Barry Larkin is almost certain to be elected to the Hall of Fame in about a week. He was the best National League shortstop for a decade. He was a Cincinnati native who spent his whole career with the Reds (not really a Hall of Fame factor but makes for an uncluttered plaque.)
A former MVP, winner of 9 Silver Sluggers, 3 Gold Gloves, he had a lifetime .815 OPS with power, speed and help lead the Reds to the 1990 World Series title.
And yet Alan Trammell has virtually the same resume and is considered a long shot at best.
Each played roughly the same amount of games.
Larkin - 2,180
Trammell - 2,293
Each hit close to the same amount of homers (with Larkin playing in a more home run friendly stretch.)
Larkin - 198
Trammell - 185
Their OPS+ were right around the same level
Larkin - 116
Trammell - 110
Both won multiple Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers.
Trammell would have matched Larkin's MVP if the voters went with him instead of George Bell like many thought they should have in 1987.
Both had a solid 6 or 7 year peak in the center of their career.
And Trammell, along with Cal Ripken, transformed the shortstop position from an All Field No Hit position to a power one, paving the way for Barry Larkin and the great shortstops of the 1990s and 2000s.
I still don't understand WAR, but only 68 non pitchers have a higher WAR all time than Trammell. Right behind him are Hall of Famers Eddie Murray and Pee Wee Reese.
If I ever get around to figuring out WAR, that will impress the Hell out of me.
But his World Series MVP in 1984 and his cameo on Magnum P.I. impressed me enough to give him a second, third and fourth look.
Larkin deserves a spot in the Hall. As does Tim Raines. I've always been a big fan of Trammell's Tiger teammate Jack Morris but I am resigned to the fact that he won't get in.
But I hope Trammell gets some votes and some momentum. The next bunch of years will be some of the least fun ballots in Hall of Fame history.
Bonds and Clemens will be on soon and mixing it up with Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire et al to make for some awful "Should steroid users be in the Hall?" debates.
Maybe someone like Trammell can benefit from that. A guy to vote for while that ugliness is going on.
And if so, take a look at his career.
It is no charity case.
It's a compelling one.