Time and opportunity are slipping away from former Detroit Tigers shortstop Alan Trammell after a dozen years on the Hall of Fame ballot, but he deserves to be voted into the big house in Cooperstown, New York.
This is the 12th year on the ballot for Trammell and last year he received 36.8 percent of the vote in his favor for admission to the Hall. He needs 75 percent to be selected for the class of 2013 when the balloting closes Dec. 31, but boy oh boy it’s going to be tough with so many fresh names on the list in addition to several holdovers who have their own set of credentials nearly as solid as Trammell’s.
The list of 13 players who received at least five percent of the vote last year to stay on the Hall ballot for further consideration includes Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell, Lee Smith, Tim Raines, Trammell, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Larry Walker, Mark McGwire, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro and Bernie Williams.
There are also 24 new names and room on the voter’s list for just 10 names. Williams, Palmeiro, Murphy, Mattingly, McGwire and Walker are in the most danger of being dropped. My first choices among the holdover group to go in would be Trammell, Matinez, Bagwell, Smith, McGriff, Morris, and Raines, with careful thought given to Palmeiro and McGwire regarding just how much consideration they deserve despite the performance-enhancing drug issue. I have heard a lot of voters say that they will not ever vote for anyone who in their minds is tainted by performance-enhancing drugs. I have heard a lot of voters say they will not vote right now for anyone in their minds tainted by performance-enhancing drugs. However, by the nature of the way the system works, right now may be at issue because a Palmeiro or McGwire could be cut from the ballot altogether if they don’t receive enough votes.
Trammell played 20 seasons in the majors, all with the Detroit Tigers between 1977 and 1996. A six-time All-Star, he won four Gold Gloves and three Silver Slugger awards while batting .285. The percentage of those voting for him for the Hall has been increasing. Trammell was not really seen as a slugging shortstop, but hit 185 home runs during his career with a seasonal high of 28. Likewise, he drove in 100 runs once. He stole 10 or more bases in a season 13 times. The Tigers won the World Series in 1984 and Trammell was voted MVP of the Series.
He and Lou Whittaker played a record 19 seasons together as a double-play combination and their partnership actually went along longer, going back to their minor-league days.
Overall, middle infielders, even the best of them, usually compile the lowest batting averages over the course of a career. They are more appreciated for their fielding. A comparative study of Trammell’s statis with those of the the 22 players listed as primarily shortstops in the Hall of Fame shows that Trammell voters should look very carefully at his qualifications. Based on the numbers, Trammell is a very logical choice for acceptance.
Only the following Hall of Fame shortstops have lifetime .300 averages: Honus Wagner (.327), Arky Vaughan (.318), Joe Sewell (.312), Hughie Jennings (.310), Luke Appling (.310), and Joe Cronin (.301). Phil Rizzuto batted .273, Pee Wee Reese, .269, Luis Aparicio .262, and Ozzie Smith .262. Just four other Hall shortstops had higher averages than Trammell and one had the same .285.
Only Ernie Banks, who also played first base, with 512 home runs, Cal Ripken Jr., who also played third and hit 431 homers, and Robin Yount, who also played center field and hit 251 home runs, have significantly more home runs than Trammell. Barry Larkin, elected last year, is the only other shortstop with more career homers than Trammell and Larkin had 198.
Thirteen shortstops in the Hall of Fame have fewer than Trammell’s 1,003 career RBIs. Trammell would rank 11th among Hall shortstops in stolen bases. Thirteen shortstops in the Hall scored more runs than Trammell, but his total of 1,231 runs scored would have him very close to three others.
Trammell out-hit such post-World War II shortstop luminaries as Rizzuto, Reese, Aparicio and Smith. The pre-1933 players did not have the opportunity to be selected to a non-existent All-Star game and the pre-1957 players did not have the opportunity to become Gold Glove winners.
Smith won 13 Gold Gloves at short, Aparicio won nine, Larkin won three, Ripken won two, and Banks won one, among those in the Hall of Fame, compared to Trammell’s four.
Trammell made six All-Star teams, compared to Ripken’s 19, Smith’s 15, Larkin 12, Banks 11, Aparicio 10, Reese 10, Vaughan 9, Lou Boudreau 8, and Rizzuto 5.
Basically, in almost every key measurable category, Trammell ranks within the top dozen shortstops of all time. That should be good enough to get him into the Hall.