Larkin is in, Trammell is not, and likely won’t ever be. This despite the fact that they were remarkably similar players. Grant Brisbee takes that up over at SB Nation today and, after doing the standard statistical comparison, he adds a couple of new wrinkles to that now-familiar lament. The first: Trammell suffered because Cal Ripken was a contemporary and thus keeps him out of the “best shortstop in his league” conversation.
The other one is something I hadn’t thought of before:
Another difference between Larkin and Trammell is that the latter had a sidekick who was also worthy of the Hall of Fame. For just under two decades, Lou Whitaker played along Trammell, making All-Star teams and hitting at a position where most teams shouldn’t have a hitter. The two rode around on tandem bikes and finished each other’s sentences, and there might have been a tendency to pretend that the whole was greater than the sum of its parts. If Trammell played a couple decades with Doug Flynn, maybe he would have stood out more.
Makes sense. And explains why Whitaker got less support than he should have too. Criminally less, given that he fell off the ballot in his first year of eligibility despite stacking up quite nicely with many Hall of Fame second basemen.