Black History Heroes

Lou Whitaker of the Detroit Tigers bats during an Major League...

Lou Whitaker of the Detroit Tigers bats during an Major League Baseball game circa 1991 at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan. Whitaker played for the Tigers from 1977-95. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

The Baseball Hall of Fame has yet to welcome in Lou Whitaker, but The Detroit Tigers aren’t waiting any longer.

According to The Detroit News, the Tigers are retiring Whitaker’s No. 1. They announced today, that they will retire Whitaker’s number on August 6th during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Comerica Park. The number was set to be retired in 2020, but because of Covid-19, it was postponed.

 

Whitaker’s No. 1 will be the 11th number retired by the Tigers. Among those retired includes the “no number” of Ty Cobb and No. 42 of Jackie Robinson. Alan Trammell’s No. 3 was retired in August 2018.

But while Trammell has been added to the Hall of Fame, Whitaker has not. And both Trammell and Whitaker made up one of the longest-running double-play combos in major league history. “No.1 with No. 3 on the wall at Comerica Park, as it should be. Trammell shared in an announcement video released by the Tigers.

 

At 64 years old, Whitaker played his entire 19 years with the Tigers. He played from 1977- to 1995. He was also a three-time Gold Glove winner and five-time All-Star. And 1978’s American League rookie of the year.

Throughout history, the Tigers mostly have retired numbers of Hall of Famers, with the exception of Willie Horton’s No. 23. But after Whitaker missed out on the veterans committee ballot, the Tigers changed their way of thinking about it.

“It brings a smile to my face,” said Lance Parrish, a longtime teammate of Whitaker’s in Detroit.

Said Dan Petry, another former teammate: “When I look up there and I see that No. 1, I can sit there and say, ‘I played with that guy, I played with greatness.’”