Hall of Fame Ballot Review – Alan Trammell

Another candidate on the ballot for the Hall of Fame this year is Alan Trammell, long time shortstop for the Detroit Tigers. Trammell is on the ballot for the 11th time this year, and reached his highest vote percentage last year (22.4%).

Career Accomplishments
4 Gold Gloves
6 All Star Appearances
3 Silver Sluggers
13 seasons with 10+ SB
8 seasons with 10+ HR
7 seasons with .300+ batting average
6 seasons with 125+ OPS+
7 seasons with 5.0+ WAR
66.9 Career WAR

The Case For Trammell

Trammell was one of the top shortstops in the league throughout his career. He won 4 Gold Gloves, 3 Silver Sluggers, and hit .300 7 times. He finished 2nd in the 1987 MVP voting, had a 20 homer/20 steal season, and finished with a career WAR of 66.9.

The Case Against Trammell

Trammell was not considered to be an elite level hitter, and does not compare favorably to other contemporaries at his position (Cal Ripken Jr, Robin Yount specifically). His offensive numbers do not compare favorably to the shortstops of this era and not necessarily to some of the other top shortstops of all time.


Trammell seems like a very interesting case. His offensive numbers don’t necessarily stand out as amazing numbers, but Trammell played the majority of his career just prior to the appearance of some of the great offensive shortstops. Generally, players in his era were expected to be excellent fielders, and any offense that they provided was just a bonus. His OPS+ suggests that he was just a bit above average at shortstop, but some of the numbers are actually pretty favorable to his case. According to Baseball-Reference’s Play Index, run for all players who made 3000+ plate appearances between 1977 and 1996 while playing at least 50% of their games at SS, here’s how Trammell ranks:

  • 3rd in OPS+
  • 2nd in batting average
  • 2nd in home runs
  • 3rd in stolen bases
  • 2nd in runs batted in
  • 3rd in runs scored
  • 2nd in WAR
  • 7th in WAR Fielding Runs

The thing that stands out to me is that while the offensive numbers don’t necessarily look great by themselves, they compare very well to his counterparts during his era. I think that the statistics also look favorably on his defense as well, as he finished his career with a 7.5 defensive WAR total. His numbers look really good compared to his contemporaries, but there’s something I just can’t place about his case. So how does he compare to other shortstops in the Hall of Fame?

  • 11th in batting average
  • 11th in OPS+
  • 4th in Home Runs
  • 9th in runs batted in
  • 12th in runs scored
  • 8th in WAR

I think that while his numbers don’t necessarily look amazing in comparison to the current crop of shortstops, I think he compares very favorably to both his contemporaries and also previous shortstops, and gets my vote for the Hall of Fame.


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