Dick Tracewski never played more than 90 games for the Tigers, but spent 30 years in the organization. Tracewski played four seasons with the Tigers, managed two in the minors, and served 24 years as a coach. He coached longer than any man in Tiger history and even managed on occasion. Despite retiring after four years as a Tiger reserve, Tracewski’s value proved unquantifiable leading to nearly three decades of service.
Tracewski played 614 big league games in eight seasons. He debuted with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1962 and played on two World Championship clubs. His best Dodger season occurred when Los Angeles did not win the pennant. The reserve hit .247 with one home run, 26 RBI, and .641 OPS. Overall, Tracewski hit .231 as a Dodger with a .595 OPS.
The World Champion Dodgers traded the 30-year-old Tracewski to the Detroit Tigers for Phil Regan in December 1965. Tracewski remained in the Tiger organization until 1995. “Trixie” played four seasons with Detroit and batted just .188. His best season came in 1967 when he hit .280 with a .708 OPS. In the 1968 title season, Tracewski hit a paltry .156. He retired after hitting .139 in 1969. For his career, the infielder hit .188 for the Tigers and .213 overall.
Despite the low batting average, Tracewski played on three world champions. He added a fourth title as coach in 1984. After retiring as a player, he managed in the Tiger farm system for two seasons. Billy Martin added Tracewski to his coaching staff in 1972 and he never left. He coached for five managers over 24 seasons. In 1979, he served as interim manager going 2-0. Tracewski filled in again in 1989 when Sparky Anderson suffered from exhaustion. In between, the Tigers won their fourth world title.
Dick Tracewski was not a great player. He managed a .213 batting average in eight seasons, but he played second base during Sandy Koufax’s 1965 perfect game and won three world championships. Trixie added a fourth ring as a coach in 1984. His true Tiger legacy laid in coaching. He began in 1972 and retired in 1995. No man ever coached as long for the Detroit Tigers.