DETROIT TIGERS HISTORY
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Lou Whitaker

Louis Rodman (Jr.) Whitaker
Sweet Lou
Born: 5/12/1957 in Brooklyn, NY USA
Bats: L   Throws: R
Height: 5.9   Weight: 160 lb.
Lou Whitaker of the Detroit Tigers
Tiger Years
1977 — 1995

1978 Rookie of the Year
1984 World Series Champion
1987 American League East Champion
Detroit Tigers jersey #1

PRIMARY POSITION

2B

All-Time
Tigers Ranking

#3   Charlie Gehringer
#4   Lou Whitaker
#5   Alan Trammell
All rankings

Player Bio | Stats

Of those who only played second base - that is, never switched to another position to extend their career – Lou Whitaker played the longest. He was 38 when he retired and he was still an excellent offensive player and adequate in the field.

He had the best final three seasons of any second baseman, of course he was essentially a platoon player. Nevertheless, when he retired he was doing everything he was good at – drawing walks, hitting for power, and driving in runs.

Whitaker was never that much interested in being a DH, and his personality didn’t fit that role (he became distracted quite easily), which is too bad, because he could have been a fine platoon player for a couple more seasons and padded his career stats a little more. But, he’d made his money and he retired after the '95 season to be with his family. He declined a nice free agent offer from the Braves.

As a young player, Whitaker was one of the fastest players in the league, but he ran funny. As a kid he’d been pigeon-toed, and he still carried that with him a little. He had a tip-toe gate to his stride that made it seem like he wasn’t running as fast as he was. A longtime teammate of Whitaker’s said that he never saw Sweet Lou work much on base stealing, and that he refused to get signs or send signs to teammates on the bases.

Indeed, other teammates and observers concurred --- Whitaker was talented but didn’t really care much about working on the details of the game. That’s the biggest difference between he and his double play partner, Alan Trammell.

Given that he ranks seventh all-time in WAR, was the leadoff man for a World Series winner which happened to be one of the best teams in baseball history (at least for one season), and that his contemporaries awarded him with Gold Gloves and other honors, Whitaker deserved a lot more than just one year on the HOF’s writers ballot.

Career Record

YearTeam LgGABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOAVGOBPSLGGDPHBPSHSFIBB
1977DETAL113258100222460.2500.3330.28100100
1978DETAL139484711381273587761650.2850.3610.357911380
1979DETAL12742375121148342201078660.2860.3950.3781011442
1980DETAL145477681111911458473790.2330.3310.283901260
1981DETAL10933548881445365340420.2630.3400.37351333
1982DETAL15256076160228156511348580.2860.3410.43481644
1983DETAL161643942064061272171067700.3200.3800.45790288
1984DETAL1435589016125113566562630.2890.3570.40790455
1985DETAL15260910217029821736480560.2790.3620.45632559
1986DETAL14458495157266207313863700.2690.3380.437200045
1987DETAL1496041101603861659135711080.2650.3410.42751442
1988DETAL1154035411118212552066610.2750.3760.41980625
1989DETAL1485097712821128856389590.2510.3610.46273196
1990DETAL1324727511222218608274710.2370.3380.407100157
1991DETAL1384709413126223784290450.2790.3910.48932286
1992DETAL1304537712626019716481460.2780.3860.46191545
1993DETAL119383721113219673378460.2900.4120.44954744
1994DETAL92322679721212432041470.3010.3770.49181354
1995DETAL84249367314014444031410.2930.3720.51862034

Totals239085701386236942065244108414375119710990.2760.3630.42614320899179
Per 1621625819416128417731058174101665
DET239085701386236942065244108414375119710990.2760.3630.42614320899179

Postseason Batting Record

YearRound TeamLgGABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOAVGOBPSLGGDPHBPSHSFIBB
1984ALCSDETAL31432000000030.1430.1430.14300000
1984WSDETAL51865200000440.2780.4090.38910100
1987ALCSDETAL51743001110730.1760.4170.35300000

Totals1349131020111011100.2040.3500.30610100

Feats & Milestones

FeatMDYTeamLgOppLocDetails
1000th Hit001985DETAL
1500th Hit001988DETAL
2000th Hit001992DETAL

Hall of Fame Voting

YearBallotCategoryVotesPCT
2001BBWAAPlayer152.9
75% needed for election by the BBWAA