As the fury of articles explaining why writers voted for who for the Hall of Fame is released today, Detroit Tigers fans wait patiently for 2023 as that is when the Modern Era Committee will meet and decide who was missed to give them their opportunity to enter the hallowed halls in Cooperstown.
The last time the committee got together, they voted in Marvin Miller and Ted Simmons which I had no problem with as Miller’s work as the executive director of the MLBPA made them one of the strongest collective bargaining forces in the United States and the Detroit native Simmons was one of the productive catchers during what is considered the “Modern Baseball” era of baseball (1970-1987).
Lou Whitaker received just six votes, which is well shy of the 12 votes for election in 2019. The five-time All-Star and winner of four Gold Gloves, not to mention having two of his best bWAR seasons after the age of 30 (6.8 at the age of 34 in 1991, 4.7 at the age of 35 in 1992) was a model of consistency for Detroit.
Since Lou Whitaker retired at the end of the season in 1995, Detroit has had a difficult time drafting or finding a player via the international signing route to replace him on a regular. How difficult has it been? Check out the second baseman on Opening Day since he’s retired. (Note: Scott Fletcher started Opening Day 1995 due to Whitaker on the DL)
1996: Mark Lewis
2004: Fernando Vina
2005: Omar Infante
2013: Omar Infante
2014-2017: Ian Kinsler
2018: Dixon Machado
2019: Josh Harrison
2020: Jonathan Schoop
(The ones in bold are players the Tigers drafted or international signings)
The stat has been thrown out there a lot and rightfully so. 75.1. That is his career WAR, which ranks him seventh of all-time among second baseman.
Detroit Tigers fans will have another year of the rebuild to look forward or complain about in 2021, depending on what type of fan you are. however, we can all take comfort that among all the Hall of Fame articles you see today, I hope this smaller reminder that Lou Whitaker should be in Cooperstown brings a smile to your face.