Alan Trammell On Defense

Alan Trammell Snubbed By BBWAA, Despite Being As Good As Derek Jeter

Alan Trammell was snubbed by the Baseball Writers Association of America and the Hall of Fame. Alan Trammell appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot for the final time in 2016, but the news wasn’t good when it came out on Wednesday, January 6. Trammell received just 40.9 percent of the overall vote, falling far short of the 75 percent needed to enter Cooperstown. Despite a favorable overall comparison to shortstop Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees, Trammell just couldn’t get enough support from the BBWAA.

Trammell played his entire Major League career with the Detroit Tigers, appearing in parts of 20 seasons from 1977-1996. He retired with 2,365 career hits, 1,231 runs, 1,003 RBIs, 236 stolen bases, and a 0.285 batting average. Many baseball analysts felt that Trammell should have won the 1987 American League MVP Award when he hit 0.343 with 28 home runs, 105 RBIs, 109 runs scored, and 21 stolen bases. He would finish second in the voting that year.

Alan Trammell also won four Gold Glove Awards and three Silver Slugger Awards from the shortstop position. According to Baseball Reference, Trammell finished his career with an offensive WAR (wins above average replacement player) of 62.4 over those 20 seasons. That’s only part of the story, though, as Trammell was one of the best defensive shortstops that the game as seen. In regard to defensive WAR, Trammell is No. 34 all-time on that list. The list includes players from every position in the league and is not just constricted to just shortstops.

[Photo By Otto Greule Jr / Stringer Getty Images)
[Photo By Otto Greule Jr / Stringer Getty Images]
At the shortstop position, Trammell comes in behind just Ozzie Smith, Cal Ripken Jr., Luis Aparicio, Rabbit Maranville, Omar Vizquel, Pee Wee Reese, Phil Rizzuto, and Ozzie Guillen as full-time shortstops. This easily puts Trammell as one of the 10 best defensive shortstops to ever play Major League Baseball. Putting his defensive WAR numbers into perspective, they are higher than Yadier Molina, Willie Mays, Mike Schmidt, Ken Griffey Jr., and Ryne Sandberg on the overall list.

Bringing Derek Jeter into the equation, the star of the New York Yankees was supperier on offense. Jeter finished with a 0.310 batting average, 260 home runs, 1,311 RBIs, 3,465 hits, and 358 stolen bases over his career. It could be argued that he played in a more offensive-oriented time for MLB, but he still finished with better offensive numbers than Trammell. Neither player ever lead in batting average, home runs, or RBIs though.

Derek Jeter also finished his career with a superior 95.5 offensive WAR, showing how he helped the Yankees during his 20-year career. The comparison between Jeter and Trammell on offense gives the nod to Jeter by a large margin. Bringing defense into the discussion, though, puts the players much closer in overall numbers. According to Baseball Reference, Jeter finished his career with a negative defensive WAR of (-9.7). This means that he was below the average shortstop during most of career, which amounts to 17 seasons of below average fielding.

Alan Trammell Fielding
[Photo By Otto Greule Jr. / String-Getty Images]
Where Alan Trammell finished as the 34th highest player ever in defensive WAR, Jeter doesn’t make it onto the list of the top 2,000 players. This causes Jeter’s career WAR to drop to just 71.8 combined. On the list of the best WAR numbers for position players in the history of baseball, Derek Jeter is No. 58 with 71.8 and Alan Trammell is No. 62 with 70.4. The difference in the overall careers of each player is almost non-existent when comparing regular season accomplishments.

The advantages that Jeter will likely have when he first becomes eligible on the Hall of Fame ballot include extended postseason success, playing in a bigger baseball market and having extensive popularity in the media. It is expected that Jeter will get elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first season of eligibility, further illustrating why Detroit Tigers star shortstop Alan Trammell should already be enshrined in Cooperstown.

[Photo By Stephen Dunn /Allsport]