Dan's Dugout: Tiger Tandem Humbled by Hall Vote • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Tiger Tandem Humbled by Hall Vote

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL – Every vote counts.

Just as the U.S. Supreme Court effectively decided Bush v. Gore by a 5-4 margin, a single vote stood between Ted Simmons and the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The long-term slugging catcher garnered 11 votes from the 16-man Veterans Committee Sunday as the Baseball Winter Meetings opened in this frigid Florida playground.

The proud Tigers will retire Alan Trammell’s No. 3 in 2018

The same committee elected Alan Trammell, who hit .285 while spending his entire career as the shortstop of the Tigers, and former Detroit teammate Jack Morris, who later was a big-game pitcher for the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays.

Also bypassed, in addition to Simmons, were two-time MVP Dale Murphy, along with Steve Garvey, Don Mattingly, Luis Tiant, Dave Parker, and former union chief Marvin Miller.

Morris got his congratulatory phone call from Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark Sunday at 5:45, just 15 minutes before the official announcement of the vote on Major League Baseball Network.

She asked him not to tell anyone until 6:15, after the televised announcement. “I waited 18 years for this and now I have to wait another half-hour?” he said. “I’d like to call my wife.”

Trammell told media members here that he learned of his election as he stepped off a plane at Orlando International Airport. He too was asked to keep it under wraps, which he did until he reached the baggage claim where a contingent of baseball bethren from the same plan gave him the thumbs-up.

Jack Morris won four World Series rings en route to the Hall of Fame

“There were a bunch of children heading for Disney World on my flight,” he said, “and I tried to keep my voice down when I heard the news.”

Morris, who won more games during the ‘80s than any other pitcher, was known as a great competitor. But his feelings got the best of him Monday morning.

“I’ll get through this,” he said as his baritone voice choked with emotion. “At least now that I’m in I don’t have to worry about getting in anymore.”

The former pitcher, who pitched for four world champions, thanked the committee that elected him. “I even see guys I beat sitting there,” he said of Atlanta Braves vice chairman John Schuerholz and former manager Bobby Cox, both Hall of Famers themselves.

In his only Game 7, Jack Morris pitched a 10-inning shutout in 1991

Morris and Trammell both turned professional in 1976, drafted and signed by the Tigers in the same draft class that also produced Dan Petry, another Detroit pitcher.

A durable righthander, Morris pitched a no-hitter during the Tigers’ world championship season, clipping the Chicago White Sox with his early-season gem on April 7. But the best game of his career was the 1-0, 10-inning shutout for the Minnesota Twins against the Atlanta Braves in the last game of the 1991 World Series.

Trammell, Most Valuable Player of the 1984 World Series, played from 1977-96 and was Morris’ teammate in Detroit for 14 years.

Both credited the late Sparky Anderson, a Hall of Fame manager who won World Series in both leagues, for molding their careers.

“He was like my brother and my father,” Morris said. “I wanted to hug him and kick him in the butt at the same time.”

Trammell said Anderson was his mentor. “When he batted me ninth, I didn’t want to bat ninth but I deserved it,” said the former infielder, later a major-league manager himself.

Alan Trammell and Jack Morris were part of the same draft class in 1976

The two former Tigers will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown on July 29 along with anyone chosen by the Baseball Writers Association of America. That vote, to be announced next month, is expected to include Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, and last year’s almost-but-not-quite duo, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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