By: Jeff Riger
Detroit fans seem to be getting what they want this offseason. (This was written hours before Doug Fister was traded to the Nationals…just saying)
First, to the thrill of many, Jim Leyland announced his retirement and then the team traded Prince Fielder. And now the latest news has #1 and #3 back up the middle, even though it’s switched around.
Shortstop Jose Iglesias already was wearing number 1, Lou Whitaker’s old number, and now it has been announced that second baseman Ian Kinsler will wear number 3, Alan Trammell’s old digit. Of course Trammell played shortstop with the Tigers while Whitaker played second base. Together Tram and Lou combined for 39 seasons, 4,734 hits and 429 homers. They were also the most prolific double play combination in the history of the game.
So, forgive me if it miffs me just a little bit that Iglesias and Kinsler have decided to adopt Tram and Lou’s numbers.
Iglesias is the first Tiger to wear #1 since Whitaker while Kinsler is the second Detroiter to put on #3. Gary Sheffield wore it in his short time with the Tigers as well. Iglesias wore #10 in Boston and when he came here, Leyland had it, even though he offered to give it to the shortstop. Kinsler wore #5 in Texas which is retired here and not available.
As I sit here typing out this blog, I realize that it’s not Iglesias and Kinsler that I’m annoyed with. That would make no sense. How could I be mad at a couple of guys that probably don’t even remember Whitaker and Trammell playing? They just decided on numbers that they liked for some reason or another. Instead, my annoyance is shifted to the Tigers organization and everybody that gets a vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
I’m a firm believer that teams should only retire player’s numbers that have made the hall of fame. Retiring a number is the highest honor a team can bestow on a player and it should be reserved for only the best. The Wings do it right, they hang, only the greatest from the rafters while the Pistons seem to be much more lax on the issue. I understand the Tigers not retiring Tram and Lou’s digits, although, it might be nice to put those numbers out of service for a certain amount of seasons. Tram and Lou won the Tiger’s last World Series. How about don’t let anybody wear their numbers until Detroit gets another parade down Woodward?
Of course there is something that the Tigers could have already done, where I would have been totally fine with them distributing #1 and #3…Honor the 1984 World Championship Tigers!
How is it that we hear so much about the 1968 World Championship team and virtually nothing about the 1984 one? Why? Because in ’68, that title saved the city? That may be, but the team should have done something to honor their most recent World Champions as well.
How about a statue of Whitaker and Trammell turning a double play? There is plenty of room in left-centerfield for more and that should be the next one!
Besides printing the year 1984 on a flag and some small concourse display, you would never know that the Tigers won a World Series in 1984 if you happen to be attending a game at Comerica Park. It’s long overdue that the Tigers do something to honor that team. And, if they do or did, I would have no problem at all with Iglesias and Kinsler choosing #1 and #3.
I also mentioned the Hall of Fame, a place where Tram and Lou should currently have a bust in.
Whitaker and Trammell have comparable numbers to players that have already been voted into Cooperstown.
Why are Ryne Sandberg and Joe Morgan in the Hall but Whitaker isn’t?
Because Morgan won back to back MVP’s and was part of “The Big Red Machine”?
Because Sandberg played at Wrigley Field and was on cable television all the time?
Look at the numbers. Whitaker’s aren’t that different.
Why are Ozzie Smith and Barry Larkin in the Hall but Tram isn’t?
Because Ozzie did back flips and played in St. Louis? He also had a .262 lifetime batting average through 19 seasons and hit a whopping 28 homers. Those don’t seem like worthy numbers.
As for Larkin, he and Trammell have very similar numbers.
I also believe that playing in Detroit hurt Tram and Lou. If they turned double plays in New York, LA, St. Louis, Boston or Chicago, would they be in?
You know they would be!
So, yes, it miffs me to see Iglesias and Kinsler wear Tram and Lou’s numbers because #1 and #3 should have never been available to start with.
Am I wrong? What do you think?