Alan Trammell’s major league career ended the same way it began, with a base hit up the middle.
Trammell, 38, announced after Detroit’s 7-5 loss Sunday that he is retiring after 20 seasons, all with the Tigers. The six-time All-Star and MVP of the 1984 World Series championship was no longer the team’s regular shortstop. He said the task of role-playing finally wore him down.
“The time has come for me to move on,” Trammell said into a microphone set up near second base, where he and Lou Whitaker turned so many double plays during their 19 years together. Whitaker retired at the end of the 1995 season.
“Today was my last day,” Trammell continued. “As much as it hurts to say it, it’s somewhat of a relief. Every one of us here had a dream, and I feel very fortunate to have been able to do it longer than most. And I’m very proud that I have been able to do it all with one ballclub.”
A .285 lifetime hitter, Trammell played in 2,293 games for the Tigers, a team that made him their second-round draft pick in 1976.
“It started with a line drive up the middle off Reggie Cleveland (in Boston’s Fenway Park),” Trammell said. “And I ended up with a single up the middle today. That is something that will always be special to me.”
Trammell, who had surgery on his left ankle July 31, was activated off the disabled list Sept. 1. As a result of the injury, he appeared in only 66 games of what turned out to be the worst season in the Tigers’ history. Sunday’s 10-inning loss completed a 53-109 season. The club’s old lowwater mark of 104 losses had stood since 1952.
“It wasn’t just the losing this season, although that was certainly part of it,” Trammell said. “The roleplaying finally just wore me down. I couldn’t find the niche. I wish I was stronger. I wish I could have given this team more of a lift.”
Most of the crowd, announced as 13,038, stayed for Trammell’s announcement. Players from both the Tigers and the Milwaukee Brewers gathered behind him, applauding his remarks.
“I think Alan Trammell is a great person, a most consistent player, and he carried himself as a professional both on and off the field,” Brewers coach Jim Gantner said. “He was a leader on his team. He played the same, win or lose, and that’s what made him a great pro.”
Trammell became the 169th major leaguer to drive in 1,000 runs on June 25. He ranks among Detroit’s top 10 career performers in nine primary offensive categories, including hits (2,365), runs (1,229) and games.