I have been a fan of the Detroit Tigers since the Summer of 1984. That means I am lucky enough to vividly remember my baseball team winning a World Series title, and waiting for them to win another. Since every year the team itself asks me who my Tiger is I decided to write about my favorite 25 Tigers since I became a fan…at eight years old…This has less to do with performance as it does with whatever intangible qualities Tigers’ players have…I mean this is the town that loved Brandon Inge and Don Kelly…and no neither one of those players will make my list…With all of that being said…
#2 Second Baseman Lou Whitaker
Part of me think labeling Sweet Lou as #2 as just wrong. Really he should be 1.B. Which leaves little doubt to old school Detroit Tigers fans as who is #1. There is no way around that because these two players will forever be linked like Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars of the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons or Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions. Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell were the double play combination at second base and short stop from the late 1970’s until the mid 1990’s. Their careers, from the minor on, are entwined and they often hit #1 and #2 in Sparky Anderson’s lineup.
Lou was drafted in 1975 and would resign with the Tigers once in 1992. He played here till 1995. He would make it to the big club by 1977 and in 1978 he was the American League Rookie of the Year. From 1983 till 1987 he was a member of the All Star team and he would win four golden gloves and 3 Silver Sluggers during that five year run where he may have been the best second baseman in the game.
1983 was probably his best year in Detroit. He would hit .320,with 206 hits, 12 home runs, 72 RBI, and 17 stolen bases. He finished 8th in the MVP voting that season. In 1984 he was the lead off hitter and if that is true of 1983 that is a lot of production to set the table for the rest of the offense.
Now that we are in the era of free agency and 200 million dollar a year baseball payrolls it is not likely we will ever see one, much less two players of this caliber, play their entire career for a single organization. With that being said the great 1980’s Tigers teams made the same mistake the Bay Boy Pistons made. They allowed the core of the team to get old without dealing of parts of it as they went to retool. Looking back on it now I am glad that these guys will always be Detroit guys. No matter what they do in their once their playing days were done Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell only played for the Tigers…and that is something very special.
Better than that…when Sweet Lou would come to the plate and the entire crowd at Old Tiger Stadium would say LOOOOOUUUUUUUU in unison was just awesome.