Fans say retire Lou’s No. 1; Tigers say no

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — Despite overwhelming cries from fans to include Lou Whitaker in the 2018 number-retirement ceremonies of Alan Trammell and Jack Morris, the Tigers say they have no immediate plans to retire Whitaker's No. 1.

"(The) club is focusing on the Hall of Fame celebration and retiring numbers of Morris and Trammell," said Ron Colangelo, Tigers vice president of communications.

The Tigers in August will retire Trammell's No. 3 and Morris' No. 47, following word this month that they had been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. They'll be the first players from the 1984 World Series championship team inducted in Cooperstown.

Morris' No. 47, which hasn't been worn by a Tiger since he left the team after the 1990 season, will be retired prior to the Aug. 12 home game against the Minnesota Twins, another team with which he won a championship.

Trammell's No. 3, which was worn by Ian Kinsler before he was traded recently to the Angels, will be retired before the Aug. 26 game against the White Sox.

It's not yet clear if the Tigers will unveil statues of the two men.

Individual game tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. Jan. 27, the same day as TigerFest.

The Tigers have retired the numbers of five former players, and all have statues, as does Ty Cobb, who played when there were no numbers.

The lone number the Tigers have retired of a player who is not in the Hall of Fame is Willie Horton's No. 23.

Whitaker's No. 1, worn by shortstop Jose Iglesias, appears unlikely to be retired anytime soon, as he remains on the outside looking in on the Hall of Fame, despite career numbers that put him right up next to Hall of Famers like Ryne Sandberg, Roberto Alomar and Joe Morgan.

But Whitaker has been overlooked by voters, first by the writers, who didn't even give him enough support in 2001 to get him a second year on the ballot. Then, last month, the Modern Era ballot came out and didn't even include Whitaker's name, but did include Trammell's and Morris'. They were the only two of the 10-person ballot to get elected at the winter meetings this month.

Tigers fans are beside themselves not just by the lack of Hall-of-Fame respect for Whitaker, but also by the Tigers not seeming willing to put Whitaker on the brick wall at Comerica Park alongside Trammell and Morris.

In a Twitter poll of Detroit News readers on Tuesday, a whopping 88 percent of respondents said the Tigers should retire Whitaker's No. 1 this summer, while 12 percent said they shouldn't.

More than 1,200 fans had voted in the poll as of 11 p.m. Tuesday.