Larry Walker was a favorite of mine. He is Canadian and played for the Expos, how could I not like him. He had a 17 year career, the first 6 with the Expos, then 9 and a half with the Rockies and a season and a half with the Cardinals.
Walker hit 383 home runs, had 1311 RBI, and 230 stolen bases with a very nice slash line of .313/.400/.565. He was the NL MVP in 1997, played on 5 All-Star teams, won 7 Gold Gloves and 3 Silver Slugger awards. He had a 72.6 career WAR, 66th all-time among position players.
His numbers look great, but then he played in Denver, in the pre-humidor years. With the Expos he was a great fielding, doubles hitting outfielder. When he got into the thin air of Colorado he started hitting home runs by the dozen. His best season with the Rockies he hit 49 homers, had 130 RBI, with 78 walks and 33 stolen bases and a line of .366/.452/.720. The question is how much to do you discount those numbers. It's entirely possible that he would have found a similar power surge if he had stayed an Expo.
I really liked Larry Walker. He had a lot of range in the outfield, and had a great arm. It is kind of unfortunate that the play that everyone remembers is when Larry handed the fly ball he caught to a kid in the stands and then found out that there was only 2 out.
It is Walkers 8th time on the ballot, and he hasn't been build any momentum. The last year he was on 21.9% of the ballots. He doesn’t seem to be building up to get to 75%.
To me, he's a pretty close call. I think the Writers deduct too many points for playing in the thin air of Denver. For me, his value isn't all related to his home runs. He got on base 40% of the time. He stole some bases, hit a lot of doubles, and played very good defense.
You can take a look at Walkers stats here.
Similar Players: Mike Piazza (inducted BBWAA), Bobby Grich, Mark McGwire, Reggie Smith, Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen (first year on ballot).
Would you vote Larry Walker into the Baseball Hall of Fame?
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