LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Alan Trammell was in Detroit last weekend, co-hosting a baseball camp for kids inside the gym at Wayne State University, when the staff played a video showing Trammell's highlights from the 1984 World Series. They were meant to give campers a glimpse of what their instructor accomplished in his career, but they also served to jog Trammell's memory.
"I have not sat down and watched a full game of the World Series," Trammell said. "I have those tapes, but this is going to date myself: They're all VHS. But they were running those [at the camp], and I kept glancing up there, because there were things happenings that I'd almost forgotten. I caught myself looking up there quite a bit."
Now that two members of that squad, Alan Trammell and Jack Morris, are about to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, having been selected by the Modern Era Committee, generations of fans -- some of whom weren't alive for that magical run -- are about to learn a lot about that club and how dominant of a season it had.
Until now, the only member of that team in the Hall of Fame has been its manager, Sparky Anderson. The fact that no player had been inducted has been a sore spot for years for many Tigers fans. For them, Sunday was a validation, an acknowledgment that a team that went 35-5 to begin the season, won 104 games and led its division wire to wire had Hall of Fame players.
• Trammell, Morris enter Hall of Fame
It wasn't just a great season, but a great team. Morris and Trammell had better individual seasons in other years, including 1983, but never on more successful clubs.
"It certainly gives me a sense of pride," Morris said. "I know that Tiger fans have been loyal ever since that year. I think a lot of people in Michigan always wondered why a team that was so good and so dominant never had someone to represent them in the Hall of Fame. And so I'm proud that Alan made it and I made it together. I can't think of a better scenario than to go in with a former teammate that I love and respect so much.
"I know it's got to be a great day, a warm and fuzzy day for Tiger fans, because the tradition of Tiger baseball is finally recognized."
It won't just be a great day for fans of that team. For other members of that club, it's an honor long overdue.
"From the '84 perspective, yeah, it's nice to have a couple guys from that team represent us in the Hall of Fame," Lance Parrish said. "Maybe it'll give us a little more credibility, although I think the record speaks for itself."
Morris was an 18-game winner on that team, and a critical part of that team's historic start. Not only did he throw a no-hitter on April 7 of that year, he went 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA in six starts, four of them complete games. He was 10-1 with a 1.88 ERA at the end of May, and finished 19-11 with a 3.60 ERA that year. He won all three of his postseason starts, pitching two complete-game victories in the World Series.
Trammell tore through the season's opening month and owned a .407 batting average on May 1. He ended up batting .314 that year with 34 doubles, 14 home runs and 69 RBIs in 139 games. He was an All-Star selection and American League Gold Glove Award winner that year, but his saved his bigger contribution for that World Series, batting 9-for-20 with two homers and six RBIs in the five-game series against the Padres to earn series MVP.
"It is special to have two of those guys from that '84 team, and even in that era," said Tom Brookens, an infielder on that club. "We had a lot of good teams other than that '84 team, but that one sticks out because we won the championship. Those guys were mainstays and reasons why we were successful."
Though Brookens said they didn't need a Hall of Famer to validate the success itself, the fact that a championship club did not have one Hall of Famer was an historic oddity. Trammell and Morris exhausted their eligibility on the BBWAA ballot without receiving the 75-percent vote needed for induction. Others, like Kirk Gibson and Lou Whitaker, didn't even receive the five-percent vote required to stay on the ballot and were off after one year.
Whitaker was considered for the 10-person Modern Era ballot, but the longtime Tigers second baseman did not receive the necessary votes from the Historical Overview Committee to make it, dashing Trammell's hopes to be inducted with his double-play partner of 19 seasons.
"Jack and I are going in to represent our era. I think Lou, hopefully in some time, will," Trammell said. "That'll put a big smile on my face."
To many, any recognition for the Tigers of that era was long overdue. The fact that it came from a committee that included several Hall of Famers who played against that 1984 squad meant even more.
"Trust me, I've thought about that for a long time," Morris said. "I thought about that while I was still on the writers' ballot. And there is some real warmth there that those guys were on the field against me [voted], more so than young writers who never saw me."