MLB: The one-and-done All-Star team of Baseball Hall of Fame rejects

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08: Lance Berkman #17 of the Houston Astros homers to left field in the fifth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates as catcher Jason jaramillo #35 frames the pitch at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2010 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08: Lance Berkman #17 of the Houston Astros homers to left field in the fifth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates as catcher Jason jaramillo #35 frames the pitch at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2010 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Long-time Tiger second baseman Lou Whitaker. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Long-time Tiger second baseman Lou Whitaker. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

One and done: Lou Whitaker

There are those who believe the voting slight delivered to Whitaker is among the most egregious in Hall history.

We’re talking here about a 19-year one-teamer who would vie with Charlie Gehringer for status as the best second baseman in franchise history.

Whitaker was a lifetime .276 batter at a middle defense position. A five-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner, he was the 1978 Rookie of the Year. In that election, he beat out two future Hall of Famers, Paul Molitor and Alan Trammell, his lifetime teammate in Detroit.

Since Trammell is in the Hall, the comparison is interesting. At .285, Trammell had slightly the better batting average. But Whitaker came out ahead in on base average (.363 to .352), slugging average (.426 to .415), and WAR (75.1 to 70.7.

James’ Hall of Fame monitor grades Whitaker at 93, making him a close call for enshrinement. Jaffe notes that Whitaker’s career 75.1 WAR exceeds the average 69.7 career WAR of 20 enshrined second basemen.

But all of that counted for nothing when Hall voters got the chance to consider Whitaker’s credentials in 2001. They offered a resounding “no,” giving him just 2.9 percent of the vote in the 2001 election. It was not as though Whitaker was hurt by an abundance of choices that year. After all, he was the only second baseman on the 2001 Hall ballot.