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Alan Trammell

A card featuring Alan Trammell.

Alan Stuart Trammell (born February 21, 1958 in Garden Grove, California) is a retired American baseball shortstop of the Detroit Tigers from 1977 to 1996. Trammell, nicknamed "Tram", had a successful playing career with the Tigers, highlighted by a World Series championship in 1984 and an American League East division championship in 1987. One of the best defensive shortstops of the 1980s, Trammell had good range, soft hands and was smooth turning the double play. Although his arm was not overpowering, he had a quick release and made accurate throws. Trammell's solid, steady defense perfectly complemented the play of his double play partner, Lou Whitaker, with whom Trammell formed the most enduring keystone-combination in Major League Baseball history. He would later serve as the team's manager from 2003 through 2005. He currently is the bench coach for the Chicago Cubs.

Playing career[]

Early years[]

While playing for the Tigers' farm team in Montgomery of the Southern League, Alan Trammell played his first game with teammate Lou Whitaker before the two infielders were promoted, making their major league debut at Fenway Park together, during the second game of a double-header on September 9, 1977, the first of nineteen seasons together.

After growing and maturing during his first four major league seasons, Trammell batted .300 in 1980 as he made the All-Star team for first time. 1983 was another step forward for Trammell, as he batted .319 with 14 home runs, 66 runs batted in and 30 stolen bases. He won the MLB Comeback Player of the Year Award in the American League.

Trammell and Whitaker also made a cameo appearance on the television show Magnum, P.I. starring Tom Selleck during the 1983 season. (Magnum PI Season 4 Episode: A Sense of Debt. At minute 27 of the 48 minute episode.) [1]Selleck, a Motor City native, made a point of representing his character on the show as a diehard Tiger fan.

  1. (Magnum PI Season 4 Episode: A Sense of Debt. At minute 27 of the 48 minute episode.)

Magnum PI Season 4 Episode: A Sense of Debt. At minute 27 of the 48 minute episode.

The '84 season[]

Trammell, along with his Tiger teammates, enjoyed a dream season in 1984. Despite a season-long battle with tendinitis in his shoulder, which caused him to miss 23 regular season games, he finished fifth in AL batting race with .314 and ranked eighth in on base percentage. In the 1984 American League Championship Series against the Kansas City Royals, Trammell hit .364 with one home run and three RBI. Finally, in the World Series, he was 9-for-20 against the San Diego Padres, including pair of two-run home runs that accounted for all of Tigers' runs in a Game 4 Detroit victory. Detroit won the series 4-1 and Trammell was named World Series MVP.

Glory Years 1985 to 1988[]

In 1985, after two consecutive years not lower than .314, Trammell was hampered by injuries, and posted only a .258 batting average. He underwent postseason surgery on left knee and right shoulder. The following season, he returned with new energy. He became only second player in Detroit history to hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases in a season, Kirk Gibson being the other. Recently joining that club is fan favorite Curtis Granderson. Trammell also set a career-high with 75 RBI.

In 1987, asked by manager Sparky Anderson to bat cleanup, Trammell responded with the best season of his career. In September, he batted .416 with six homers and 17 RBI, putting together an 18-game hitting streak in which he hit a .457, helping his team to win the AL East division by two games on the last day of the season. He became the first Tiger to collect 200 hits and 100 RBI in the same season since Al Kaline did it in 1955. Recently, joined by Magglio Ordonez in 2007. Beside this, he appeared amongst the league leaders in most AL offensive categories: third in batting average (.343), tenth in RBI (105), third in hits (205), tied for fifth in runs (109), fourth in total bases (329), fifth in on base percentage (.402), eighth in slugging average (.551), and tied for fifth in game-winning RBI (16). Despite his efforts, Trammell finished second to Toronto's George Bell in the MVP voting (332-311), which is considered by many one of the most controversial decisions in award history. After the season finale, Whitaker gave him second base, with the inscription: "To Alan Trammell, 1987 AL MVP. From, Lou Whitaker."

Later years, injuries and retirement[]

The following years, Trammell suffered a long string of injuries that slowed his production both at bat and on the field. In 1991, he was limited to 107 games because of knee and ankle injuries. It was even worse in 1992. He got into only 29 games before breaking his right ankle, losing the rest of the season. His days as a regular shortstop for Detroit were close to being over. After two sub-par seasons, he retired in 1996.

In his twenty year career, Trammell batted over .300 seven times ending up with a career average of .285 and he hit 185 home runs with 1003 RBI, 1231 runs, 2365 hits, 412 doubles, 55 triples, and 236 stolen bases in 2293 games. After finishing his playing career, Trammell served as a hitting coach for Detroit (1999), the first base coach for the San Diego Padres (2000-02), and the manager for the Detroit Tigers (2003-05).

Hall of Fame eligibility[]

In 2001, Trammell was rated as the 9th best shortstop of all time in "The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract," rating him higher than fourteen Hall of Fame shortstops. Of the fourteen Hall of Fame shortstops rated lower than Trammell, twelve of them played either all of some of their career in the two big markets of New York and Chicago: Pee Wee Reese (played in New York), Luke Appling (played in Chicago), Luis Aparicio (played in Chicago), George Davis (played in New York and Chicago), Phil Rizzuto (played in New York), Hughie Jennings (played in New York), Joe Sewell (played in New York), Dave Bancroft (played in New York), Joe Tinker (played in Chicago), John Montgomery Ward (played in New York), Rabbit Maranville (played in New York and Chicago), and Travis Jackson (played in New York).

Despite compiling career statistics that compare favorably with, or exceed, fourteen Hall of Fame shortstops, Trammell played his entire career in a middle-market city and has not been enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame as of 2007. In his first six years of eligibility, he has received the following % of votes: 2002 - 15.68%, 2003 - 14.11%, 2004 - 13.83%, 2005 - 16.9%, 2006 - 17.7% and 2007 - 13.4%. In 2008, Trammell received his highest percentage of votes so far - 18.2%.

Trammell's name will appear on the ballot again in 2009.

Managerial career[]

Alan Trammell was named the manager of a long-struggling Tigers team on October 9, 2002. The team lost an AL-record 119 games in his first season in 2003, before improving to 72-90 in 2004, the biggest turnaround in the AL since Baltimore's 33-game improvement from 1988 to 1989. In the 2005 season, however, the team regressed slightly, posting a record of 71-91. The Tigers compiled a record of 186-300 in three seasons under Trammell.

During the abysmal 2003 season, Detroit, fielding a woefully undermanned squad, nearly matched the MLB record of 120 losses, set by the expansion New York Mets (40-120) in 1962. The Tigers won five of their last six games to avoid the dubious distinction.

On October 3, 2005, the Detroit Tigers released Trammell after three seasons in which the organization failed to post a winning record. Trammell was replaced by Jim Leyland on October 4, 2005. Leyland led Detroit to a 24-game improvement in the regular season, an AL pennant and a World Series appearance in 2006. While some critics believe that Trammell's stint as Tiger's manager tainted his baseball legacy, others contend that he was a rookie manager put in charge of a team that was severely lacking in talent, and believe his managerial stint played an integral role in re-instilling professionalism and pride throughout the Detroit organization. Many, including Leyland, attribute a degree of the success that the Tigers saw in the 2006 postseason to Trammell's efforts in the three years prior.

In October, 2006, Trammell returned to Comerica Park for the first time since his firing to participate, along with Sparky Anderson, in pregame festivities prior to Game 2 of the World Series. Trammell was showered with a lengthy standing ovation from Detroit baseball fans upon taking the field.

After being replaced by Leyland, Trammell turned down an offer to stay with the Tigers as a special assistant, instead opting to sit out 2006. In October 2006, he agreed to join the Chicago Cubs as a bench coach for the 2007 season, a possible precursor to an eventual return to managing a major league club.

During the four-game suspension of Lou Piniella stemming from a tirade on June 2nd, 2007, Trammell was acting manager of the Chicago Cubs.

Career highlights[]

  • 6-time All-Star (1980, 1984-85, 1987-88, 1990)
  • 4-time Gold Glove (1980-81, 1983-84)
  • 3-time Top 10 MVP (1984, 1987-88)
  • 5-time Top 10 in batting average (1983-84, 1987-88, 1990)
  • Collected both 200th hit of season and 1,500th career in same at bat (October 1, 1987)
  • Had a 21 game hit streak during the 1987 season.
  • Had a 20 game hit streak during the 1984 season.
  • Comeback Player of the Year (1983)
  • Sporting News AL Silver Slugger Team (1987-88, 1990)
  • Along with teammate Lou Whitaker holds AL record playing together (1,918 games). They also set the major league record by turning more double plays than any other shortstop-second baseman combination in the long history of professional baseball.
  • The Trammell-Whitaker duo twice won Gold Gloves together, joining a select list of eight shortstop-second baseman duos have won the honor in the same season while playing together (1983-84).

See also[]

External links[]

Preceded by:
Andre Thornton
AL Comeback Player of the Year
Succeeded by:
Dave Kingman
Preceded by:
Rick Dempsey
World Series MVP
Succeeded by:
Bret Saberhagen
Preceded by:
Detroit Tigers Hitting Coach
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Davey Lopes
San Diego Padres First Base Coach
Succeeded by:
Davey Lopes
Preceded by:
Luis Pujols
Detroit Tigers Manager
Succeeded by:
Jim Leyland
Preceded by:
Dick Pole
Chicago Cubs Bench Coach
Succeeded by:
current coach

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