Dombrowski: Morris, Trammell belong in Hall

DETROIT — He doesn’t have a vote, but if he did, Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski would cast his to put Jack Morris and Alan Trammell into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Speaking to the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association on Tuesday at Hockeytown Cafe, Dombrowski addressed the usual issues surrounding the Tigers this season: closer, the fifth starter and who might play left field.

But when asked about Morris falling short in Hall of Fame voting this past year, Dombrowski brought up Trammell’s name without being asked.

“I’m bewildered why Alan Trammell doesn’t get more attention in this,” Dombrowski said.

That’s a feeling many Tigers fans share, especially considering Trammell’s credentials:

• The 1984 World Series MVP.

• A six-time All-Star.

• A four-time Gold Glove winner.

• A three-time top 10 in the MVP race (1984, 1987, 1988).

In “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract,” James listed Trammell as the No. 9 shortstop in major-league history, ahead of 14 shortstops already in the Hall of Fame.

Yet, since he’s been on the ballot, Trammell hasn’t reached the 75 percent of the necessary votes for election. He’s gone from 15.7 percent during his first year of eligibility, in 2002, to 33.6 this year.

As long as a player receives 5 percent of votes, he remains on the ballot for 15 years. Trammell has three years left on the ballot.

This past round of voting was Morris’ 14th year on the ballot, and he received 67.7 percent of the vote.

“I think in Jack’s case, right now he’s on the verge,” Dombrowski said. “And I know he’s one of the more controversial guys in recent times with the Hall of Fame … To me, he’s a Hall of Fame pitcher. When you talk to other people that have faced him, they say the same thing.”

Morris won 254 games, more than any other pitcher from the 1980s. His 3.90 career ERA is higher than any pitcher currently enshrined. He threw 3,824 innings during his 18-year career.

Dombrowski noted that the voting will be difficult next year because more players become eligible, including pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and first baseman Frank Thomas.

“Some guys that will make it on the first ballot have no rumors about steroids or anything else about them, so they’ll make it,” Dombrowski said.

When thinking about Trammell, Dombrowski said it wasn’t just knowing the statistics that convinced him that Trammell deserves to be in Cooperstown.

“I sat in the other dugout, watching him from the other side of the field,” said Dombrowski, who was then working for the Chicago White Sox. “This guy was just such a blue-chip player.

“Then you start looking at what happened with Lou Whitaker and getting off the ballot on the first time, and it’s just an absolute shame.

“To me, in my opinion, Morris and Trammell should be elected to the Hall of Fame. I think Tram’s really fighting a tough battle at this point because he’s so far down, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he made the veterans’ committee at some point.”