“It’s embarrassing and despicable, what the Hall voters are doing to Trammell’s legacy.”

It’s not a question, anymore, of whether Alan Trammell is a Hall of Famer. Sadly, that debate seems to be getting squashed with each passing year. His chances have pretty much drained away.

What’s of more concern is why he’s been so brutally ignored.

They had the yearly ballotting on Monday, and Rickey Henderson, as expected, was elected on the first try, gathering well over 90% of the votes. Understood. Henderson had over 3,000 hits, and is the all-time base stealer in MLB history.

Jim Rice made it — on his 15th and final appearance on the ballot. Rice’s next chance wouldn’t have come until he was eligible to be voted on by the Veterans Committee.

Rice, it should be pointed out, didn’t slug one more home run, drive in one more run, or gather one more base hit in those fifteen years. Yet he’s a Hall of Famer in 2009, when he wasn’t in 2008, or 2003, or 1999. I’ll leave that one to you to figure out.

I have no problem with Rice, though his career numbers don’t knock your Red Sox off. He was, in his time, one of the more feared hitters in baseball. His brute strength was legendary. This isn’t a Hall prerequisite, but Jim Rice could club a golf ball some 400 yards off a tee. Easily.

You can debate Rice’s qualifications till the cows come home. It would be a fun debate, too, because I believe you could make a strong case both ways.

But back to Trammell.

The former Tigers shortstop was again buried in the voting results, somewhere near the dudes who are clearly not Hall of Famers. It’s getting worse now. It’s almost mean-spirited, the lack of love Alan Trammell gets during Hall voting time.

Forget Lou Whitaker. Tram’s double play partner vanished from the ballot a while ago. He, too, won’t reappear until the Veterans have their crack at him. Whitaker is another who was tossed back into the ocean.

I’ve said it before: if those two played in New York, they’d be in Cooperstown by now. Or, at the very least, they’d be Jim Rice-like — knocking on the door.

I’m torn on Trammell and Whitaker, truthfully. If you play the comparison game — putting their numbers up against Hall members who played their positions — you could make a strong case for induction. But if you play the Wow Factor — that intangible feeling you get when you see a sure-fire Hall of Famer’s name — then I wonder. Then, it becomes more murky.

But as I said at the top, the debate about Trammell’s Hall worthiness is the train that’s left the station. Say goodbye to it, and get comfy while you wait for the Veterans car to come down the tracks.

Why is what Trammell (and Whitaker, for that matter) accomplished scorned so? Whose kid did he slay? Whose corn flakes got peed on?

It’s embarrassing and despicable, what the Hall voters are doing to Trammell’s legacy.

He’s being treated as a commoner, like a Bobby Bonilla or Ron Gant type.

Ok, so Trammell wasn’t Ozzie Smith, in terms of panache or flair. He didn’t do back flips on the field, or have a catchy nickname like The Wizard of Oz. All Tram did was make all the right plays, at all the right times. Substance over style. Oh, and he could hit a bit, too. Before players like Trammell came along, shortstops were chained to the eighth spot in the batting order, just above pitcher. After the DH was enacted, the shortstops routinely took over the pitcher’s no. 9 spot in the order. But after Trammell, and Cal Ripken Jr., and others, and after we saw that shortstops could hit (imagine!), suddenly they were batting cleanup and third and leadoff.

So you can say that Trammell was part of a contingent who changed the game.

But, that and a quarter will get you a cup of coffee, and nothing else, I’m afraid. Alan Trammell won’t be a Hall of Famer — unless it happens many years hence.

It’ll be up to the Veterans Committee to give him some overdue respect. Because he sure never got it from these jokers.

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