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Trammell, Morris relish being teammates again

Hall of Famers spent 14 years together with Tigers
MLB.com @beckjason

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Alan Trammell and Jack Morris were Tigers Draft picks in the same year, a few rounds apart in 1976. They both arrived in the big leagues a year later and spent the next 14 seasons as teammates in Detroit.

On Monday, they were wearing the same jersey once more. This time, it was the red and white jerseys the Hall of Fame gives to inductees to put on during their introductory press conference. And as they put their arms through the sleeves, fitting them over the attire they wore to the Winter Meetings, the gravity of Sunday's news was sinking in.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Alan Trammell and Jack Morris were Tigers Draft picks in the same year, a few rounds apart in 1976. They both arrived in the big leagues a year later and spent the next 14 seasons as teammates in Detroit.

On Monday, they were wearing the same jersey once more. This time, it was the red and white jerseys the Hall of Fame gives to inductees to put on during their introductory press conference. And as they put their arms through the sleeves, fitting them over the attire they wore to the Winter Meetings, the gravity of Sunday's news was sinking in.

• Morris, Trammell elected to Hall of Fame

"How's it look, buddy?" Trammell asked, turning to Morris.

"Makes you look good," Morris answered.

It was a good fit -- not just the jerseys, but the historic significance of Morris and Trammell entering Cooperstown together. The pair was part of the Tigers' last World Series championship team, in 1984, the same year that two teammates went into the Hall of Fame wearing the same cap on their plaque. Baseball writers voted in Don Drysdale that year, his 10th on the ballot. That same year, the Veterans Committee voted in Drysdale's Dodgers teammate, Pee Wee Reese.

Video: Trammell, Morris' numbers to be retired by Tigers

Though Braves rotation mates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine went into the Hall of Fame together in 2014, only Glavine went in as a Brave. Maddux, whose career began with the Cubs, went in with a blank cap on his plaque.

• Castrovince: Sweet result for Tigers' teammates

As Trammell and Morris spoke together with reporters, they played off each other like they were still teammates. While Morris was emotional, at times fighting back tears as he spoke about the long wait to get in, Trammell couldn't stop smiling.

"I've prided myself for years of being prepared, and that was kind of my style of how I played, but I find myself with my mind drifting constantly," Trammell said of his mentality since Sunday. "I'm trying to stay on task, and I'm having a very difficult time doing it. I'm going to be honest. I feel a little bit out of place.

"The Hall of Fame, that's got a great ring to it. But when I hear 'Alan Trammell, Hall of Fame,' it hasn't resonated yet, and I'm just speaking from the heart."

Video: Morris, Trammell on election to Hall of Fame

Those emotions might be more similar as they sit down and prepare their speeches, the magnitude finally sets in for Trammell, and the task at hand becomes more imperative for Morris. But for this day, their personalities on the dais at Disney's Swan and Dolphin Hotel and Resort reflected a little bit of their personalities as teammates -- Morris the fiery competitor, Trammell the kid at heart.

"After failing on the writers ballot, reality sinks in. For me, it was a wonderful learning time because I had to remind myself of how much I am grateful for without the Hall of Fame," Morris said. "And then you get this wonderful news from your peers, and it happens, and Tram and I are both having a tough time grasping that right now. But it's more for the people that were in my corner than me, myself, right now. I think, had I made it on the first ballot, I wouldn't have that same feeling. So I'm grateful for the time, because it has taught me a lot."

One of the people who had been in both of their corners is no longer with them, though he's also in the Hall. Until now, Sparky Anderson was the only member of the 1984 Tigers enshrined in Cooperstown, in his case as a manager. Both Trammell and Morris were thinking of Anderson and his teachings as they thought about their careers that led them down this path.

"As young athletes, we thought we were good, and we thought we knew what we were doing," Trammell said. "And little did we know, we didn't know squat. We really didn't. And he was the man that got us over the hump."

Video: Morris, Trammell on Anderson's influence

They had different relationships with Anderson, as Morris acknowledged, but he got the most out of them.

"Sparky made me a ballplayer, whether I liked it or not," Morris said. "We were unhealthily too close. He wasn't my manager. He was my older brother, my dad, and I love both of them. … I loved Sparky, but I wanted to hug him and kick him in the butt at the same time almost every day.

"What I can tell you is he brought out the best in both of us, and not only us, but our teams. There's a crazy, insane way he did it. It defies all logic. It doesn't fall into any analytic. But he knew what he was doing, and I love the man, will forever. Wish he was here to celebrate with us."

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.

 

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