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Thursday, December 11, 2008

2009 Hall of Fame Candidate - Alan Trammell

Alan Trammell. I don't even know where to start with him. Just look at the stats.

Hits: 2365
Runs: 1231
RBI: 1003
Home Runs: 185
Stolen Bases: 236
Career Batting Average: .285

Yeah, I know. Nomah racked up twice those numbers just from 1998-2000. I ain't talkin' bout Nomah. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Trammell a big star in the '80s? Multiple Gold Gloves? Multiple All-Star appearances? Multiple Silver Sluggers? Led the Tigers to a Championship in '84? Damn near (probably should have) won an MVP in '87? Why can't he get more than 18% of the vote?

His offensive numbers aren't spectacular compared to the stuff you see today. They don't make your nether regions get all tingly just by looking at them. He was a shortstop folks! With very few exceptions shortstop was NOT an offensive position back in the day! You got the best defender in the infield with the best arm and the best range and put him behind your pitcher to make plays and get outs and save runs. (See: Concepcion, Dave) Offensive output was a bonus. This did not really change until Ripken. Then the A-Rod/Nomah/Miggy/Jeter wave hit and all of a sudden teams have to demand serious production out of their middle infielders. And guess what? While .285 with 185 dingers doesn't look elite with today's eyes (Rich Aurilia has similar numbers to that) the reality is in that era a shortstop with that kind of production with Gold Glove defense is amazing. The Tigers didn't win all those games in the '80s despite Tram and Sweet Lou in the middle of the infield. Bill James ranked him in the top 10 shortstops of all time in '01. So why can't he crack 20%?

Part of the reason I chose the neat, but admittedly weird card for Trammell is that sometimes I wonder what voters are thinking when they put the stamp on their Hall ballot and mail it in. This time of year there are tons of cheap and easy articles from BBWAA members explaining their dubious Hall votes. not many put Alan on their ballot. Hell, I didn't even put him on my fake imaginary ballot becayse I ran out of votes. But why is the conventional wisdom stating that he's definitly not a Hall of Famer when he was an excellent hitter, fielder, leader and Champion? He wasn't Cal Ripken? He played for Detroit? He managed a dreadful team? I don't know, man. I don't know.

Prediction: As gloomy as I am about Hall balloting lately, I'm going to be optimistic and say Alan breaks 100 votes and 20% this time around.

This card: 2005 Leaf Century Collection Alan Trammell Bat/ Stamp combo #32/39.
Rookie cards: 1978 Topps, 1978 Burger King

Also: Dude was on Magnum P.I.! Come on!!


madding said...

Trammell can't go in without Whitaker. If you combined the two guys into some sort of SuperTiger, they'd definitely be in the Hall.

dinged corners said...

Wow. There's a lot going on in that cardboard real estate. Little photo, purple-itude, and what almost looks more like a revenue stamp than a postage stamp. Grrrreat card.

Joey said...

Trammell should be getting more votes and attention than he is getting. At times he carried the Tigers. I know it was kind of like Batman and Robin with his middle infielder partner Lou Whitaker. But without Trammell the Tigers would have never been the force they were in the 80's.

jacobmrley said...

unfortunately, i am certain they will put both trammell and whitaker in the hall together in 2060, after both have passed and most people who watched them, as well.

one of the best ways to judge a hall of famer is the question 'did people think of them as hall-of-famers when they played?' and tram and whit were thought of as such. the actions and numbers of arod, nomar, jeter, tejada, sandberg, et al, shouldn't change that...

Don said...

I think Tram was a HOFer, but my opinion may be clouded by being a HUGE Tiger fan. I think that he has a few things going against him:

1. When you think of Tram, you also think of Sweet Lou. The two are almost inseperable due to playing together for so long.

2. Detroit did not exactly get a ton of press during the 80s (still does not today, no matter how good the team is).

3. Injuries hurt him. Same argument can also be used for Mattingly.

4. Tended to be overshadowed at his position in the AL by Yount, Ripken, and to some extent Fernandez and Guillen. He may not have been considered the best SS in the AL, but he was often considered the second best.

To sum it up, he will probably not get in, even though he will hang around until his eligibility expires. He will eventually get close to 50% of the vote, and after he goes on the VC ballot he candidacy will pick up steam.

JRJ said...

Tram never got along with the Press that well and that hurts him in these types of votes. I think he's a HOFer, but with the voting press it's more of a popularity contest.

Dave - Fielder's Choice said...

Trammell is a Hall of Famer, in my opinion. You have to look at his numbers in comparison with the best shortstops of all-time, and his numbers are better than a lot of the Hall of Fame shortstops.

Anonymous said...

I always considered Trammell a HOFer, but never Whitaker.

James B. Anama said...

I'm happy Tram is in Chicago as a coach for the Cubs. Maybe one of these years...

Regardless of whether or not he's a hall of famer, that was one awesome video.


JayBee Anama