A View from Studio 3: Trammell worthy of HOF
World Series MVP among trophies collected during 20-season career
Here's something to chew on this Thanksgiving. And it has nothing to do with turkey or $100 million free agents. It has to do with the Hall of Fame ballot that was released this week. A yearly event that, this holiday season, got lost a bit because of the monster deals the Red Sox handed out to Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez.
In the last few days, I've read numerous stories and tweets from members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America about their dilemma in voting for only 10 players eligible for enshrinement while there appears to be more than a dozen deserving players. Because the new candidates are overwhelmingly impressive, a few of the stars from decades gone by will likely suffer. Again. The "what have you done for me lately" factor is in full effect. This fact doesn't bode well for one player in particular who deserves enshrinement but is fading from the radar of today's voters.
As I've discussed many times in "A View from Studio 3," I'm a sucker for the good ol' days. The days when we tuned into the Game of the Week to see the game's greats. Make no mistake, Trammell was one of them. But the further we move from his remarkable career, the slimmer the chances for the former Tigers shortstop to get his due.
With only two years remaining on the Hall of Fame ballot, Trammell has yet to receive more than 36.8 percent of the vote. That was in 2012. Last year, support waned and Trammell got only 20.8 percent. In order to get the necessary 75 percent, he'll need a miracle more impressive than the '69 Mets. But Trammell should still be considered. I heard an argument from a voter that indicated he would not "waste" a vote on a player who will likely not get in.
Huh? How does that make sense? How is a vote "wasted" if it is for a deserving player? If enough voters follow that logic (or lack of logic) there is NO chance Trammell will reach Cooperstown.
Given the fact Trammell retired in 1996 and his peak years were in the '80s, many of today's voters never watched the six-time All-Star during his prime. So they'll rely completely on numbers.
Trammell was everything we want in a Hall of Famer, right? He spent his entire 20-year career with one team. He was a World Series champion. Trammell played his best in big moments, as evidenced by his 1984 World Series MVP Award. He played more than 2,100 games at shortstop and collected four Gold Gloves along the way. His defensive prowess was as good and as reliable as any shortstop in the league. Those who remember Trammell's playing days will recall the double-play combination he formed with Lou Whitaker. That marriage lasted longer than most on the field or in real life.
Trammell was a hard-working, blue-collar player who won three Silver Slugger Awards. That's impressive on its face but even more noteworthy when you consider he played in the same league and at the same time as Cal Ripken Jr.
Ripken is not the only Hall of Famer who compares with Trammell in certain areas. Barry Larkin, inducted in 2012 in his third year of eligibility, put together a career that is nearly identical with Trammell's in terms of major and minor statistics. It's uncanny how similar they were over two decades. If you voted for Larkin, how do you not vote for Trammell?
If you extend the comp to another player who starred in the 1980s, you have to consider the career of Ryne Sandberg. Though Sandberg (a 2005 Hall of Fame inductee) played second base, his offensive numbers were also eerily similar to those of Trammell. No need to go through them category by category, because you'll find they are ALL worthy of enshrinement.
The point is, while Hall of Fame voting is subjective and the voters "get it right" the vast majority of the time, they have missed the boat on Trammell -- but there's still a chance to jump on board.