Alan Trammell Hall of Fame Case

my 1984 autographed Alan Trammell card.

Much like Lou Whitaker Hall of Fame Case this article is proof that my belief that Alan Trammell should have already been elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

There is no reason he shouldn’t be enshrined.  Of all Shortstops in baseball since 1901 (as far back as Baseball Reference goes) only 18 that have played at least 1500 games at Shortstop have a WAR above 50.  Of those 18, 4 are not in the Hall of Fame, at 53.2 Wins Above Replacement, Bert Campaneris, a solid but not spectacular SS mostly for the Kansas City/Oakland A’s is one of them.

Also on that list, with the 9th most Wins Above Replacement for Shortstops is Detroit’s own Alan Trammell, with 70.3 Wins.  The other two players that fit the criteria are Derek Jeter (I’m surprised he hasn’t found a way in yet, despite rules about retirement) and Alex Rodriguez (who probably will be/should be based on numbers, but, ya know, steroids and what not).

The argument for Alan Trammell, much like with Whitaker, is easy to make by simply looking at the other Shortstops of his time that have made the Hall of Fame and wonder, “How can you not have voted in Trammell as well?”

Ozzie Smith made the Hall of Fame with 6 Wins more than Trammell in 300 more games.  Smith’s dWAR (defensive Wins Above Replacement) was was 43.9 to Trammell’s 22, which means Trammell was 16 Wins better offensively in 2 less years than the FIRST BALLOT Hall of Fame Ozzie Smith.

Barry Larkin, who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his third appearance on the ballot ahs the exact same 70.3 WAR as Alan Trammell.  Trammell has a dWAR 8 Wins higher than Larkin, yet Trammell’s offensive numbers are not that different than that of Barry Larkin or other “top” hitting Shortstops:

All Time Rank
Home Runs 12
RBI 11
Runs 15
Hits 12
SB 22
BA 17
OBP 16
SLG 19
OPS 16

So, a player that is in the top 20 of basically every offensive category at his position all time, is not in the Hall of Fame, yet almost every other player in that same position is.

This comes down to the viewpoint that if Cal Ripken, Ozzie Smith and Barry Larkin are such easy Hall of Fame candidates, how can Alan Trammell toil away on the ballet for with out ever getting even 50% of the BBWAA to write him on their ballots?

While Trammell never won a major post season award (except for the World Series MVP in 1984) he was on the MVP ballot 7 times, a 6 time all star and won multiple Gold Gloves and Silver Slugger awards.

The issue of why neither Trammell or Whitaker are in the Hall of Fame may come down to this, of the comparables for Trammell and  Whitaker, none had a counter part at 2nd or Shortstop that is Hall of Fame worthy.  For Whitaker the comparables were the nomad, Roberto Alomar and  Ryne Sandberg of the sad sack Cubs, who both played with multiple, forgettable Shortstops.

The comparables for Trammell, Cal Ripken (who eventually had to move to 3rd for Mike Bordick), Barry Larkin and Ozzie Smith all played with forgettable 2nd baseman (Larkin played with a guy named “Herr” for a few years, which caused me to say “Her?” for you Arrested Development fans).

So, from a statistical perspective, both should be in the Hall of Fame, but perhaps since neither is usually talked about with out the other, they do not receive the credit they deserve individually and are viewed upon as having needed the other to reach the level of play they attained by the BBWAA.

I wouldn’t think that playing side by side with another great player would hurt someone’s Hall of Fame chances, but after looking at the numbers for current Hall of Famers, Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker, there isn’t an obvious reason to explain away one of the greatest post career travesty’s in Detroit Sports (another being the lack of #91 hanging from the rafters in Joe Louis Arena).

[Originally published July 22,2013; Re-Posted January 18, 2017]

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