By: Jeff Riger
Every time the Detroit Tigers celebrate their 1984 World Championship team, the memories come flooding back.
From the Dave Bergman 13-pitch at bat that ended in a walk-off homer against Toronto to Rupert Jones talking to his bat before hitting a roof shot at Tiger Stadium, the times in ’84 were the best and will always be remembered fondly.
If you take in a game at Comerica Park these days, however, you’d be hard-pressed to see any evidence of the “Bless You Boys” era.
Monday the team held a 30th-anniversary celebration of the last Tigers team to win it all, but what continues to be missing is any kind of permanent representation at Comerica Park. Sure, there are a couple of pictures scattered throughout the concourse, but other than that, there is nothing.
It’s actually quite embarrassing. How do you not do more to honor the last team to win a title?
I get that the ’68 team might have meant more to the city because of the ongoing riots at the time. However, it is possible to celebrate them both.
Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker should be Hall of Famers, and it seems like they will be one day. The Veterans Committee will eventually vote them in, and all the fans who have been calling for the two to be inducted into Cooperstown will finally be able to rest easy. However, since they’re not in yet, the team cannot retire their numbers. I am of firm belief that a team should not give their players the ultimate honor without them being in the Hall. Just because the team shouldn’t retire those numbers yet, however, does not mean the Tigers had to give away those numbers to Gary Sheffield, Ian Kinsler and Jose Iglesias. (And, yes, I’m aware that Willie Horton’s #23 is retired and he’s not a Hall of Famer.)
But the Tigers could still do something.
It just so happens that there is an open space in left center field for another magnificent statue. Al Kaline, Hal Newhouser, Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Ty Cobb and Horton all have statues. They all look great and represent a different era of Tigers baseball. Why not add a statue of Tram and Lou turning two? That would cover ’84.
It makes perfect sense – and not just to me. Dave Rozema, a pitcher on that ’84 team, agrees.
“Between Jack, (Morris) Tram and Lou, they’re not getting recognized for what they have done, for their services, for their time and what they meant to the team,” Rozema said. “They could start some things pretty soon. We’re not getting any younger!”
Of course Rozema is right. The guys that played on that championship team are all in their 50s. Doesn’t it make sense to do something so the players that accomplished so much can enjoy it while they are still relatively young?
Trammell also addressed the possibility of an outfield statue but would not speak too much to the need for it.
“I’ve never been one to promote myself,” Trammell said. “I think we were all confident to get to the point that we did and play as long as we did. We were confident in our ability. We know that. That’s for other people to decide.”
If Tram won’t come right out and say it, I will. Tram not only deserves a statue but would cherish it as well.
As for Whitaker, the other half of greatest double-play duo ever, he seemed to think the delay in a possible statue was simply because the Tigers are doing their best to get it right.
“Maybe they are still working on it,” Whitaker said. “They’re trying to be perfect, and it takes years to make perfection.”
Tram and Lou were double-play perfection. They were part of a perfect Tigers team. Lou is dead on; a statue to honor them and their team would be true perfection.
What’s taking so damn long?
Check out video of Tram, Lou and more to hear how some of the ’84 Tigers enjoyed their 30th-anniversary celebration.