alan Trammell.

I always knew Trammell was good and for some reason I always had a soft spot for him.

True story…when I got into collecting autographs, he was one of the first I sent a card to. Remember when you could do that? You’d send a card and a SASE and within a few weeks…you’d get a reply.

Trammell responded. Numerous others did not.

Flash forward to today, and Trammell is slowly becoming the Bert Blyleven of some Hall of Fame discussions. But I'm not sure why. Like Blyleven, he was so overshadowed by some of the other guys out there that no one would have considered him a lock for Cooperstown.

Now, long after retiring and having spent a number of years (this is his ninth) on the ballot…people start banging his drum.

But why?

As soon as he was brought up from the Minors, Trammell supplanted Mark Belanger as one of the American League’s best fielding shortstops. Thankfully, he could do something that Belanger simply could not.

Hit.

All in all, “Tram” hovered around or above .300 for close to half of his career. His 2365 hits and .285 batting average would place him in the upper tier of shortstops already inducted.

The six-time All-Star showed great discipline at the plate and in 1984, he was named the World Series MVP after posting a .450 batting average in five game series against the Padres. Three years later, Trammell could have easily taken home the American League’s MVP award, but was narrowly beaten out by Toronto’s George Bell.

So, why no love for the slick fielding middle infielder originally from California? Simple…Cal Ripken Jr.

Basically, if you were a shortsop in the American League and NOT named Ripken…you were (seemingly) a nobody. You see, shortstops in the 80s weren’t really as highly regarded as they were a decade later.

There was no Derek Jeter. No Alex Rodriguez. And no Nomar Garciaparra.

There was Ripken and everyone else.

Unfortunately, it is not until many years later that people outside of Tigers fans are finally noticing that Trammell was a fantastic multi-tooled player. All that aside, I think we’re looking at a guy that will make it all 15 years on the ballot…but never will he shed the bridesmaid dress.


BallHype: hype it up!

No comments: