It’s been a while since I did a “Guy Before The Guy” post, so to recap the idea behind this topic… I do a little digging into retired uniform numbers and find out who the next-to-last guy to wear the number was …In other words, the guy before the guy for whom the number was retired.
This time around I thought I’d focus on two Hall-Of-Famers who share a 1978 rookie card, Alan Trammell and Paul Molitor.
Alan Trammell, Tigers, #3
Tito Fuentes wore #3 for the Tigers in 1977 but after the season his contract was sold to the Expos so Tito and his headband headed north of the border.
Side note for any musicians out there trying to find a good name for your band: You could do a lot worse than “Tito And The Headband”.
Meanwhile, Alan Trammell wore #42 during his September, 1977 callup – BOTH of his numbers are retired, ooooh — but took over #3 starting in 1978.
In one of those situations at which I scoff – SCOFF, I TELL YOU! – there had been two players who wore #3 *after* Trammell retired: Gary Sheffield and Ian Kinsler. I suppose there could’ve been bad blood after Trammell’s managerial stint, but otherwise it doesn’t seem like his number should’ve been retired if they were willing to give it away twice.
OK, off the soapbox and on to the next number…
Paul Molitor, Brewers, #4
Mike Hegan played his second stint with the Brewers from 1974 to 1977; however, he wore #6 for most of that time.
When the Brewers signed three-time World Champion and four-time All-Star Sal Bando after the 1976 season, Hegan switched to #4 so that Bando could continue wearing #6. The Brewers released Mike Hegan in July, 1977 and nobody wore #4 until Molitor made his MLB debut on opening day of the 1978 season.
And now you know who was the guy before the guy.
I started this post back in December and the first draft included this scan of a 1976 Topps Terry Humphrey… Only I can’t remember why.
If anyone can establish a link between Trammell (or Molitor) and Humphrey… well… have at it.