Edson: Trammell, Morris finally get their Hall of Fame due
The wait is finally over.
The winningest pitcher of the 1980s and one of the best shortstops of his era have been voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Jack Morris and Alan Trammell were members of the World Champion 1984 Detroit Tigers. It’s a team I covered from spring training in Lakeland to the final out in Game 5 of the World Series at old Tiger Stadium.
But I was also there during the late 1970s, when both were called up to the big leagues by the Tigers. They – along with second baseman Lou Whitaker – belong in the Hall of Fame. Whitaker’s next chance will be in 2019 and I expect he will have a good shot.
For now, Tiger fans have to be satisfied with finally getting two players from that 1984 team into the Hall. Only manager Sparky Anderson had been voted in before.
However, sentiment and statistics finally prevailed.
Both Morris and Trammell were great players but they were wildly different personalities.
Morris could be charming one day and surly the next. Trammell was – and is – always the same. He treats people with respect and is modest to a fault.
One of the best memories of dealing with Alan Trammell has nothing to do with a locker room interview. He was scheduled to play golf at the Grand Traverse Resort after the season ended one year and called me to see if I could pick him up at Cherry Capital Airport.
So on the morning he was supposed to fly up from Detroit, he called my house to tell me that he couldn’t make and wanted to make sure I didn’t make a needless trip to the airport.
That tells you something about the kind of class Trammell has.
Morris, for the most part, was fine during spring training. One time the Tigers were playing the Red Sox over in Winter Haven. Morris pitched the first three innings and then showered and hung around the bullpen area. That’s where we writers would go and interview players after they were done for the day.
So as four or five of us were talking with Morris that afternoon, two teenage girls approached us and asked if we knew Jack Morris. Before we could say anything, Morris responded, “We do. Who should we tell him is asking?”
They gave their names and told us they were from Charlevoix. “He’ll know our names,” said one of the girls. “We’re good friends.”
Morris played right along. “If we see him, we’ll let him know.”
The girls were content with that answer and said “thanks, mister” before heading back to their seats.
Morris’ attitude toward us writers corresponded with how he pitched that day. A good outing and he could be charming. A bad outing and he gave one word answers when he answered at all.
Trammell, on the other hand, could go 0-for-5 and still have time for every interview.
That’s why hearing the news Sunday night that the Modern Era Baseball Committee had voted in both Trammell and Morris restored my faith in the Hall of Fame. They will be inducted in July in Cooperstown, N.Y., one of my favorite places on earth.
So while the 2018 version of the Detroit Tigers might not give us much to cheer about, we can now appreciate that our baseball Christmas present came early this year.
Nick Edson is a retired Hall of Fame columnist and sportswriter. He worked 25 years at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, 18 as sports editor. He is a two-time president of the Associated Press Sports Editors Association and a member of the Michigan Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.