Lou Whitaker Renominated For Baseball Hall Of Fame

He could get the honor he's long deserved in 2020.

Will Burchfield
November 04, 2019 - 3:43 pm

Last year, it was Alan Trammell and Jack Morris who got their due from the Hall of Fame. Next year it might be Lou Whitaker. 

The Tigers longtime second baseman was named to the 2020 Modern Baseball Era ballot on Monday, the same ballot by which Trammell and Morris gained entrance into the Hall of Fame in 2018. It reconsiders former candidates who have been retired for more than 15 years. 

Whitaker fell off the original ballot in 2001 when he received less than five percent of the vote. But he's long had a case for Cooperstown. The five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger and three-time Gold Glover spent all 19 years of his career with the Tigers, teaming up with Trammell to form the longest-running double play combo in MLB history. 

According to Baseball-Reference, Whitaker had a higher career WAR (75.1) than such Hall of Fame second basemen as Ryne Sandberg, Roberto Alomar and Craig Biggio. He also bested Trammell (70.7). 

Asked about his Hall of Fame chances in an interview this year with 97.1 The Ticket, Whitaker said, "My love was to play the game. I never walked around and said, 'One day I’m going to be a Hall of Famer.' I never said that. That’s for others to decide. They always say, 'Let others brag about your accomplishments.' You don’t have to toot your own horn."

Trammell, for his part, said Whitaker was closing in. 

"To this point, Lou has been close. The first thing is, we need to get him on the ballot. But I still believe that in my heart, in a short period of time, Lou Whitaker will be part of the Hall of Fame as well," said Trammell. 

Now that step one is complete, the rest of the process can begin. Whitaker needs at least 12 votes from the 16-member Modern Baseball Era committee. Results will be announced Dec. 8. 

Should he make the cut, Whitaker will be inducted into Cooperstown July 26, 2020. And perhaps the Tigers will finally retire his No. 1 after that, just like they did last year for Trammell and Morris. 

In a statement posted Monday, the Tigers said, '"Sweet Lou' was an integral part of our 1984 World Series Championship team and is a key piece of the storied tradition of baseball in the Motor City. When the voting results are announced next month, we're confident that all of us will be celebrating this Tigers legend's election to Cooperstown."