LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Alan Trammell boarded his flight from San Diego to Orlando, Fla., for baseball's Winter Meetings on Sunday as a passenger in coach. His arrival was first class.As Trammell waited to deplane, he received the call from the National Baseball Hall of Fame that he and
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Alan Trammell boarded his flight from San Diego to Orlando, Fla., for baseball's Winter Meetings on Sunday as a passenger in coach. His arrival was first class.
As Trammell waited to deplane, he received the call from the National Baseball Hall of Fame that he and longtime teammate Jack Morris had been inducted by the Modern Era Committee. When he arrived at Disney's Swan and Dolphin Hotel and Resort, ready to go to work as Tigers special assistant, he received an ovation from the Tigers' contingent.
"All of us in the Tigers baseball operations department congratulate Alan Trammell and Jack Morris on the result of today's election," general manager Al Avila said in a statement. "I can't think of any two players more deserving of this honor than Tram and Jack. These two Tigers greats played an integral role on the 1984 World Series championship team. We're extremely proud to have both of these great baseball men still representing the Olde English 'D'."
Avila and the Tigers' front office weren't the only ones applauding.
"I'll tell you what, it's amazing," former Tiger Tom Brookens said. "Honestly, I'm a little bit shocked that they both got in together like that, but I couldn't be happier for two guys that are so deserving of it. I'm so happy for them. I thought Jack should've been in before, and certainly Tram. He's one of my best friends."
From former teammates to current colleagues to Tigers ownership, the long-awaited induction for Morris and Trammell was an organizational honor, a joy for virtually everyone associated with the Tigers. They'll be the first players inducted wearing the Olde English "D" since Hal Newhouser was inducted by the Veterans Committee in 1992.
"On behalf of the entire Detroit Tigers organization, it's an honor to congratulate Alan Trammell and Jack Morris on their election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame," Ilitch Holdings President and CEO Chris Ilitch said in a statement. "This announcement is truly a proud moment for all of us, and for the legions of Tigers fans who watched these all-time greats excel during their years wearing the Olde English 'D'. Their achievements on the field, and character off, exemplify what's best about the sport of baseball -- and I'm thrilled the Modern Era Committee saw fit to enshrine Tram and Jack in Cooperstown.
"All of us with the Tigers are looking forward to August, when we will be honoring these legends by retiring their numbers at Comerica Park."
No Tiger has worn Morris' No. 47 since Morris' final season in Detroit in 1990. Current Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler has worn Trammell's No. 3 since he arrived in Detroit in 2014. No decision has been made by the Tigers or Kinsler about how they'll handle his number before it's retired, though that decision could be rendered moot if Kinsler is traded this offseason.
From Al Kaline to Kirk Gibson to Michael Fulmer, the reaction to the inductions spanned generations of Tigers. Some, like Gibson, Brookens and Lance Parrish, knew Trammell as a teammate.
Parrish has been a friend of Trammell and Morris since their years as teammates, and has argued the case for Trammell and Morris since their years on the BBWAA ballot. To see their merits finally recognized was rewarding for him.
"I'm going to have to get used to both of them being Hall of Famers now. I don't know if I'm going to have to bow to them or not," Parrish joked. "It's just a special time in their life being recognized with the ultimate honor. I think all of us who played any length with Jack or Tram are very proud to see them get the reward they so richly deserve."
Others, like Fulmer and catcher James McCann, know him as a teacher, working with the organization as an instructor from Detroit to the lower levels of the Minor Leagues.
Kaline is Mr. Tiger, having played his entire 22-year Major League career with Detroit before being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980. He retired as a player three years before Morris and Trammell made their Major League debuts in 1977, but watched them as a broadcaster in the 1980s. He has shared a spot in the front office with Trammell the past few years, and was quietly optimistic both would get in.
"I congratulate Alan Trammell and Jack Morris on their election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame," Kaline said. "Playing for the Tigers was truly a privilege, and to go into the Hall of Fame as a Tiger is a milestone that I am thrilled to now share with both of them. I am honored that they will join those who wear the Olde English 'D' in Cooperstown."
Likewise, fellow former Tigers great and special assistant Willie Horton noted their recognition. He's the last Tigers player to have his number retired.
"Having been a part of the Tigers and this city for many years," Horton said, "I have been able to witness the impact that Tram and Jack have had not only on the game of baseball, but in the city of Detroit. It is a celebrated addition to our rich history to have them properly recognized for their contributions."
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.