Leading up to that not-surprising-yet-disappointing announcement by Hall President Jeff Idelson, I listened to the pro-Morris and anti-Morris crowds shout their claims as to why the man either belonged in Cooperstown or would become, at best, the pitching version of Jim Rice: a solid major leaguer with some notable accomplishments but not worthy of a call from the Hall.
With one year of eligibility remaining, Morris hovers close to the 75 percent required for election; this year he appeared on 67.7 percent of writers’ ballots. Tram appeared on just 33.6 percent. I keep thinking Morris’ day will come but after reading Rob Neyer’s analysis, I’m thinking neither star from the ’84 team will end up with a plaque in the Hall of Fame. A few years ago, on ye olde podcast, Lynn Henning told me that he didn’t think Morris would get in but that Trammell would … some day.
Here’s what Rob said:
This was Biggio’s — and Jeff Bagwell‘s, and Mike Piazza‘s, and Curt Schilling‘s, and Alan Trammell‘s, and Jack Morris‘s, and Tim Raines‘s, and everyone else’s — best chance for a while. For them, what’s next is a lot of years hoping for a phone call that won’t come.
(And if you want some more on the Morris thing, read Rob’s column from last week. Yowza.)
The goodwill for Trammell seems to grow every year but it never translate into votes. Maybe that’s because he still has three more years on the ballot, who knows? Nevertheless, Sports Illustrated‘s Jay Jaffe says Tram belongs:
While that’s reassuring as far as justice eventually being served, Trammell deserves better than to have to wait. He held his own among the great shortstops of the 1980s and ’90s in his day, and he deserves his spot alongside them in Cooperstown.
But then I got to thinking: Does it even matter if Trammell and Morris aren’t in the Hall of Fame? Does it matter they might not ever get in?
No, it doesn’t matter. At least not to me. Is this fueled by resignation? Sure, to some degree.
The more I read about their respective candidacies, the more I enjoyed being reminded of their careers with the Tigers and the truckloads of memories they provided for more than a decade. Long-time readers of this site know I’m a die-hard Morris fan, my first-ever Tigers game coinciding with his first major-league win. And I’ll never forget how Trammell put the Tigers on his back the final week of the 1987 season to clinch a division title.
Of course I want to see my favorite players in the Hall of Fame. But if they aren’t, does it mean they aren’t among the best players ever to play the game? Nope. At the very least, they’re among the best players ever to play for the Tigers.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.