Born in Brooklyn, Lou Whitaker became a Detroit legend after a spectacular 19 year career, all spent in the Motor City.
Paired with Alan Trammell, Whitaker was a part of the greatest and longest tenured double-play combo in baseball history. The duo played in 1,918 games up the middle together, by far the most ever.
The statistics speak for themselves:
The left-handed hitter compiled 2,369 hits, smacked 244 home runs, stole 143 bases, hit .276, and walked more times than he struck out. He made five All-Star games, won three Gold Glove awards, four Silver Slugger awards, was the 1978 Rookie of the Year and compiled a ridiculously high 74.9 WAR.
What do those six players have in common? A pretty plaque in Cooperstown with their name on it.
More importantly than the six names in front of Whitaker are the 15(!) Hall of Fame second baseman behind him.
Pick any metric and Whitaker measures up to his HOF counterparts. His JAWS score of 56.4 is 13th among second baseman. That ranks in front of Hall of Famers Roberto Alomar, Jackie Robinson, Joe Gordon, Bobby Doerr and Nellie Fox, among others.
Regardless of Whitaker’s Hall of Fame chances, there is no doubt that he is the greatest African-American ballplayer in Tigers history.
The Tigers have a rich baseball history. African-American ballplayers like Granderson, Horton and Whitaker are a huge part of that success. Guys like Stewart will help that trend continue for the foreseeable future.