Larkin baffled Trammell's not in Hall of Fame

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — Ozzie Smith is one man Tigers fans point to in making their case that Alan Trammell belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

And Barry Larkin is the other.

Smith was elected to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 2002, receiving more than 90 percent of the vote. Larkin was elected in 2012, his third year on the ballot, with more than 85 percent of the vote.

Yet Trammell, despite a comparable resume and statistics, is entering his 15th and final year on the ballot, and he's nowhere close to getting to the needed 75 percent.

What gives?

"Let's talk about Alan Trammell. He's a Hall of Famer," Larkin said last week, while in Detroit to enter the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. "He belongs there, he should be there.

"You look at the numbers, and it's not just numbers. It's how he did it, how long he did it, him and Lou Whitaker."

Whitaker is an even sadder case than Trammell, having not even seen multiple years on the Hall of Fame ballot because of a low vote total his first year.

"When I was growing up watching baseball, those were two guys I watched," said Larkin, a native of Ohio and a University of Michigan alum. "When I came up here at the University of Michigan, those were two guys I watched, those were guys I idolized."

Larkin and Trammell, 56, now an executive in the Tigers' front office, saw their playing careers overlap for much of the 1980s and 1990s, with Larkin with the Reds and Trammell with the Tigers. They even traveled abroad together once, for a baseball showcase.

"I had a chance to go to Japan and play with Tram," said Larkin, 50. "I learned a lot from him. He's a Hall of Fame player, a Hall of Fame person."

So why aren't the writers voting for him?

"I don't know," Larkin said, shaking his head. "I don't know."

Tale of the tape

Here are the career statistics for Smith, Larkin and Trammell:

■Smith: 19 seasons (with Padres and Cardinals), .262/.337/.328, 2,460 hits, 28 homers, 793 RBIs, 580 stolen bases, 13 Gold Gloves, 15 All-Star Games, one World Series title, 76.5 WAR

■Larkin: 19 seasons (with Reds), .295/.371/.444, 1995 MVP, 2,340 hits, 198 homers, 960 RBIs, 379 stolen bases, three Gold Gloves, 12 All-Star Games, one World Series title, 70.2 WAR

■Trammell: 20 seasons (with Tigers), .285/.352/.415, 2,365 hits, 185 homers, 1,003 RBIs, 236 stolen bases, four Gold Gloves, six All-Star Games, one World Series title, 70.4 WAR