Alan Trammell

Alan Stuart Trammell (/ˈtræmɛl/ TRAM-el;[1] born February 21, 1958) is an American former professional baseball shortstop, manager and coach and member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a player. His entire 20-year playing career in Major League Baseball (MLB) was with the Detroit Tigers. He currently serves as a special assistant to the General Manager of the Detroit Tigers.

Alan Trammell
Trammell while playing with the Tigers
Shortstop / Manager
Born: (1958-02-21) February 21, 1958
Garden Grove, California, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 9, 1977, for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
September 29, 1996, for the Detroit Tigers
MLB statistics
Batting average.285
Home runs185
Runs batted in1,003
Managerial record187–302
Winning %.382
As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Baseball Hall of Fame
Election methodModern Era Committee

Trammell won a World Series championship in 1984 over his hometown San Diego Padres, earning Series MVP honors, and an American League East division championship in 1987. Although his arm was not overpowering, he had a quick release and made accurate throws, ultimately winning four Gold Glove awards. Trammell's defense perfectly complemented his double-play partner, Lou Whitaker. The two formed the longest continuous double-play combination in major league history, playing 19 seasons together. At the plate, Trammell was one of the best-hitting shortstops of his era and won three Silver Slugger awards.

Trammell later served as the Tigers' manager from 2003 through 2005. He also served as the interim manager for the Arizona Diamondbacks during the final three games of the 2014 season. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018.

Playing career

Early years

Trammell attended Kearny High School in San Diego, California and played American Legion Baseball. He was named the 1989 American Legion Graduate of the Year.[2]

The Detroit Tigers selected him in the second round of the 1976 MLB draft.[3]

While playing for the Tigers' farm team in Montgomery of the Southern League, Trammell played his first game with teammate Lou Whitaker before the two infielders were promoted, making their major league debut at Fenway Park together, during the second game of a double-header on September 9, 1977, the first of nineteen seasons together.

Trammell batted .300 in 1980 as he made the All-Star team for the first time. In 1983, he batted .319 with 14 home runs, 66 runs batted in and 30 stolen bases.[4] Having hit .258 in both 1981 and 1982, Trammell won the 1983 MLB Comeback Player of the Year Award in the American League.

Trammell and Whitaker made a cameo appearance on the television show Magnum, P.I., starring Tom Selleck, during the 1983 season.[5][6] Selleck's character, Thomas Magnum, was a Tigers fan (as is Selleck himself).[7]


Trammell, along with his Tiger teammates, enjoyed a championship-winning season in 1984, when they started the season 35–5 and led the American League wire-to-wire en route to winning the World Series.[8] Despite a season-long battle with tendinitis in his shoulder which caused him to miss 23 regular season games, he finished fifth in the AL batting race with a .314 mark and ranked eighth in on-base percentage (.382). In the 1984 American League Championship Series against the Kansas City Royals, Trammell hit .364 with one home run and three RBI. Finally, in the World Series, he hit .450 (9-for-20) against the San Diego Padres, including a pair of two-run home runs that accounted for all of the Tigers' scoring in a Game 4 victory. Detroit won the series 4–1 and Trammell was named World Series MVP.[9][10]


In 1985, after two consecutive years of batting not lower than .314, Trammell was hampered by injuries and posted only a .258 batting average. He underwent postseason surgery on his left knee and right shoulder. The following season, a fully healthy Trammell hit 21 homers and stole 25 bases, becoming only the second player in Detroit history to hit 20+ home runs and steal 20+ bases in the same season. (Kirk Gibson was the other, while Curtis Granderson and Robbie Grossman later joined the club.) Trammell also set a career-high with 75 RBI.

In 1987, asked by manager Sparky Anderson to replace the departed Lance Parrish as cleanup hitter, Trammell responded with his best major league season, hitting a career-high 28 home runs to go with a career-high .343 batting average (ranking third in the AL). In addition, Trammell appeared among the league leaders in most other AL offensive categories: third in hits (205), tenth in RBI (105), tied for fifth in runs (109), fourth in total bases (329), fifth in on-base percentage (.402), eighth in slugging average (.551), sixth in on-base plus slugging (.953), fifth in OPS+ (155), and tied for fifth in game-winning RBI (16). In September, he batted .416 with six homers and 17 RBI and put together an 18-game hitting streak in which he hit .457. On the penultimate day of the regular season, he hit a walk-off single against the Toronto Blue Jays to help his team take the AL East division lead, which they clinched the next day. He became the first Tiger to collect 200 hits and 100 RBI in the same season since Al Kaline did it in 1955. Trammell also became the first shortstop to hit at least .340 with 20+ home runs and 100+ RBI in a season in big league history. Despite his efforts, Trammell finished second to Toronto's George Bell in the MVP voting (332–311).[11] After the season finale, Whitaker gave him second base, on which he had written: To Alan Trammell, 1987 Most Valuable Player, from your friend Lou Whitaker.[12]

Trammell followed up with a .311 season in 1988, though a stint on the disabled list limited him to 128 games that year.

Later years, injuries and retirement

Trammell bats at Tiger Stadium, 1991

Following the 1990 season, in which he hit .304 with 89 RBI in 146 games, Trammell suffered a long string of injuries that reduced his production over his final years. In 1991, knee and ankle injuries limited Trammell to 101 games. During the following season, he played in 29 games before breaking his right ankle and missing the remainder of the 1992 season. He hit .329 in a resurgent 1993 season but was ineligible to be ranked among the AL batting leaders because he only had 447 plate appearances. In his final five seasons, Trammell averaged 76 games played after averaging 140 games played the first 13 seasons of his career. From 1993 to 1996, Trammell saw less time at shortstop in favor of Travis Fryman and eventually Chris Gomez and Andújar Cedeño.[13] He instead saw playing time at multiple defensive positions, including shortstop, third base, second base, left field, center field, and designated hitter.[14] Trammell retired following the 1996 season.

In his 20-year career, Trammell batted over .300 seven times, ending with a career average of .285 and 185 home runs with 1,003 RBI, 1,231 runs, 2,365 hits, 412 doubles, 55 triples, 236 stolen bases and 850 walks in 2,293 games.[4] He compiled a .977 fielding percentage at shortstop, his primary position. After his retirement, Trammell coached for Detroit (1999, hitting coach), the San Diego Padres (2000–2002, first base coach), and managed the Tigers (2003–2005).[15] He served as the bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks under former teammate Kirk Gibson[16] until returning to the Tigers in late 2014 as a special assistant to the general manager.

Hall of Fame consideration and induction

In 2001, Trammell was rated as the ninth-best shortstop of all time in "The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract", placing him higher than fourteen Hall of Fame shortstops. In subsequent years, Trammell's candidacy for the Hall of Fame picked up increasing support from the sabermetric community. In his first 12 years of eligibility, he received the following percentage of votes: 15.7% (2002), 14.1% (2003), 13.8% (2004), 16.9% (2005), 17.7% (2006), 13.4% (2007), 18.2% (2008), 17.4% (2009), 22.4% (2010), 24.3% (2011), 36.8% (2012), 33.6% (2013), and 20.8% (2014).[4] His boost in later years was likely due to voters being more receptive to advanced metrics, such as WAR (Wins above replacement).[17]

Trammell was on his 15th and final Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot in 2016, failing to earn enough for induction. Trammell was one of the last candidates to be allowed on the ballot for 15 years after the BBWAA reduced eligibility to ten years, and would next be considered for the Veterans Committee Expansion starting from 2017. On December 10, 2017, he was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Modern Baseball Committee alongside his teammate Jack Morris. They were inducted in July 2018.[18]

In 1998, Trammell was elected into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.[19]

Jersey number retirement

Alan Trammell's number 3 was retired by the Detroit Tigers in 2018.

Alan Trammell's jersey number 3 was retired by the Tigers in a ceremony on August 26, 2018.[20] His name and number were added to the brick wall in left-center field at Comerica Park, alongside Charlie Gehringer (#2), Hank Greenberg (#5), Al Kaline (#6), Hal Newhouser (#16), Willie Horton (#23), Ty Cobb (no number) and recent honoree Jack Morris (#47). Following Trammell's retirement in 1996, the number 3 had been worn by two other players: Gary Sheffield and Ian Kinsler.

Managerial and coaching career

Detroit Tigers

Alan Trammell was named the manager of a struggling Tigers team on October 9, 2002.[21] The team lost 119 games in his first season in 2003, an American League record, before posting a 72–90 record in 2004. In the 2005 season, however, the team's record regressed slightly, finishing 71–91. During Trammell's three years as manager, the Tigers compiled a record of 186–300.[15][22]

During the 2003 season, Detroit nearly matched the modern MLB record of 120 losses, set by the expansion New York Mets (40–120) in 1962. The Tigers won five of their last six games to avoid the distinction.

On October 3, 2005, the Tigers released Trammell after three seasons in which the organization failed to post a winning record.[15] Trammell was replaced by Jim Leyland on October 4, 2005. Leyland led Detroit to a 24-game improvement in the regular season, an AL pennant, and a World Series appearance in 2006. While there was some media criticism regarding Trammell's managerial strategies and "nice" demeanor,[23] others contend that he was a rookie manager put in charge of a team that was severely lacking in talent, and believe his managerial stint played an integral role in re-instilling professionalism and pride throughout the Detroit organization. Leyland himself attributed a degree of the success that the Tigers saw in the 2006 postseason to Trammell's efforts in the three years prior.[24]

In October 2006, Trammell returned to Comerica Park for the first time since his firing to participate, along with Sparky Anderson, in pregame festivities prior to Game 2 of the World Series.[25] Trammell was showered with a lengthy standing ovation from Detroit baseball fans upon taking the field.

Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks

Trammell as a Chicago Cubs coach, 2009

After being replaced by Leyland, Trammell turned down an offer to stay with the Tigers as a special assistant, instead opting to sit out 2006. In October 2006, he agreed to join the Chicago Cubs as a bench coach for the 2007 season,[25] a possible precursor to an eventual return to managing a major league club.

During the four-game suspension of Lou Piniella in 2007, Trammell was acting manager of the Chicago Cubs.

Trammell was passed over for the Cubs' managerial position when Lou Piniella retired midway through the 2010 season.[26]

Trammell was named bench coach of the Arizona Diamondbacks in October 2010 joining his former teammate Kirk Gibson who had earlier been named manager. Gibson had previously been Trammell's bench and hitting coach with the Tigers.[16] He and Gibson were fired on September 26, 2014, though Trammell stayed on for the final three games of the season to serve as the interim manager.[27] He had a record of one win and two losses in those three games.[22]

Return to Detroit Tigers

On November 3, 2014, it was announced that Trammell would return to Detroit as a special assistant to Tigers' general manager Dave Dombrowski.[28][29] Trammell continues to serve as a special assistant to current Tigers' general manager Al Avila.[30] During the 2015 season, Trammell served as interim first-base coach when Omar Vizquel temporarily left the team on bereavement leave. He wore #4 during this time as Ian Kinsler was wearing Trammell's familiar #3.[31]

Managerial record

As of December 18, 2014
Team From To Regular season record Post–season record Ref.
W L Win % W L Win %
Detroit Tigers 2003 2005 186300.383 00 [22]
Arizona Diamondbacks 2014 2014 12.333 00 [22]
Total 187302.382 00

Career highlights

  • 1984 World Series MVP
  • 1984 World Series Champion
  • 6-time All-Star (1980, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990)
  • 4-time Gold Glove (1980, 1981, 1983, 1984)
  • 3-time Top 10 MVP (1984, 1987, 1988)
  • 3-time Tiger of the Year by the BBWAA-Detroit Chapter (1980, 1987, 1988)
  • Collected both 200th hit of the season and 1,500th career in same at bat (October 1, 1987)
  • Had a 21-game hit streak during the 1987 season.
  • Had a 20-game hit streak during the 1984 season.
  • Comeback Player of the Year (1983)
  • Sporting News AL Silver Slugger Team (1987, 1988, 1990)
  • Along with teammate Lou Whitaker holds AL record playing together (1,918 games). They also set the major league record by turning more double plays than any other shortstop-second baseman combination in the long history of professional baseball.
  • The Trammell–Whitaker duo twice won Gold Gloves together, joining a list of eight shortstop-second baseman duos who have won the honor in the same season while playing together (1983, 1984).
  • Inducted into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame in 1998[19]
  • Inducted into the San Diego Hall of Champions in 1998[32]
  • Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018[33]

See also


  1. Detroit Tigers 1980 Press-TV-Radio Guide (pronunciations on page 38). Archived April 14, 2021, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved April 14, 2021
  2. "Graduate of the Year | the American Legion".
  3. "Tigers great Alan Trammell puts San Diego investment property up for sale". Los Angeles Times. October 16, 2015.
  4. "Alan Trammell". Baseball-Reference. Archived from the original on December 22, 2010. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
  5. "Magnum, P.I.: A Sense of Debt episode on". Archived from the original on January 19, 2010. Retrieved February 2, 2008.
  6. Video on YouTube
  7. "Selleck Strikes Out For Tigers". Chicago Tribune. April 4, 1991.
  8. "Bless You Boys: A Celebration of the '84 Tigers". Detroit Tigers. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
  9. Kappler, Brian (October 15, 1984). "Bad knee didn't halt Trammell". The Montreal Gazette. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
  10. Atkins, Harry (October 16, 1984). "Trammell picks up car". Gettysburg Times. Associated Press. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
  11. Donaghy, Jim (November 18, 1987). "Bell edges Trammell". The Hour. Associated Press. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
  12. Holmes, Dan (September 5, 2014). "Whitaker's nice gesture remains one of Trammell's prized possessions". Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  13. "Lakeland Ledger - Google News Archive Search".
  14. "Alan Trammell Fielding Stats".
  15. "Tigers fire Trammell after 71–91 season". ESPN. October 4, 2005. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
  16. "Gibson reunites with Trammell in Arizona". USA Today. Associated Press. October 26, 2010. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
  17. Eye On Baseball Retrieved December 27, 2013
  18. "Morris, Trammell get long awaited call to Hall" (Press release). MLB. December 10, 2017. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  19. "Alan Trammell". Archived from the original on January 10, 2015. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  20. "Alan Trammell sees Tigers No.3 jersey retired, lobbies for DP partner Lou Whitaker". August 27, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  21. Lage, Larry (October 9, 2002). "Trammell takes Tigers' managerial reins". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
  22. "Alan Trammell". Baseball Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  23. Crasnick, Jerry (October 20, 2006). "Trammell: 'I'll always be a Tiger'". ESPN. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
  24. "A Tiger Who Won, and Then Couldn't, Manages to Smile". The New York Times. Associated Press. October 22, 2006. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
  25. Muskat, Carrie (October 24, 2006). "Trammell raring to go with Cubs". Major League Baseball. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
  26. "Mike Quade prepared for hot seat". ESPN. Associated Press. August 23, 2010. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
  27. "Diamondbacks fire Kirk Gibson". September 27, 2014. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  28. "Alan Trammell returning to Tigers as assistant to GM". The Detroit News. November 3, 2014. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  29. "Trammell returns to Tigers as special assistant". Major League Baseball. November 3, 2014. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
  30. "Trammell still unsettled by finally getting Hall call".
  31. "Trammell fills in as Tigers' first-base coach". July 25, 2015. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  32. "San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum » Alan Trammell". Archived from the original on October 1, 2009. Retrieved June 18, 2009.
  33. "Evaluating the Inevitable Hall of Fame Election of Jack Morris, the Pleasant Surprise of Alan Trammell and More".
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Detroit Tigers Hitting Coach
Succeeded by
Bruce Fields
Preceded by San Diego Padres
First Base Coach
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Dick Pole
Chicago Cubs Bench Coach
Succeeded by
Preceded by Arizona Diamondbacks Bench Coach
Succeeded by
Glenn Sherlock
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