It took election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, but the Tigers finally are going to retire the numbers of two of their 1984 stars.
Shortly after Alan Trammell and Jack Morris learned Sunday night that they were heading to Cooperstown, the Tigers issued a statement confirming they will retire Trammell's No. 3 and Morris' No. 47 during an August ceremony. The exact date isn't yet known.
They will be the seventh and eighth Tigers numbers to be retired. Ty Cobb also has a statue and his name on the brick wall at Comerica Park, but players didn't wear numbers in those days. The Tigers, like every other team, also have retired Jackie Robinson's No. 42.
"This announcement is truly a proud moment for all of us, and for the legions of Tigers fan who watched these all-time greats excel during their years wearing the Olde English ‘D,’" said Christopher Ilitch, President and CEO of Ilitch Holdings. "Their achievements on the field, and character off, exemplify what’s best about the sport of baseball -- and I’m thrilled the Modern Era Committee saw fit to enshrine Tram and Jack in Cooperstown."
It's unclear what will happen with Ian Kinsler, who wears No. 3 with Trammell's blessing. Of course, as the Winter Meetings get underway this week in Florida, it's highly probable the rebuilding Tigers will be trading Kinsler anyway, making that a moot point.
No Tiger has worn Morris' No. 47 since he left the team after the 1990 season.
It's also not immediately clear if the Tigers are planning statues to honor Trammell and Morris. The Tigers have statues of Cobb, Charlie Gehringer (2), Hank Greenberg (5), Al Kaline (6), Hal Newhouser (16) and Willie Horton (23), but they are running out of room beyond the brick wall in left-center field, left of the fountain.
The Tigers also have retired former manager Sparky Anderson's No. 11. His was the last number retired by the team, in 2011, following his death in November 2010. Until Sunday's announcement, Anderson was the only representative of the 1984 World Series champions in Cooperstown. Through the mid-1990s, the 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers now are the only World Series champion without a Hall-of-Fame player.
Meanwhile, there are no known plans to retire the No. 1 of Lou Whitaker, Trammell's long-time double-play partner who, astonishingly, wasn't on the Modern Era ballot from which Trammell and Morris were elected Sunday. Shortstop Jose Iglesias, with Whitaker's blessing, currently wears No. 1.