Thank you for that. The post you responded to was an example of the dangers of those who never were there making educated extrapolations based on a line of numbers.Saw Trammell his entire career, and this is what went down in Detroit.
1991: Trammell was the starting SS and broke his ankle in a game in July of that year (I was at that game, and Trammell jacked up his ankle when he came down hard on the bag at 1st after beating out his second infield single.) Fryman was the regular 3B at that point and moved to short for the remainder of the season.
1992: Trammell hit the ground running as the starting SS for the Tigers, and re-injured the ankle early in the season and was done for the year. Fryman who started the season at 3B takes over at SS for the rest of the season.
1993: Sparky brings Trammell into spring training and turns him into a "Super Sub" playing him at 3B, LF and CF in Spring Training. Trammell opens the season platooning with Scott Lusader at 3B only playing against LH pitchers. Trammell is moved back to SS full time in August of that season because Fryman is an "error machine" and he remains a Third Baseman for the rest of his career. Lusader, who was playing well blasted Sparky in the press and he was run out of Detroit soon afterward. Trammell takes the reigns at short for the rest of the season and plays a solid SS, setting himself up for the '94 season as the starter with Chris Gomez coming up from the minors.
1994: Trammell is healthy and hitting and fielding well when Sparky gets his latest hunch and tells Trammell to step aside so they can find out if Chris Gomez is the Tigers SS of the future. Gomez shifts to 2B against LH (Whitaker at this point was a platoon player) and Trammell plays SS. The strike ended that season as we all know.
1995: Gomez turns out to be very shaky with the glove, ends up in Sparky's doghouse and Trammell is reinstated at SS to finish out the season.
1996: Trammell plays one more season after Whitaker hangs em up as a part time player. Gomez is traded to the Padres, and Trammell retires at the end of the season.
A lot of people have a tendency to comment on the amount of games Trammell was playing per season. One of the reasons was in Detroit Sparky always found playing time/At Bats for his bench, so most of his starters were rarely hitting 150+ games played in a season. He was always able to find AB's and PT for guys like Tom Brookens, Doug Baker, Mark Wagner, Scotty Earl Mark DeJohn, Stan Papi.....you get the picture. The only player that never really came out of the lineup for Sparky was Travis Fryman who was a machine and Tony Phillips.
The emergence of ARod, Jeter, and Nomar: Ushered in the era of the offensive SS these guys came out of the gates so fast and were so closely associated with each other and were still producing when Trammell came up on the ballot for the first time that his career paled in comparison to the SS that were currently playing and Ripkens career had yet to go cold.
Yount and Ripken and Ozzie: The first two gentlemen were contemporaries of Trammell and put up better power numbers/counting stats at the same time Trammell was in the AL and they won when they put those numbers up early so picking up ground on them was a little tough. Ozzie....well he was just Ozzie.
Some of the things that I recall about Trammell, is that he had a very broad set of skills offensively, the biggest being the ability to put the bat on the ball. He never had huge walk totals, but never struck out more than 73 times in a season. After the 1982 season he closed his stance and started to turn on the ball with more authority and he pretty much owned the inside of the plate, and became a very good hitting SS.
Defensively he patterned his play after Mark Belanger and Eddie Brinkman. Always an overhand thrower, he won Gold Gloves with some of the best instincts and fundamental play of his era, not with a lot of flash and acrobatics. By the end of his career he had the range of a lawn chair, but positioned himself very well and did not make mistakes when the ball was hit to him. Never saw him dive for balls, as he was always in position.
Sad to say, but in the eyes of HOF voters fundamentally sound players are BORING because they make it look easy.
There was no SS in Baseball at the time better at CORRECTLY fielding a ground ball during his time and he turned the 4-6-3 DP the way it was diagramed on the chalkboard. Scouts were VERY impressed with Trammell's defense and said his arm was "as accurate as an atomic clock". He was also rated by coaches and managers as the league smartest player (Baseball sense) at least three times.