Sweet Injustice

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All this football Hall of Fame talk got me thinking about transgressions in other sports. And when you talk Hall of Fame, you start in one place – Cooperstown, New York.

With the recent induction of Barry Larkin and Ron Santo (both debatable), I decided to take a look at one of my favorite players growing up. Why is Sweet Lou Whitaker not on the tip of the pen of the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America?     

To my shock, Whitaker is not even on the ballot. He has been off since his first year of eligibility in 2001, when he did not receive the necessary five percent to stay on.

In the early 80’s, as a kid falling in love with the game of baseball, Sweet Lou and his double-play partner Alan Trammel were two of my favorites and perhaps the best such combination in the game. They were my Tinker to Evers to Chance, and I spent hours tying to learn how to turn the double play like Whitaker.

The 1984 Detroit Tigers were one of baseball’s all-time great teams, winning 104 games and going 7-1 in the post season to win the World Series.

Whitaker was a key cog in that title run. His numbers are close to Cooperstown resident Ryne Sandberg’s (a contemporary of Whitaker’s) and near first-ballot Hall of Famer Joe Morgan’s, who some so-called experts rank as the greatest second baseman of all time.

                    G       Plate App     BA           R          HR      RBI     OPS

Whitaker   2390        9967        .276       1386      268      1084    .789

Morgan      2649        11329       .271       1650      296      1133     .819

Sandberg   2164        9282         .285      1318      282      1061     .795

Whitaker was a 5 time All Star, has 4 Silver Sluggers, 3 Gold Gloves, a Rookie of the Year award, and a World Series ring.

There is an old baseball adage: when you say the name, does it sound like a Hall of Famer?

When I hear “Sweet Lou Whitaker”,  I think Cooperstown.

Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com

Photo courtesy of collectibles4u.blogspot.com

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One Response to “Sweet Injustice”

  1. Trev Says:

    My top 5 that I saw during their prime:

    1) Sandberg
    2) Alomar
    3) Whitaker
    4) Grich
    5) Biggio

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