DETROIT -- Alan Trammell has been the stoic one of the Tigers' two Hall of Fame inductees throughout the whirlwind tour, always smiling, sometimes wistful, but never cracking a tear. As he saw his No. 3 unveiled on the brick wall beyond left-center field at Comerica Park on Sunday, though,
DETROIT -- Alan Trammell has been the stoic one of the Tigers' two Hall of Fame inductees throughout the whirlwind tour, always smiling, sometimes wistful, but never cracking a tear. As he saw his No. 3 unveiled on the brick wall beyond left-center field at Comerica Park on Sunday, though, he had to hold his emotions as he shook his head in amazement.
"It's just overwhelming," Trammell said later. "It looks cool to be up there with Jack [Morris]. The '84 era, you don't know how many times I've been asked that. It was out of my control. Now that it's happened, it's very gratifying. It's gratifying for me personally, but it's as much for the fans."
While Sunday's ceremony retiring his number was officially a tribute to his playing career, coming four weeks after his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, it was also a celebration of a life in baseball. His double-play partner Lou Whitaker was on hand, along with fellow teammates Morris, Kirk Gibson, Dan Petry, Tom Brookens, David Wells and Scott Lusader. But so were Brandon Inge and Craig Monroe, former Tigers who played and grew up under Trammell during his Tigers managerial tenure.
"You're a true student of the game," Gibson said during his speech, "and a baseball lifer."
Current Tigers players lined the home dugout, many of whom know Trammell from his work in Spring Training as a Tigers special assistant.
Shortstop Jose Iglesias stopped his pregame preparations to get a photo with Trammell and Whitaker, then gave his glove to Whitaker to catch the ceremonial first pitch.
"We were just two young kids having fun, playing the game they loved for 19 years," Whitaker said, "Being compared to the best who played the game. And as Tram said, we did it right."
White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia, who came up in the Tigers' system, was watching from the visiting dugout for virtually the entire pregame ceremony.
This is what Trammell means to baseball. What he teaches young players today, from Tigers prospects to teenagers at area camps, are the same philosophies that got him to Cooperstown.
"Tram, his numbers speak for themselves, his career speaks for itself," catcher James McCann said. "What you can't read from the numbers are what kind of person someone is. And Tram is one of the best.
"He's always around. He's always upbeat. He's always wanting to help out, always wanting to do whatever he can. And he's just a great, great guy to have around. I feel blessed to have been able to get to know him the last few years, just being able to learn from him and hear him tell stories from when he played. Just the quality of human being that he really is, numbers don't show that."
"It gave me chills to watch. It couldn't happen to a better guy." said Michael Mahtook
While Trammell's speech in Cooperstown was the pinnacle of his summer tour, Sunday's ceremony was special for him, he said, because of the audience. Generations of Tigers fans took their seats on a hot summer afternoon to watch what many have been waiting nearly two decades to see: Trammell's number retired, on the wall with Al Kaline, Hank Greenberg, Charlie Gehringer, Hal Newhouser, Willie Horton -- and, of course, Morris, whose retirement ceremony was two weeks ago.
"What really hit home for me was how Tiger fans appreciated hard work, hustle and effort -- simple things that go a long way," Trammell said during his speech. "That's how my parents raised me and that's how I was taught to play this great game of baseball."
That's what he practiced as a player, and what he has been passing down ever since, unselfishly. Sunday was a day for him.
"My hope is that when fans come to Comerica Park and look up and see No. 3, the story that will be told will be of someone who played the game the right way was consistent and accountable," Trammell said. "It was my pleasure to have worn the Old English D my entire playing career."
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.