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Lou Whitaker

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Louis Rodman Whitaker Jr.
(Sweet Lou)

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[edit] Biographical Information

Lou Whitaker was born in New York but was raised in Martinsville, Virginia and played for the Martinsville High School Bulldogs as a pitcher. A second baseman in the majors, he spent his entire career with the Detroit Tigers. He was known throughout his career as a very private person and spoke very little to the media.

When Whitaker won the 1978 American League Rookie of the Year Award, he was the youngest AL Rookie of the Year. He would hold the record for 34 years before Mike Trout broke it.

At the 1985 All Star Game in Minnesota, Whitaker left his uniform in his car at the airport in Detroit. When Whitaker realized his error, an emergency uniform was flown in but lost in transit. Whitaker was forced to purchase a replica jersey from a vendor, write the number 1 on the back, wear a Cleveland Indians batting helmet, and borrow a glove from Cal Ripken Jr.. To add insult to injury, Whitaker went 0-2 in the game.

  • Appeared in an episode of Magnum PI in 1984 (along with Alan Trammell)(Magnum PI Season 4 Episode: A Sense of Debt. At minute 27 of the 48 minute episode.)[1]

During his career, it was generally assumed that Whitaker would get into the Hall of Fame. His one year on the BBWAA ballot did not yield many votes, but he will likely be seen with interest many years from now by the Veterans Committee. The three most similar players to Whitaker based on the similarity scores method give a sense why he will be a good candidate: Ryne Sandberg, Alan Trammell, and Roberto Alomar.

  1. (Magnum PI Season 4 Episode: A Sense of Debt. At minute 27 of the 48 minute episode.)
Magnum PI Season 4 Episode: A Sense of Debt. At minute 27 of the 48 minute episode.

[edit] Notable Achievements


AL Rookie of the Year
1977 1978 1979
Eddie Murray Lou Whitaker John Castino & Alfredo Griffin

[edit] Further Reading

  • John Milner: "Lou Whitaker", in Mark Pattison and David Raglin, ed.: Detroit Tigers 1984: What A Start! What A Finish!, SABR Publications, Phoenix, AZ, 2012, pp. 159-163. ISBN 978-1933599441

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