Whitaker OK with sharing number

Whitaker OK with sharing number

Published Oct. 16, 2013 8:14 p.m. ET

DETROIT -- Lou Whitaker isn't losing any sleep over Jose Iglesias wearing his No. 1.

Whitaker was at Comerica Park on Wednesday to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 4 of the ALCS, and his jersey number was the first thing mentioned when he met with the media.

"I guess I'm getting the tough questions right off the bat," Whitaker said with a laugh. "As I understand it, when he called the Tigers, he had the courage to ask for No. 1 and he got it."

At the time, there was a lot of buzz among Tiger fans, who thought the number should be retired for Whitaker, just as there was when Alan Trammell's No. 3 was given to Gary Sheffield.

Whitaker wasn't consulted about the move, but he doesn't seem to mind.

"He's just like me," Whitaker said. "I got that number as a rookie, and now he's gotten it as a rookie. I hope he keeps it for a long time and goes on to have a great career."

Whitaker and Trammell never got the Hall of Fame support they deserved from the Baseball Writers' Association of America,  but Whitaker knows that was out of his hands.

"I'm the wrong person to ask about that," he said. "I played the game, but other people make those decision.

"I'm getting close, though. I'm in the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, and I'm in the Florida State League Hall of Fame, and now I'm going into the New York Hall of Fame. Cooperstown is just down the road from there."

In the later years of his career, Whitaker spent time in the Tiger Stadium clubhouse with the son of one of his teammates, Cecil Fielder, and recalls that the kid had a big appetite.

"What I remember about Prince (Fielder) was that he loved to eat," Whitaker said. "He always had a hot dog here, a soda here and a popcorn there.

"Cecil always told me, 'Lou, he can really hit,' but I don't think anyone ever thought he'd end up being the first pick in the draft and wind up here as a superstar. I just knew he liked to eat."

Although his career belonged to Tiger Stadium, Whitaker loves the statues at Comerica Park, and admits that he's thought about one of he and Trammell turning a double play.

"I've looked out there and it would be great for us to be out there with all those great players, but sometimes you don't really get famous until you are dead," he said. "I'm OK with waiting a few more years to be dead.

"If that means it takes five, 10 or 20 years to get recognized, I'm OK with that."

Whitaker has now thrown the first pitch in Detroit three times since his retirement. The Tigers have won all three games.

They were 7-3 victors over the Boson Red Sox on Wednesday. Iglesias, who got the start at shortstop, was 1-for-3, knocked in a run and scored another.