If you've checked out this column before, you've undoubtedly encountered a photo or mention of my German shorthair pointer, Trammell; or as my wife often refers to her, "my one true love." To most, I end up repeating Trammell's name multiple times before they can string the correct syllables together, and they still look at me bemused. For baseball fans and native Michiganders, it's an obvious homage to my childhood hero, but I'll get to that in a moment. This - in short version - is the story of Top Gun Trammell v. St.Pierre.
In spring of 2007, my wife and I began to talk about kids after two blissful years of marriage. We soon turned our attention to kiddy training wheels in the form of a puppy. Meredith had grown up in a Labrador family and I in a Brittany family. Meredith wanted a larger dog, but one that didn't shed very much. I, of course, needed a versatile pheasant dog for my job with Pheasants Forever, but favored pointers for ruffed grouse hunting at the sacrifice of my affinity for a strong swimming duck retriever. The German shorthair was our marital compromise.
Soon after we determined a breed, my colleagues at Pheasants Forever pointed me toward Top Gun Kennels in Central City, Iowa. One phone conversation with Top Gun's Steve Ries and I had met a friend for life and the "father" of our yet-to-be-born puppy. Meredith and I had both grown up with female dogs, so that was a natural continuation of what we had known. But what should we name our new "first born baby girl?"
Remember when I mentioned "marital compromise" earlier? That's where picking a name for our pup comes in. You see, my childhood idol was Detroit Tigers shortstop Alan Trammell. For you diehard Twins fans, he was the Joe Mauer of Michigan during the 1980's and '90's. He was the MVP of the Tigers' World Series championship in 1984, a Tiger his entire career, and a guy that epitomized the lunch box ballplayer of a blue collar state. He was a good role model even for a ballplayer, and a guy that deserves to be in the MLB Hall of Fame, but was probably not flashy enough to earn the votes to get there (see Bert Blyleven if you'd like a similar Twins example).
Anyway, "Trammell" sounded like a good name for a son to me. But, I knew that would never fly with Meredith. Yet I insisted that one day we'd have our boy "Trammell." The panic in her eyes led her to one conclusion: we ended up with a female shorthair by the name of my childhood idol. Ah, the art of compromise.
We've begun talking about kids again this summer . . . and we've also begun talking about a second shorthair. I was always a big Steve Yzerman fan growing up. Stevie Y spent his entire career with the Detroit Red Wings and was their longtime workhorse captain and Stanley Cup hero. "Yzerman." That's got a nice ring to it, doesn't it?