Tuesday, February 11, 2014
#160 Lou Whitaker
1. He partnered with shortstop Alan Trammell to form the longest-tenured double play combo in MLB history, as they both played in the Tigers' middle infield regularly from 1978 through 1995.
2. Lou made it to the 1985 All-Star Game in Minnesota, but most of his uniform did not. He left it in his car at the airport in Detroit, and a replacement uniform got lost in transit. He wound up wearing a mesh cap and replica jersey from a merchandise stand at the Metrodome, with a clubhouse attendant stenciling a #1 on the back of the shirt with marker. The second baseman borrowed an Indians batting helmet from Bert Blyleven and got a fielding glove on loan from Cal Ripken, Jr.
3. Whitaker was criminally overlooked by Hall of Fame voters, failing to reach even the 5% mark necessary to stay on the ballot beyond his first year of eligibility. It'll be up to the Veterans Committee to right that wrong in the coming years.
11-Year-Old Kevin Says: In the odd hodgepodge of late 1980s cards that kick-started my collection, there was a 1988 Topps Big card of Lou Whitaker. That's how I learned of his unusual middle name, "Rodman".
Bill James Said: "Father time will catch him sooner or later, but there is no sign that it's ready to happen."
On This Date in 1993: February 11. President Clinton names Janet Reno Attorney General of the U.S.