DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers know Alan Trammell was the popular choice to be their next manager. More importantly, they're also convinced he was the right choice.\n"People don't come to your games to see your manager," Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said Wednesday after signing the former star shortstop to a three-year contract with a club option for a fourth season. "But if your manager makes your team perform better and conduct itself better on and off the field, then people will show their support.\n"I can understand why some people will feel that this was based on Alan's popularity here. But really, we could not afford to make this decision based on that because we need to right this ship."\nThe Tigers have sunk and stunk for the most part since Trammell helped them win the 1984 World Series Detroit's fourth -- and the AL East title in 1987.\nDetroit has endured nine straight losing seasons and has gone through four managers since Sparky Anderson's 17-season tenure ended in 1995.\nThe player they called "Tram," said words such as tradition, history and respect used to be associated with the Tigers.\n"Right now, I don't know if I can say that," Trammell said. "That's going to be one of my jobs, to get that back.\n"This is where my heart is. I care about this place. It would make my life very satisfying to say we helped turn this thing around."\nWith veterans that didn't perform as well as they were paid to, and prospects rushed to the major leagues, the Tigers tied Tampa Bay for the worst mark in the majors with a 55-106 record.\nDombrowski fired manager Phil Garner and general manager Randy Smith after an 0-6 start and then fired interim manager Luis Pujols the day after he lost his 100th game.\n"Is it going to change overnight? No," Trammell admitted. "But what I'm going to guarantee you is our professionalism and our effort."\nTrammell will be a manager for the first time -- at any level -- when the Tigers begin next season on March 31 at home against Minnesota.\n"I'm not worried about that because he's such a student of the game that he's managed in his head every game he's been a part of," Dombrowski said. "He's ready for this."\nThe 44-year-old Trammell was San Diego's first base coach the past three seasons and was the Padres' outfield and baserunning coach.\nWhen Trammell's 20-season career in Detroit ended in 1996 he spent the next two seasons as an assistant in the franchise's baseball operations department and one season as the Tigers' hitting coach.\nHe was fired when Garner was hired following the 1999 season.\n"That was a little disappointing," Trammell said. "But when I look back, it was good for me to go away and gain more experiences."\nTrammell hit .285 with 185 homers and 1,003 RBIs as Detroit's shortstop from 1977-96. The six-time All-Star won four Gold Gloves and was the World Series MVP in 1984 when the Tigers won their fourth and last championship.\n"We all know the history of the English 'D' that I feel a part of," Trammell said, referring to the team's letter insignia. "It's been a big part of my life."\nTrammell, Al Kaline and Ty Cobb are the only players to be with the Tigers for at least 20 seasons.\n"This is the biggest step the Tigers have taken since I retired (in 1974), other than hiring Sparky Anderson," Kaline said.\nDombrowski also interviewed New York Yankees third base coach Willie Randolph and Triple-A Toledo manager Bruce Fields, who was named the Tigers' hitting coach Wednesday. The Tigers asked Oakland for permission to talk to Ken Macha, its bench coach, but didn't interview him.\n"What Alan brings to this organization, I didn't think anybody else can match," Dombrowski said.
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