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.
He did do everything well. ran well, good defense, good average, got on base and had power. pretty much the whole package.
2019 is Walker’s 9th time on the ballot, and he’s been slow to build any momentum. Last year he jumped to 34.1% of the ballots, and it poised for another big jump this year. He needs a huge jump to get to 75%, which is probably out of realistic reach, but getting above 50% would be significant for eventual induction via the Veteran’s Committee (Gil Hodges is the only player to get 50% on a writer’s ballot and not be inducted). There seems to be a bit of a campaign going on this year, so I’m hoping his number will jump a fair bit this year.
I’d love to see him in the Hall.
You can take a look at Walkers stats here.
Most similar careers: Mike Piazza (inducted BBWAA), Bobby Grich, Mark McGwire, Reggie Smith, Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen (on ballot).
Would you vote Larry Walker into the Hall of Fame?
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