Tigers to retire Lou Whitaker’s number
The Detroit Tigers are breaking with precedent and retiring a player’s number who has not been inducted into the Hall of Fame.* That player is Lou Whitaker. His number 1 will be retired next season, the Tigers just announced.
It’s being done, I presume, because like the rest of us, the Tigers are tired of waiting for the Hall of Fame to get its act together with respect to Whitaker’s more-then-worthy candidacy. A candidacy which was snubbed once again last week by the Modern Baseball Era Committee.
I’ve been advocating for the Tigers to retire Whitaker’s number for some time. As I wrote over four years ago, when both his number 1 and Alan Trammell’s number 3 were both being worn by other players:
Trammell, of course, got the honor after his Hall of Fame induction. Gary Sheffield and Ian Kinsler each wore his number 3 after he did, but no one else has or ever will. Since Whitaker retired Iglesias and then, last year, Josh Harrison wore number 1. Now no one else will.
As it should be.
*Willie Horton’s number 23 was eventually retired despite his not being in the Hall of Fame, primarily on the power of Horton’s stature in the Detroit community as a native of the city and a long-time Tigers front office employee and team ambassador.