Can a six-time All-Star with four Gold Gloves, three Silver Sluggers, a World Series MVP, and a Hall of Fame plaque be considered underrated?

Well …

Alan Trammell, for one, presents a pretty strong argument to the affirmative.

Ever since his first full season with the Detroit Tigers in 1978, Trammell always lived in — or at least near — baseball’s star neighborhood.

To wit, Trammell finished fourth in American League Rookie of the Year balloting that summer, then added is first All-Star nod and first Gold Glove two years later, in 1980.

By the time the rest of the Tigers had grown up with him to blaze the baseball landscape with an outrageous run in 1984, Detroit’s shortstop had settled into semi-star territory.

Double digit home runs, double digit steals, batting averages of .260 or higher, with occasional spikes into the .300s, Gold Glove-caliber defense — those were the hallmarks of Trammell’s game.

And, though the Tigers were thrilled to have him, outside fans and card collectors were more lukewarm about what he brought to the diamond.

Then, in 1984, as the Padres and Cubs and Mets were surprising everyone in the National League, the Tigers made a mockery of the AL, and it was tough to tick through all the great Detroit players without missing one … there were just so many!

Lou Whitaker, Chet Lemon, Lance Parrish, Dan Petry, Willie Hernandez, Jack Morris, Kirk Gibson, Darrell Evans … and the list continued on.

And, of course, there was Alan Trammell.

All the glitter around him sort of obscured his individual greatness that season, but it also brought the national spotlight to the Motor City and helped Trammell garner just his second All-Star berth.

Even that nod, though, didn’t get him full hobby recognition … Trammell was missing for the 1985 Topps All-Star subset in their base issue.

This, for the guy who just might have been the most valuable Tiger of all, by WAR, at least, in 1984.

It was more of the same the next year, as Trammell made another All-Star Game even as the Tigers fell back a bit in 1985 … but again, no AS card in the 1986 Topps set.

After missing the All-Star cut in 1986, Trammell was back with perhaps his finest season in 1987 as the Tigers captured another AL East flag. That summer, their star shortstop hit .343 with 28 home runs and 105 RBI, good enough to finish second in AL MVP (behind George Bell) voting and get him back in the All-Star Game.

The next spring, collectors finally got to see what a Trammell All-Star card looked like, nestled there among their 1988 Topps goodies:

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That same summer, Trammell made another All-Star appearance, followed by another Topps AS card in 1989 …

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Then, after a down year in 1989, Trammell came roaring back in 1990 — .304 batting average, 14 home runs, 89 RBI, a Silver Slugger award … and, yes, an All-Star appearance.

By then, Trammell was a respected veteran of the game at 32, if not quite an elder statesman, and Topps granted us a look at his All-Star stance in their 40th-anniversary 1991 set:

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Nobody knew it then, but that would be the end of the line for Trammell and the All-Star Game, and for his All-Star cards.

Though he’d play another six seasons for the Tigers, Trammell would never again make it into more than 112 games in any given campaign, thanks to a combination of injuries, general aging, and that wretched 1994-95 strike.

And, he never sniffed the All-Star turf again, either.

Maybe it’s that quiet fade at the end of his career that kept Trammell on the sidelines during the full run of his Cooperstown candidacy, eventually gaining entry by dint of the Veterans Committee in 2018.

Or, maybe it was his consistent excellence without much flash over 20 years, toiling for a team that only rarely garnered much attention of their own.

Whatever the case, Alan Trammell was, at his best, a perennial All-Star … even if there are a few hunks missing from the cardboard proof.

Check out our video rundown of Trammell baseball cards on YouTube:

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