Most of the time, when a former major league player gets elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame, it is as a result of his reputation as being “flashy” as well as putting up impressive numbers during a long and successful career. Then, there are players who get in because of steady, consistent performances. Two these kinds of players who were just recently elected into the Hall of Fame, were exactly that: steady, consistent players.
Starting pitcher Jack Morris and shortstop Alan Trammell, who both played the majority of their careers with the Detroit Tigers, were selected by a committee that focuses on players who played in the majors since 1970. Both players displayed remarkable endurance: Morris pitched for 18 years…13 of them with the Tigers…while Trammell lasted 20 years…all with Detroit. Both players posted some very impressive career statistics.
Morris won 254 games in his career. That was not even in the top 40 list of most career wins; however, he won more games than Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Whitey Ford, and Luis Tiant. He recorded 20 or more wins three times and had 19 victories in 1984. Morris may not have displayed flashiness, like a Marichal or a Tiant, but he accomplished something far better: he won four World Series rings! Several notable superstars…Barry Bonds, Rod Carew, Ken Griffey, Jr., Tony Gwynn, Ty Cobb and Ted Williams…never won a single World Series ring!
Morris was consistent when it counted: in the post-season. He made 13 post-season starts and won seven games. In the World Series alone, he was 4-2 with a 2.96 ERA. To say that he was a “money” pitcher would be an understatement.
In this day and age of free agency and higher-than-normal trade activity, not many players get to be on the same field for more than three or four seasons. That makes the following stat so very incredible: Alan Trammell and his second-base teammate, Lou Whitaker, played together with Detroit for a staggering 1,918 games! Of the 2,188 games Trammell played, 2,134 of them were as a shortstop.
Again, like his teammate Jack Morris, Trammell was not flashy…not like an Ozzie Smith, or a Phil Rizzuto. Trammell was, however, consistent: a six-time All Star, winner of four Gold Gloves plus three Silver Slugger Awards…although, he would not have been considered a “slugger”, per se. Trammell hit only 185 career homers but did drive in over 1,000 runs. A lifetime .285 hitter, Trammell did hit .300 or better seven times and collected 2,365 hits. He was also durable: Trammell played in 139 or more games six consecutive years and had over 9,000 plate appearances.
Trammell and Morris played together on the Tigers’ 1984 World Series Championship team…the last time Detroit won a World Series title. Managed by the legendary Sparky Anderson, Detroit started that season 35-5 and cruised to 104 wins and won the division by 15 games. Then, in the post-season, the Tigers disposed of the Kansas City Royals in three straight and eliminated the San Diego Padres in five games.
In that championship year, Trammell hit .364 in the LCS and .450 in the World Series. Morris won one game versus the Royals and then went 2-0 in the World Series with a 2.00 ERA.
Flashy? No. Consistent? Yes. That is why Alan Trammell and Jack Morris will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018. They were the epitome of what makes a solid player…they showed up every day or every start.