Dec 1, 2010
non-HOF Profile Derby #17: Lou Whitaker
Just a reminder: the contest will run until Friday evening at 11:59 PM PST. Comment to win an unopened box of 1993 Fleer Flair.
Next, is one of part of a long-time keystone pairing in Detroit (and really a true HOF omission)Sweet Lou Whitaker.
Place on the WAR chart: : Below Johnny Bench and Billy Hamilton and above Brooks Robinson and Luke Appling. He is the 2nd highest rated eligible player (non-pitcher) not in the HOF.
Career Overview and Some Numbers:Played for the Tigers from 1977-1995 almost exclusively as a 2B. Won ROY in 1978. Also had 5 All-Star appearances, 3 Gold Gloves, and 4 Silver Sluggers. What defined him and maybe made him overlooked is that he never led the league in any one category (or finished in the top 10 very often). However, he only finished with an OPS+ below 100 once in a full season (incredible for a second baseman) and had 5 seasons of greater than 130 OPS+. Most similar players numbers-wise were Ryne Sandberg, Alan Trammell, and Roberto Alomar.
Best Season:Hard to say really, since he didn't have standout seasons, but really a long string of good to great seasons. How about 1983: Hit .320/.380/.457 (133 OPS+) with 94 R, 12 HR, 72 R, 40 2B and 67 BB: 70 K.
The Final Numbers:: .276/.363/.426 (116 OPS+) with 1386 R, 420 2B, 244 HR, 1084 RBI and 1197:1099 BB:K
Why He Should be Remembered:: Steadiness as a good-to-great player is easily forgotten when it comes to HOF voting. Second baseman with his stats are not common. Especially, uncommon is the longevity with which he was able to maintain his level of performance. Witness the career path of Roberto Alomar or Ryne Sandberg(higher peaks and steeper declines than Whitaker). Also, was a great fielding 2B, accumulating more defensive WAR over his career than Ryne Sandberg with a higher range factor. Was also a key figure on the historically great 1984 Tigers team.
HOF Balloting Performance:one year on the ballot with 2.9% vote in 2001.
Rookie Card:: 1978 Topps #704
Modern Cards:: 2001 Topps Archives Auto, 2002 Stadium Club World Champion relic,