Would Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker be in the Hall of Fame if they had played in New York?

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Here’s a fact I didn’t know: of all of the pre-1995 teams, the 1984 Tigers and the 1981 Dodgers are the only two World Series champions who do not have a player in the Hall of Fame. I would’ve guessed there were more, as it seems quite possible to build a World Series winner consisting of a lot of very good players, but apparently it’s not terribly common.

Or maybe it has more to do with Hall of Fame voters overlooking players on those two teams. Hall of Fame voters getting it wrong isn’t exactly shocking, but here it’s not a 100% satisfying answer. After all, the 1981 Dodgers don’t have anyone who stands out as an obviously overlooked Hall of Famer. Steve Garvey came the closest, but he really didn’t deserve it. Maybe if, in another dimension, someone had put Pedro Guerrero at DH and left him there for his whole career he would’ve made it. Heck, maybe the Dodgers wouldn’t have won the World Series at all if it hadn’t been a strike year with weird playoff rules. The 1981 Reds had the best record in baseball that year and didn’t even make the playoffs because of the split season. They had Tom Seaver and Johnny Bench.

But whatever we say about that Dodgers team, I hope that we can agree that the 1984 Tigers have gotten boned in the Hall of Fame department. Specifically Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker. The Detroit News has an article about the two of them and other 1984 Tigers meeting for the team’s 30th anniversary the other night and about how they’d love to be considered by the Veteran’s Committee and that they’d like to go in together.

For what it’s worth, former Tigers’ broadcaster Paul Carey has an idea why each of them got short shrift:

“It’s because we’re Detroit, and not New York or Boston. You understand that?” said Paul Carey, Ernie Harwell’s long-time partner on Tigers broadcasts. “We’re west of the Hudson River, and that’s the problem.”

It’s hard to say, of course. But I do feel like Trammell and Whitaker would have a way, way higher profile if they had done what they did in another, more glamorous city.

In other news, Whitaker and Trammell turned two at the anniversary celebration the other night:

source: Getty Images

Cardinals extend José Martínez through 2020

Jose Martinez
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First baseman/outfielder José Martínez agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals on Saturday, per a team announcement. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Martínez will receive $3.25 million in the deal plus incentives if he earns a more stable place within the starting lineup.

Martínez, 30, played 887 games in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Cardinals at the tail end of the 2016 season. The veteran first baseman has been nothing but productive in the three years since his debut, however, and turned in a career-best performance in 2018 after slashing .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 plate appearances. While he brings some positional flexibility to the table, he’ll be forced to compete against Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill for a full-time gig in right field this year, as Paul Goldschmidt currently has a lock on first base.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the extension wasn’t solely precipitated by Martínez’s productivity in the majors, but by a competing offer from an unnamed Japanese team over the offseason. Goold adds that Martínez would have earned “significantly more than he would in the majors” had the club sold his rights. In the end, they ultimately elected to ink him to a more lucrative deal themselves. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2020.