Morris, Trammell grateful to enter HOF together

Former Tigers greats become first two with Detroit logo on plaque in Cooperstown since '92

July 30th, 2018

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Alan Trammell was sitting on the dais at Doubleday Field on Saturday, listening to Bob Costas give his Ford C. Frick Award acceptance speech. At one point, Costas made mention of the great radio broadcasters he listened to as a kid, including a fella named Ernie Harwell on WJR.
Just then, a roar went up in the crowd. At first, Trammell couldn't believe his ears, because it didn't really occur to him that so many Tigers fans would be in attendance.
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But when reflecting on the experience later that night, clarity arrived.
"I really shouldn't have been surprised," Trammell said. "Tigers fans have always been that way."
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Tigers fans drove and came out in droves to support Trammell and Jack Morris during their long-awaited inductions into the Hall of Fame on Sunday. It's not just that Trammell and Morris, who got in via the Modern Era committee ballot after spending 15 fruitless years on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot, finally got in. It's that for the first time since Hal Newhouser was enshrined in 1992, the Old English "D" was put on a plaque.
That it was put on two plaques -- for two members of the 1984 World Series-winning team, no less -- just made it all the more sweet.
"Today, all Tigers fans can celebrate," Trammell told the crowd of roughly 53,000 that attended the event at the Clark Sports Center. "As Ernie Harwell used to say, when the Tigers turned a double play, you get two for the price of one, with Jack and I going in together."

Morris and Trammell were joined at the hip for much of this experience and loving every minute of it. They both agreed that the long wait that had preceded their inductions made them all the more appreciative of the experience, and that going in together made the wait worth it.
"We were never going to be able to throw all the words out there that grasp the reality of it," Morris said after his speech. "But [Trammell] is like a brother to me. We've been around each other forever. We're friends. We get to share something that's so unique and so special that now we're going to live the rest of our lives with the same memory."

But of course, when it came time to step up to the podium and put their careers in perspective, Morris and Trammell were on their own.
Trammell batted first, and he made note of two great bits of trivia.
The first is that not only did the Tigers select both Trammell and Morris in the 1976 Draft, making them the first members of the same team's Draft class to reach Cooperstown. They also took a shortstop by the name of Ozzie Smith.
"Ozzie didn't sign, he went back to school," Trammell said. "My point is, the Tigers had one heck of a Draft that year."

The other trivia involved Lou Whitaker, Trammell's double-play partner of 19 years who many people -- including Tigers fans, of course -- believe ought to be inducted into Cooperstown, too.
"Lou and I were called up from the big leagues from Double-A on the same day," Trammell said. "We both played our first big league ballgame at Fenway Park on the same day. We both got hits in our first MLB at-bats, off the same pitcher, Reggie Cleveland. And we both got our last hits of our careers off the same pitcher, Mike Fetters. Can you believe that? Truly amazing.
"For all those years, it was Lou and Tram. Lou, it was an honor and a pleasure to play alongside you for all those years. It is my hope that someday, you'll be up here as well."

Trammell also had special words for another special member of that '84 squad: manager Sparky Anderson, who had been dismissed by the Reds in 1978 after his Big Red Machine run and the Tigers quickly pounced.
"Little did we know," Trammell said, "our lives were about to change. We thought we were good ballplayers, but we found out we didn't know squat. Sparky turned a team of young, talented players, into fundamentally sound baseball players."
When Morris' turn arrived, he also had loving words for Sparky, who passed away in 2010.
"He taught me so many things, especially to respect this great game," Morris said. "In 1980, I was struggling late in games, Sparky told me he had confidence in me but that I needed to finish games to help the bullpen. He taught me a valuable lesson by allowing me to fail and fight through adversity. Our conversation had a huge impact on my role in baseball."

No doubt. It was Morris' workhorse style, which led to 176 complete games, that ultimately got him into the Hall.
"Many say that baseball is known as a game of failure," Morris said. "I had plenty of challenges and failures, but it only made me work harder to find a path to success. It also didn't hurt to have a short memory."
Morris' most lasting memory in baseball came not with the Tigers but with the Twins, for whom he threw a 10-inning shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series against the Braves. But while that signature moment with his hometown team certainly stands out, his affiliation with the Detroit "D" after 14 seasons in the Motor City couldn't be more clear.
"I will always cherish the friendships I made there," Morris said. "My teammates, coaches and managers in my Detroit years taught me what winning was all about."

This day was a victory for the Tigers' franchise, with whom Trammell is still affiliated as a special assistant to general manager Al Avila. In the year 2018, those Tigers victories can be frustratingly few and far between. But in Morris and Trammell, two Draft dandies turned Hall of Famers, there is a lesson to be learned.
"For Tiger fans, who are going through a rebuilding year, there is hope," Trammell said. "We did it back then through the Draft and signings, and we'll do it again now."