Detroit Tigers: Lou Whitaker will have his No. 1 retired this summer

(Detroit Free Press)
(Detroit Free Press) /

The Detroit Tigers made a massive announcement on February 9th with the statement that they will finally be retiring Lou Whitaker’s number one after the pandemic delayed the honors. Whitaker’s will be the tenth retired by the team and the most recent since middle infield partner Alan Trammell’s No. 3 was retired in August of 2018.

Whitaker was a member of the famous 1984 Detroit Tigers team that won the World Series. He was a career Tiger, spending 19 years in Motown and playing 2,390 games, third all-time among Tigers. Whitaker is considered by many to be one of, if not the greatest second basemen and leadoff hitter in Detroit history.

“Sweet Lou” was supposed to have his number retired in 2020, but the global pandemic has delayed the honors to August 6th, 2022, before a game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Whitaker has yet to receive the Hall of Fame support he deserves but should be looking at an entry on the 2023 Modern Baseball Committee ballot.

Whitaker won three gold gloves, four silver sluggers, the 1984 World Series, was Rookie of the Year in 1978, and was a five-time all-star throughout his career. He had a 75.1 career bWAR (fourth among Tigers), .276/.363/.426 career slash line, 2369 hits (sixth), 1197 walks (second), and 244 home runs (seventh). In his prime five-year stretch between 1983 and 1987, Lou hit .285/.356/.438 with 267 extra-base hits.

The Detroit Tigers are finally set to retire Lou Whitaker’s No.1 jersey.

The other main aspect of Lou’s career was his connection to Hall of Famer Alan Trammell. From 1977 onwards, they “did everything together”. They were roommates, middle infield partners, and best friends. They broke the AL record for games played together, surpassing 1,915 in 1995 (information courtesy of SABR). Now, Whitaker will join Trammell with his number retirement and hopefully his eventual “Hall call”.

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Overall, it is refreshing to finally see a date set for the honoring of such a beloved Tiger. In what looks to be a refreshing and resurgent Detroit season, it will be great to reflect upon the career and honors of Sweet Lou, a winner, and Tiger for life.