Sweet Lou Whitaker strikes a surprisingly bitter note regarding Jack Morris’ HOF chances


Yesterday, we touched on the Hall-of-Fame plight of three members of the 1984 Detroit Tigers, specifically Jack Morris and Alan Trammell. We discussed Tram and Morris a bit more because another legitimate candidate, Lou Whitaker, is not even eligible on the current ballot.

It seems the slight of the baseball writers is causing former teammates to turn on one another, specifically Whitaker on Morris.

Speaking on Sirius-XM’s MLB Network Radio on Friday, Whitaker has this to say to host Jim Bowden:

Jack Morris was no better than Alan Trammell-Lou Whitaker. If we didn’t make the plays, and we didn’t come up with the big hits, Jack Morris wouldn’t be where he was, or where he is.

Whitaker softened a bit, acknowledging that Jack was “a stud” and “probably” is a Hall-of-Famer, but chuckled when Bowden asked if the pitcher should be inducted before his former double-play partner, Trammell.

If Jack deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, Alan Trammell deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

It could be understood why Sweet Lou is a bit bitter, having inexplicably received just 2.9 percent of the votes on his first and only ballot in 2001. Rules dictate that a player be dropped from the ballot when failing to receive five percent of the vote. Whitaker ranks up there with many Hall-of-Famer second basemen, including Joe Morgan

The surprising thing is that instead of venting his anger at sportswriters for failing to elect a single member of the 1984 World Championship Tigers, Whitaker is turning on one of his own. Though many expect Morris to fall short on his final ballot, to be announced this coming Wednesday, most believe he stands a better chance at getting in than Trammell, who garnered a little over 50 percent of the vote last year.

Morris will not be eligible after this year and Trammell will fall off after next year. All three players will be eligible for induction via the Veteran’s Committee beginning in 2016.

Tags: Alan Trammell Detroit Tigers Jack Morris Lou Whitaker

  • chrisHannum

    Well? He wasn’t better than Whitaker and Trammell. To “back Lou up” statistically – people seem to look back on Morris as though he was a copy of Nolan Ryan, but he mainly ate a lot of innings, played for teams with good offenses and rode a low BABIP to decent but not spectacularly low ERAs. Lou and Tram should be able to take some credit for Morris’ win total and his BABIP, without which he wouldn’t even be considered for the hall (unless you’re of the opinion that Chuck Finley is HoF worthy). For that matter, Kevin Appier has more career WAR and a lower career ERA than Morris. As Sweet Lou says, if you would even consider voting for Jack Morris then you should definitely, definitely vote for Lou and Tram (and you should probably vote for Kevin Appier, David Cone, Javier Vazquez and Chuck Finley among others).

  • Lee Panas

    I don’t think Whitaker is bitter about falling off the ballot in the first year of eligibility. He never cared about that stuff. I’ve heard that Morris has criticized Whitaker on Twins broadcasts for not trying his hardest, so Lou might have been giving it back to him. Whitaker was awkward in the interview (as he always is), but I liked his frankness and didn’t appreciate MLB radio cutting him off just because he didn’t give a canned response. Not only that, but what he said was true.

    • louwhitaker

      Exactly, Lee. What he said was true, and not even particularly debatable. I never understood all the stuff about how Lou had all this “natural talent” and never applied himself. Trammel hit .300 far earlier in his career than Whitaker. Whitaker went from a complete slap hitter to a genuine power threat, certainly the finest power hitter ever to play second in a Detroit uniform. Everybody talks about how Brookens worked so hard to make up for his lack of talent. Tommy never got any better than when he first came up, never surpassed the slugging percentage he achieved in his first full year, while Whitaker taught himself to pull the ball with authority and gradually became a 20+ home run guy. While I certainly understand that his personality worked against him, I always had to wonder if some of the unfair knocks that Whitaker endured had a racial basis.

  • Matt Pelc

    All three deserve to be in the Hall and probably in the order of Tram-Lou-Morris. But for feasibility purposes, Morris has the best shot, which is why a lot of Tiger fans push for him the most and Whitaker has no shot until the veteran’s committee of 2016. It would be nice, however, if all three (particularly Tram-Whitaker) would be elected on the first chance by the Veteran’s Committee. It will show how flawed the current system of voting is.

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