In 1978 Ralph Houk announce it was going to be his last year with the Tigers before the start of the season. There was a young 2nd baseman age 21 and young shortstop age 20 in the Tiger chain with lots of potential. Ralph Houk said these guys were the future of the organization and needed to get major league experience. This was in his last year with the team. You have to give Houk a lot of credit.
Of course, most of you know Lou Whitaker was the second baseman and Alan Trammell was the shortstop. Whitaker played well enough that year to win the rookie of the year award. Trammell is in the hall of fame. I have him rated 126th. He is an easy hall of famer. Since I have Whitaker higher, I definitely think he is a hall of famer. He and Minnie Minoso would be the two players I would like to see most elected to the hall of fame.
So why is Trammell in the hall of fame and Whitaker isn’t. One reason possibly Whitaker is a lot like Don Sutton. He was consistent but didn’t have that one great season. He has the worst best season according to win shares of the top 20 2nd basemen. Also, Whitaker had some strange off the field occurrence which made people think he was strange. For example, one year he forgot to pack his uniform for the all-star game. That caused someone to have to find him a decent looking uniform. A third thing might be the color of his skin. He is black and Trammell is white. However, I don’t think most writers would consider that, however it might be a sub conscience thing. The fourth is Trammell played short and Whitaker played second. To writers their offensive statistics are similar and since Trammell played shortstop a harder position, he must be better. It could be Trammell is actually better because there isn’t a lot of difference between the two. However, I think it is most likely that Whitaker had the better career. So, I urge the baseball writers to elect Lou for the hall of fame.