Trammell says he's OK if he never reaches Hall of Fame

Tom Gage
The Detroit News

He has one more year on the ballot.

But Alan Trammell isn't going to suddenly leapfrog into the Hall of Fame a year from now. He knows that.

He probably knew it two years ago when he took a step back from his high-water mark of 36.8 percent.

There was hope Trammell was trending upward at that point — he took a 12 percent jump from 2011 to 2012. But the tide of support has receded, even though one of the most applicable comparisons of Trammell as a player continues to be with Barry Larkin, who was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2012.

If you want to use traditional stats as part of the comparison, Trammell had more hits and RBIs than Larkin.

Larkin hit more home runs (although neither hit 200) and had the higher average (.295-.285).

If WAR has become your basis of comparison, Trammell's was 70.4 to 70.2, according to

Larkin won the National League's MVP award in 1995 for the Reds. The closest Trammell came to be an MVP was second in 1987.

Trammell, however, is not bitter about where he places every year. He appreciates the support while acknowledging just how much of a long shot he's become.

It doesn't alter his realistic view of his career.

"I know I could play," he said over the phone Wednesday. "I also know what I accomplished in my career. I'm comfortable with all of that.

"If I come up short in the voting, as I've been doing, that's something out of my control. It's not going to change me."

But he also says "a little momentum" coming out of the balloting process next year, with the veterans committee in mind, would be nice. He would like that momentum to include his longtime playing partner, Lou Whitaker, as well.

Of the four players voted into the Hall of Fame on Tuesday, the one Trammell knows the best is Randy Johnson because he faced Johnson, was on a Tigers team no-hit by Johnson (1990), and because as a coach with the Diamondbacks, he would sometimes converse with Johnson, who'd occasionally stop by.

Trammell went 0-for-4 during that June 2, 1990 no-hitter Johnson threw against the Tigers.

He was not, however, one of Johnson's eight strikeouts. Trammell grounded out twice, popped out once and flew out to deep left.

Then again, striking out against Johnson was not something Trammell often did during his career. He was 8-for-22 against the 6-foot-10 left-hander, striking out twice.

"But he was a very tough pitcher to hit against," Trammell said. "And only got tougher as his career went on. "He was a little wild (six walks) while no-hitting us, but that worked to his advantage, too. Some of the swings in that game weren't ones you would want to remember, but you do because of who was throwing the ball.

"Randy became one of the great lefties of all time."

Altering process

Now that a hitter as accomplished as Carlos Delgado has been eliminated from Hall of Fame consideration on the first ballot — he didn't receive the required five percent of the vote — it'll be interesting to see if that requirement will be lowered to three percent to allow first-year players more time to gain some traction in the process.

Delgado not only hit at least 30 home runs per year for 10 consecutive seasons (1997-2006), but only 27 other players have combined for least 470 home runs with 1,510 RBI.
Delgado had 473 and 1,512.

While such numbers might not gain him entry into the Hall of Fame, with a tweak of the percentage of votes required to remain on the ballot - at least in a player's first year of eligibility — Delgado's candidacy would have made it to a second year.

Other first-year players in the last 20 years with less than five percent of the vote but more than three include Kenny Lofton, John Franco (most career saves by a left-handed pitcher), Andres Galarraga, Mark Grace, David Cone, Will Clark, Dwight Gooden, Joe Carter, Dennis Martinez, Jeff Reardon, Ken Griffey Sr., Frank White and Dan Quisenberry.

Whitaker fell short at 2.9 percent in 2001.