For 20 seasons, Alan Trammell was the face of the Detroit Tigers.
And during those 20 years, Trammell’s all-around excellence led the Tigers to victories while putting him on the path to Cooperstown.
Born on Feb. 21, 1958, in Garden Grove, Calif., Trammell was drafted by the Tigers in the second round of the 1976 amateur draft. He made his big league debut at the age of 19 on Sept. 9, 1977, and by 1978 Trammell was the Tigers starting shortstop – finishing fourth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.
In 1980, Trammell earned his first All-Star selection, batted .300 for the first time and won his first of four Gold Glove Awards. In 1983, Trammell hit .319 with 14 homers, 66 RBI and 30 stolen bases and was awarded the Comeback Player of the Year in the American League following two straight years where he hit .258.
In 1984, Trammell battled shoulder tendinitis to finish fifth in the AL batting race (.314) and eighth in on-base percentage (.382). The Tigers went 104-58 to win the AL pennant and the World Series. Going 9-for-20 with two homers and six RBI, Trammell was named World Series MVP.
Tigers manager Sparky Anderson asked Trammell to move from the two hole to cleanup in 1987, and Trammell responded with his best season. He became the first Tiger to have 200 hits and 100 RBI in a season since 1955 and finished in the league top 10 in batting average (.343), RBI (105), hits (205), runs (109), total bases (329), on-base percentage (.402) and slugging percentage (.551).
Trammell finished second in MVP voting that year to Toronto’s George Bell. That season, Trammell became the first player in big league history to hit at least .340 with 28 home runs and 100 RBI in a season while playing at least half his games at shortstop.
Trammell retired following the 1996 season with six All-Star Game selections, three Silver Slugger Awards and four Gold Glove Awards. He batted better than .300 seven times in his career, finishing with a .285 batting average, 185 home runs, 1,003 RBI, 412 doubles and 2,365 hits. Three times he finished in the Top 10 in AL MVP voting.
In 1978, the Trammell was paired with second baseman Lou Whitaker. By the time their careers were over, Trammell and Whitaker played in 1,918 games together – the most by any double-play combination in history.
Trammell was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2018.