Detroit Tigers: The time to honor Alan Trammell is now

Apr 8, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Fans watch from center field walkway during the game between the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Fans watch from center field walkway during the game between the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Sunday night, Detroit Tigers Alan Trammell got another metaphorical slap in the face.

The Detroit Tigers ace shortstop and the rest of the world watched Derek Jeter have his number retired. Even if Trammell didn’t watch it, it’s safe to say that he knew about the Yankees retiring their last remaining single-digit number.

Jeter’s ceremony is just another reminder that Alan Trammell has not been given the respect he deserves. Still.

While each Hall of Fame snub hurt, Jeter’s ceremony had a slightly different type of sting. It came from the fact that Trammell and Jeter have numbers that are very close. It also raises a few questions about baseball and celebrity status. Had Jeter played his career in Detroit, would he have had the same attention? If Trammell was featured on tabloid covers with the hottest babes of the day, would he have had a ceremony? There are just so many things that are wrong about Trammell not getting the attention he deserves from the press that is supposed to know baseball.

Since WAR seems to be the determining factor for comparisons today, let’s look at the two men’s stats. Jeter finished his career with a WAR of 71.8 and Trammell had a WAR of 70.4. Since both men played for 20 years with the same squad, those WAR numbers are very easy to compare and mathematically, there isn’t much difference in them.

In fact, when looking at the Detroit Tigers players in the last 100 years, Alan Trammell has the sixth-highest WAR according to FanGraphs. The only players above him are (in order) Al Kaline, Charlie Gehringer, Lou Whitaker, Ty Cobb, and Harry Heilmann. Of course, the only other Tiger who is not on any walls at Comerica Park is Whitaker (this is also a big problem).

Also, according to FanGraphs and the top New York Yankees, in the last 100 years, Derek Jeter finished fifth overall in WAR. He is topped only by Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, and Joe DiMaggio. The biggest difference between the Tigers and the Yankees is that the top three Yankees have WAR numbers with three digits, while the Tigers all have double-digit numbers.

The Trammell snub hurts even more when looking at JAWS. This stat is not as well known as WAR, but it is comprised of the seven best years that a player has and was developed to compare Hall of Famers. So, looking at JAWS, Trammell actually finishes in the 11th spot and Jeter in the 12th. This is the absolute killer: When looking at JAWS, of the 20 best shortstops, all but five are in the Hall. They include Alex Rodriguez (2nd), Bill Dahlen (10th), Alan Trammell (11th), Derek Jeter (12th), and Jack Glasscock (19th). Rodriguez and Jeter are not yet eligible to even appear on the ballot. Dahlen debuted in 1891. Glasscock’s last year playing was in 1895. A-Rod is a completely different story due to his troubled history with PEDs.

How can Trammell not be in the Hall of Fame?

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While I’m not much of a gambler, I’m going out on a limb to say that Jeter will get enshrined his first time on the ballot. He’s a beloved player who was clutch in all the right moments. He was the MVP of the 2000 World Series and he did have a role in five New York Yankees’ rings. However, he was not the only player on the team. At the time, George Steinbrenner was the owner and he put together a who’s who of top players. Jeter played with men like Roger Clemens and Jose Canseco, Bernie Williams and Mariano Rivera.

Jeter wasn’t the only shortstop to be named MVP of a World Series. Alan Trammell earned the same honor in 1984. The only difference is that Trammell only earned one World Series ring. In 1984, the Tigers were owned by Tom Monahan, who was not as generous an owner as Steinbrenner. While Trammell was surrounded by gritty, hard-working players, not one has yet been put in the Hall of Fame. But, several of the men that played alongside Jeter will be – in fact, some already are. This makes Trammell’s statistics even more outstanding.

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As fans of the Detroit Tigers, it is time we stand up for Alan Trammell. He deserves to have his number retired on the wall in left-center field. He may not be in the Hall of Fame (and probably never will, due to some ridiculous reason), but he should be honored by his Detroit family. It is an absolute travesty that he has not received the recognition that he truly deserves.