Alan Trammell turned 59 on Tuesday.
It seems like he should be older.
After all, Trammell first appeared on a baseball card in the 1970s. Truth is, he was just a kid when he made his big league debut several months earlier—a 19-year-old from Garden Grove, CA—who would form one of the most memorable double play combinations of all-time.
The Trammell File
Trammell’s face would continue to appear on cardboard—always as a Detroit Tiger—through the 1980s and much of the 90s before he finally hung it up—still in his 30s but having been hampered by injuries that robbed him of several full seasons that might have made him a more obvious choice to be elected to the Hall of Fame. He’s not in there—not yet—but Trammell has a fairly solid following among collectors, especially Tiger fans who grew up watching his steady play at shortstop throughout the 1980s.
The 1984 World Series MVP, Trammell collected 2365 hits, played in six All-Star Games and won four Gold Gloves.
It’s hard to find a more powerful 1970s baseball card than Trammell’s 1978 Topps rookie. He shares it with Paul Molitor, then a Brewers prospect who went on to reach 3,000 hits and a fairly quick election to Cooperstown. Often plagued by a print smudge that was apparent early in the production process but apparently corrected later, the card generally sells for $400-$450 in a graded ‘Mint 9’ older. That price has changed little over the last five years. Those rated 8.5 by PSA and SGC typically sell for $100-$150 and 8s are usually $55-$65.
Trammell also appears by himself on the 1978 Tigers Burger King set, produced by Topps and distributed as part of a regional promotion that summer. Much harder to find than the flagship four-player offering, the BK Trammell rookie is nonetheless less expensive at the high-end.
End of One Era; Beginning of Another
Trammell’s first nationally distributed Topps card came in 1979 and he was a fixture on the company’s products for the rest of his career, also appearing in many of the 1980s sidebar sets that became prevalent.
Trammell’s earliest O-Pee-Chee cards, issued in Canada and available in far less quantities than those printed south of the border, are surprisingly inexpensive, even in high grade.
At age 21 in 1980, Trammell had his first .300 season, the first of seven seasons in which he reached that mark. It was the last time he’d appear in only Topps and OPC flagship sets as Fleer and Donruss entered the game beginning in 1981.
Donruss infamously misspelled Trammell’s last name in both the 1982 regular and Diamond King sets, leaving off the second ‘l’ of his last name. Both versions are fairly plentiful, though.
1980s and 90s
The Tigers’ success and Trammell’s status as one of baseball’s top shortstops means you’ll have to do some digging for some of the regional sets he was a part of in the 1980s. From Cain’s Potato Chips to the everpresent disc card sets, his career card checklist is fairly sizeable. In all, there are nearly 600 cards in the Alan Trammell Master Set checklist listed on PSA’s registry, covering cards issued from 1978-1997.
Since he’s not a member of the Hall of Fame, Trammell isn’t part of a lot of checklists for today’s issues but has signed for Panini’s baseball releases in recent years.
You can see all of Trammell’s cards on eBay by clicking here.