Time Against Tigers’ Morris, Trammell & Whitaker

Jack Morris getting snubbed by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for Baseball’s Hall of Fame has become an annual event. Cincinnati Reds shortstop–and former Michigan Wolverine– Barry Larkin is the only player elected in the 2012 class as his name appeared on the 85% of the ballots.  Jack’s name appeared on 66.7% of the ballots, but a player needs 75% to make the Hall.

Morris had his best showing, and as The Detroit Free Press‘s John Lowe correctly points-out:

Morris received a higher percentage of voters than Boston’s Jim Rice and Minnesota’s Bert Blyleven did two years before their respective elections to Cooperstown.

That’s true.  The 2013 class of first-year eligible players includes the names of Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza, and Roger Clemens.  But, we know there are several baseball purists who will do everything within their power to ensure those guys never get through The Hall’s doors due to the steroid issue.

That’s good news Morris.  The bad news for Morris: Curt Schilling.  The East Coast Sports Media bias will fight to vote Schilling in as fast as possible.  They remember his post-season heroics with Arizona and Boston.  They don’t remember Jack’s gutsy performances in 1984 and 1991.

To be fair, Jack did have some post-season gaffes in 1987 and 1992.  I remember feeling extremely disappointed with his play in the ’87 ALCS against Minnesota.  That being said, Jack was the dominant pitcher for an entire decade!  It won’t matter, I’m afraid.  2012 was Jack’s best chance, and it may have passed him by.

I hope I’m wrong.

Does Barry Larkin deserve to be a Hall of Famer?  It’s extremely debatable, especially when you compare Larkin’s career to another Tiger great, Alan Trammell.

WSGW’s Charlie Rood compared Alan Trammell’s career to Larkin’s on both The Morning Team Show and on the WSGW Facebook page. Click below to hear Charlie’s defense of Jack, Alan, and Lou Whitaker.

CharlieTigersHOFdefense

I’m not sure Larkin or Trammell are deserving of such an honor, but I agree with Charlie’s argument that if Larkin’s in, so should Trammell.

Grant Brisbee of Baseball Nation says Trammell should receive more recognition from voters, but that several circumstances are against him.

Again, it’s not that Larkin wasn’t better than Trammell. By most metrics (and obviously in the court of public opinion), he certainly was. But if Larkin is a Hall of Famer, Trammell certainly deserves a closer look. The gap between them wasn’t that big. The biggest difference between the two is that Larkin was almost always the best offensive shortstop in his league. His competition was Ozzie Smith in his mid-to-late 30s, Jay Bell, and Jeff Blauser. Contenders would come and go like so many Wil Corderos.

Trammell was always shortstop 1b or 1c in the American League through no fault of his own. He didn’t just lag behind with CRiL (Brisbee’s acronym for Cal Ripken in League) — his candidacy also took a hit because of his RYiL numbers. Robin Yount was in the AL too, often putting up seasons worthy of MVP votes. Considering that Trammell played with two first-ballot Hall of Fame shortstops, his six All-Star team selections are even more impressive.

Another difference between Larkin and Trammell is that the latter had a sidekick who was also worthy of the Hall of Fame. For just under two decades, Lou Whitaker played along Trammell, making All-Star teams and hitting at a position where most teams shouldn’t have a hitter. The two rode around on tandem bikes and finished each other’s sentences, and there might have been a tendency to pretend that the whole was greater than the sum of its parts. If Trammell played a couple decades with Doug Flynn, maybe he would have stood out more.

It’s a great read, and Brisbee makes excellent points about the role Whitaker played in Trammell’s success.  Maybe that’s why The Hall should vote for both of them, but that most likely won’t happen.

Jack, Trammell and Lou are victims of playing great baseball at a time of great players.  I think they’d all be in The Hall of Fame if the Tigers had won the 1987 World Series.  Two championships rings in three-years would’ve validated their spots in Cooperstown.

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