Player: Bubba Trammell
Born: November 6th, 1971 (Currently 43 years old)
Positions: LF, RF, and DH
Start of Tenure: On November 18th, 1997 selected by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays from the Detroit Tigers with the 22nd pick of the expansion draft
End of Tenure: On July 28th, 2000 traded with Rick White to the New York Mets in exchange for Jason Tyner and Paul Wilson
* - Didn't appear in MLB game
Currently: Retired in 2007, currently living in Knoxville, TN where his children are attending college
Rays Stat Line: In 207 games, slashed .285/.362/.513 with 33 HR, 107 RBI, 3 SB, and accumulated 2.8 WAR
Bubba Trammell was originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles on June 1st, 1992 in the 16th round of the draft. He chose not to sign, but instead to enroll in his beloved hometown University in Knoxville. Trammell excelled at UT and two years later, he was drafted by Detroit Tigers in the 11th round of the 1994 draft and this time he signed within a week.
The Tigers assigned Trammell to Low-A Jamestown, where he would lead the team in numerous offensive categories, including hits and homeruns. In 65 games, he slashed .298/.355/.489 with 5 HR and 41 RBI.
In 1995, Trammell skipped a level and was sent to High-A Lakeland where he again dominated offensively, leading the team in multiple categories. In 122 games, he slashed .284/.350/.474 with 16 HR and 72 RBI.
In 1996, Trammell would have his best year yet as a professional. The Tigers assigned him to Double-A Jacksonville. After playing 80+ games in Jacksonville, Trammell earned a midseason promotion to Triple-A Toledo, where he continued to punish the baseball. Trammell finished the year having played in a combined 134 games between the two levels. He slashed .316/.391/.605 with 33 HR and 99 RBI during the year.
With such an impressive year, Trammell garnered attention throughout the leauge. In June, he was named the Southern League Player of the Month while he was with Jacksonville. He was also named to the Double-A allstar team. Trammell was also sent to play in the Arizona Fall League after the season and dominated there, being named the Co-MVP.
During the offseason, Trammell was named the 3rd best prospect in the Tigers system by Baseball America.
Side note: a couple of future Rays were also named to the 1997 Tigers top 10 list by BA (Raul Casanova and Gabe Kapler).
Being a Quad-A Player
Trammell went in spring training with the goal of earning a spot on the big league roster. He would achieve this goal, and was the starting DH on opening day, batting 7th (he'd go 0-3). Trammell recorded his first major league hit on April 3rd, against Scott Aldred. A week later, on the 10th, Trammell belted his first career HR and coincidentally it came against Aldred.
Trammell had a hot streak for a two week period at the beginning of the season, but then his bat began to slip and he was demoted back to Triple-A on May 11th. Trammell regained his confidence in Triple-A, crushing the minor league pitching. During one game in August, Trammell homered 4 times, becoming the only Mudhen to do so. The Tigers called Trammell back up on the 29th, but again he struggled in his limited playing time.
On November 18th, 1997 the Tigers left Trammell unprotected for the upcoming expansion draft, so with the 22nd pick, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays selected the young slugger.
Trammell made the Devil Rays inaugural opening day roster, although he wasn't in the starting lineup. Trammell would only appear in 6 games off the bench before being demoted to Triple-A Durham on April 14th. At Durham, Trammell again proved that he could more than handle himself at Triple-A, and forced another trip to the show.
In July, the Devil Rays gave Trammell another chance. For about a month and a half, he was one of Tampa Bay's better offensive player, hitting over .300 during that span. He would finish the season having played in 59 games and slashed .286/.338/.568 with 12 HR and 35 RBI. Trammell's 12 HR put him 3rd on the team in that category, despite only playing in a third of the team's games.
In 1999, Trammell was one of Tampa Bay's final spring training cuts and he also had to deal with a slump out the gate, as he struggled in Durham. In May though, Trammell turned it around as he began to torch the minor league pitching. On June 14th, Trammell was called up again and he would still on the Devil Rays roster for the rest of the year. He again became one of the team's dominant bats as he slashed .290/.384/.505 with 14 HR and 39 RBI in 82 games.
Achieving Big League Success
In 2000, Trammell finally was able to spend a full season in the major leagues. He wasn't a starter for the D-Rays, but he did do well in his limited playing time. After continuing to hit well, Trammell finally secured more playing time and continued to do well with the bat.
Heading into the 2000 trade deadline, the Devil Rays front office was in a firesale mode as they were dealing away their veterans for younger and cheaper players. On July 28th, 2000 the Devil Rays traded Trammell along with Rick White to the New York Mets for a pair of former top prospects in Paul Wilson and Jason Tyner.
The Mets were pushing for a playoff spot, and Trammell arrived with a bang as he homered in his first at bat for the team.
That was the high point for Trammell though as he once again struggled for playing time as the Mets rarely started their new acquisition. He appeared in 36 games for New York and only started 7 of those. In a combined 102 games between the 2 teamms, Trammell slashed .265/.345/.457 with 10 HR and 45 RBI. Trammell also played in the 2000 World Seriieed, which was dubbed the 'Subway Series' against the Yankees. Trammell did well, but it was in a losing effort as the Yanks took the series.
On December 11th, Trammell short tenure with the Mets came to an end as he was dealt the San Diego Padres in exchange for Donne Wall.
When Trammell showed up in spring training he famously said, "Hey, I'll play for free if you give me 500 at-bats." He would later say: ''I was kidding, but I would have. I thought, in my mind, if I got to 500 at-bats, I'd make that money back, and a lot more.''
With San Diego, Trammell was finally given a permanent starting spot and he rewarded the team with a breakout season. In 142 games for the Padres, Trammell slashed .261/.330/.467 with 25 HR and 92 RBI. Around the end of the season, the Padres signed Trammell to a multi-year extension.
In 2002, Trammell's production slipped, but he was still able to provide a solid offensive season, slashing .243/.333/.414 with 17 HR and 56 RBI in 133 games.
Heading into the 2003 season, the Padres were looking to dump Trammell's contract and they found a partner on March 19th as they traded Trammell to the New York Yankees for Rondell White. Trammell's time with New York was miserable though, on and off the field.
In June, as the Yankess were preparing to take on the Mets, Trammell never reported. Trammell had his agent tell the Yankees that he was gone for personal reasons.
The Yankees chose to suspend Trammell, who had left the team for what we now know were problems with his marriage. He would not return for the rest of the year and New York chose to release him at the end of the season. They were also not going to honor his contract, but after a battle with the player union, were forced to pay Trammell his contract's worth.
On January 5th, 2004 Trammell signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and had a solid spring with the team, but was released on April 2nd.
A week later on the 10th, Trammell signed with Tampa Bay again and spent a week in Durham where he once again showed he could hit minor league pitching. Unexpectedly though, Trammell retired and left the game in attempt to save his marriage, which ultimately was unable to be salvaged.
Three years later, after battling depression, Trammell attempted a comeback with the team that originally drafted him, the Orioles. Trammell played in 9 games for the Low-A Aberdeen Iron Birds, but struggled and on July 2nd, 2007 he officially retired from professional baseball.
MiLB Stat Line: In 534 games, slashed .287/.363/.533 with 109 HR, 383 RBI, and 38 SB
MLB Stat Line: In 584 games, slashed .261/.339/.459 with 82 HR, 285 RBI, 19 SB, and accumulated 4.2 WAR
* Stats and Info pulled from The Baseball Cube, Baseball Reference, and MLB.com