MLB News: Tigers Retire 'Sweet Lou' Whitaker's Number

Lou Whitaker
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Sports
Tristin McKinstry

The Detroit Tigers have had very little to celebrate in 2022. The team has been awful, with an anemic offense and a starting rotation being held together with sticks and dried-out bubble gum.

However, none of that mattered on Saturday. 30,000 Tigers fans coming from all different walks of life flooded Comerica Park to witness a team legend finally get the respect he deserves.

The Tigers retired Lou Whitaker's jersey number prior to the team's 9-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. It was a celebration that was a long time coming.

Whitaker was the 1978 Rookie of the Year, a five-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove award winner, and a World Series champion in 1984. He is considered one of the greatest second basemen of all time.

'Looooouuuuuuuu'

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The Tigers began the ceremony by playing a video on the left-field video board. The was narrated by actor J.K. Simmons and depicted many of the former World Series champion's greatest moments.

Then, Tigers radio voice and master of ceremonies Dan Dickerson took the stage. Following him was former Tigers shortstop and manager Alan Trammell, whose career is inextricably linked with Whitaker's.

However, at times, it was hard to hear them or the video. Chants of "Looooouuuuuuuu" rained down, the full force of 30,000 fans on display. It harkened back to the second baseman's playing days and showed just how much Sweet Lou meant to the city of Detroit.

'A Great Baseball Town'

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Whitaker took to the stage built upon the Comerica Park infield. It was fitting, despite Whitaker having never taken the field at Comerica Park.

He began with a joke, saying that former Tigers ace Jack Morris finally thanked him for all the years of service. He continued by paying respect to the city he called home for 19 seasons.

"I want to give love to the city of Detroit," he said. "A great baseball town. And all of Michigan and the great fans that we have all over this country. They love their Tigers and they will always love their Tigers."

Hall of Fame?

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Trammell played one more season than Whitaker. They came through the minor leagues together and were the double-play tandem in Detroit for nearly two decades.

He told the Comerica faithful that he was happy to see Whitaker's number 1 on the left-field wall because "there wouldn’t be a No. 3 on the wall without the No. 1."

But more so, Trammell wants to see what many baseball fans want to see: Whitaker enshrined in Cooperstown.

"I couldn’t be more honored to have No. 1 next to No. 3, linked together forever," Trammell said. "And you know what’s next? The Hall of Fame."

A Great Moment

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While Whitaker will have to wait and see if he's finally elected to the Hall via the Era Committees in December, he is savoring the memories created by Saturday's ceremony.

"This will be one of the greatest moments in my life," Whitaker told 30,000 Tigers fans on Saturday. "Just knowing that my number will be retired, and I have a chance to see my name on the wall with those legends from Tigers history."

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