Just In: Your 1976 Rebels Had Two Hall of Famers
Montgomery baseball history was enriched this weekend with the announcement that former Rebels Alan Trammell and Jack Morris would enter Cooperstown after the Modern Era Committee voted for their enshrinement in The Baseball Hall Of Fame.
Both appeared in Montgomery in 1976, both finished their first pro season that year in Rebels uniforms, playing for veteran manager Les Moss. Both players struggled mightily that summer, but both would go on to successful careers for the Detroit Tigers and for Morris, the Twins, Blue Jays and Indians.
This marks the second Montgomery team with two Hall of Famers, way back in 1893 the team roster held both veteran Fred Clarke at first base and young pitcher Joe McGinnity on his first campaign.
Trammell would return to the Rebels in 1977 where he would be paired for the first time with his double-play partner for life in Lou Whitaker.
FROM MONTGOMERY TO THE MAJORS
Trammell and Lou Whitaker both got a September callup to Detroit and never appeared in another minor league game, skipping triple-A entirely.
When Alan made his debut at the age of 19 was the youngest player in MLB, literally going from Montgomery to the Majors. Trammell and Whitaker both debuted on September 9th 1977 and worked side by side for nineteen years.
Many feel that Whitaker should have been enshrined alongside Trammell, but now that won't happen.
On checking his career numbers, the stat that jumped off the page for me was 1002 RBI's, an impressive total for a shortstop known more for consistent defensive ability than his batting prowess. Trammell had twelve seasons of fifty or more runs batted in and in 1987 drove in over a hundred.
Alan Trammell becomes the first former Montgomery player in the Hall of Fame that played more than one season in the capitol city. He also earned a pair of championship rings with the Rebels.
With Montgomery in 1976, Morris pitched in a dozen games, nine starts and three relief appearances. Morris was less than stellar that summer, remembered more for his painful 6.25 ERA than his paltry 2-3 win loss record with Montgomery.
Jack had good stuff, striking out one batter per inning on average, unfortunately he didn't have any control so he also walked one hitter per inning. Plus a few hit by pitch.
Morris did not allow a home run during his time with the Rebels. But he was knocked around for twenty-five earned runs in just thirty-six innings and didn't complete any of the games he started.
Which may help account for there not being a photo of him with Montgomery.
PROMOTED TO DETROIT
He was promoted to triple-A in 1977 and made his MLB debut in July of that year. Jack was added to the Tigers roster to replace another former Rebel, Mark Fidrych had just been placed on the disabled list. Morris made his first start in Texas against Bert Blyleven, with both starters pitching nine innings each but the game was won by Texas in the 10th inning so no decision for Jack.
Over his stellar career, Jack Morris was a twenty game winner twice, had one season with 19 W's and two more with 18 victories. He completed 178 games, twenty eight were shutouts and tossed a no hitter in 1984. Braves fans will recall his 10 inning victory in game seven of the 1991 World Series against Atlanta's John Smoltz.
Jack Morris' career was hampered by many thing over the course of his 18 years in the bigs. Arm injuries were a factor, as was collusion by owners during the 1980s and eventually the strike of 1994 brought an end to his major league time. But he learned to use a split fingered pitch to dominate when he was healthy and earned the respect of his peers as a big game pitcher.
UPDATED HOF LIST
So we can update the list of former Montgomery players who are in the Hall of Fame:
Fred Clarke 1893
Joe McGinnity 1893
Casey Stengel 1912
Turkey Stearnes 1921
Earl Weaver 1956
Alan Trammel 1976-77
Jack Morris 1976