Finally, the date is set for Lou Whitaker.
The Detroit Tigers will retire Whitaker’s No. 1 jersey on Aug. 6, in a pregame ceremony before facing the Tampa Bay Rays at Comerica Park, the team announced Tuesday.
Retiring Whitaker’s number was originally announced in December 2019. A ceremony was slated for the 2020 season, but the Tigers postponed the ceremony because fans were not allowed in the ballpark due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other former Tigers already have retired numbers: Charlie Gehringer (No. 2), Alan Trammell (No. 3), Hank Greenberg (No. 5), Al Kaline (No. 6), Sparky Anderson (No. 11), Hal Newhouser (No. 16), Willie Horton (No. 23) and Jack Morris (No. 47).
The ceremony for Whitaker in August marks the Tigers’ first jersey retirement since Trammell in August 2018. As a second baseman, Whitaker turned double players with Trammell for nearly 20 seasons.
Whitaker, who turns 65 in May, will be the ninth Tiger to have his number retired, though he isn’t in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was worth 75.1 WAR, according to Baseball Reference, tied with Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench for 80th in baseball history.
Trammell, by the way, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2018.
Whitaker spent his entire 19-year MLB career with the Tigers, hitting .276 with 244 home runs, 1,084 RBIs and a .363 on-base percentage, to go with a 11% strikeout rate and 12.0% walk rate. He stole 143 bases and played 2,390 games.
The second baseman was the 1978 American League Rookie of the Year and helped the Tigers win the 1984 World Series. He was a five-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger and three-time Gold Glove winner.
Whitaker was on the Hall of Fame ballot for one year, 2001, but received only 2.9% of the vote. He was a finalist on the new Modern Era Committee in 2019 — the group elected Trammell and Morris in 2017 — but Whitaker fell short of the 12 out of 16 votes needed from that committee, which reconvenes later this year.
The Tigers drafted Whitaker in the fifth round of the 1975 draft.