Embed from Getty Images Detroit Tigers greats Alan Trammell and Jack Morris were elected to the MLB Hall of Fame in 2017, Lou Whitaker was always expected to be the next former Tigers great for consideration. Whitaker’s wait has been long drawn out and well overdue.
The case for Lou Whitaker to be enshrined with fellow Baseball greats is a strong one:
Baseball historian and author Bill James, who helped bring in the era of modern baseball statistics, ranked Lou Whitaker in last year’s Bill James Handbook as the second best player not in the Hall of Fame based on Win Shares and Wins Above Replacement, trailing only MLB star Bill Dahlen. In terms of win shares, Whitaker is better than 139 players already in the Hall. James also ranked Whitaker as the 13th best second baseman of all time.
Lou Whitaker was one of the most dynamic offensive second basemen of all time. With a wRC+ of 118 ranks 21st all time among second basemen with at least 5,000 career plate appearances, and he ranks in the top 12 at his position in home runs and runs scored.
Whitaker played second base for his entire 19 year Major League career 2,308 games to be exact. Ranking him fourth all time behind Hall of Famers Eddie Collins, Joe Morgan and Roberto Alomar. Whitaker’s 75.1 career WAR ranked fifth all time among players who spent at least 75% of their career at second base, ahead of Hall of Famers Ryne Sandberg 68.0, Alomar 67.1, Nellie Fox 49.0 and many more.
Lou Whitaker the 1978 rookie-of-the-year in MLB, was also a All-Star for five consecutive years from 1983-1987, his age 26 through age 30 seasons. He won three Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers in that stretch and was a Top 10 finisher in AL MVP Award voting in 1983. The Tigers won two AL East titles and a World Series crown during that time.
The talk with the Hall of Fame players when Trammell and Morris were elected was that they are going to right the wrong and put Sweet Lou in the Hall. It has been reported, players pointed directly at Whitaker (as he spoke at the enshrinement ceremony about Alan Trammell) and declared “you’re next.”
Baseball fans, not just Detroit Tigers fans need to hope the players were both serious and keep the words they spoke.