Tag Archives: larry walker

Hall Of Fame Debate: Making The Case For Larry Walker

Hall Of Fame Debate: Making The Case For Larry Walker

I am slowly digesting everything that has resulted from the BWAA’s voting in regards to the 2013 Hall of Fame vote.

Ultimately, I have yet to personally decide how I feel about the steroid era.  I have gone back and forth on the issue, and I see the two sides, and I understand both of them pretty well.  I have yet to really take a stance on it, and to this day it is effecting how I feel about the guys that are now becoming eligible for entry into Cooperstown.

Hopefully in the coming weeks, I can solidify my stance on the whole steroid-era and stick to it.  I care so much for this sport and its history – I just want to feel right about my decision…

For this week’s ‘Hall Of Fame Debate’, I wanted to discuss a player whose name has never been connected to anything about PEDs or steroids.  He has, however, been tagged as a fantastic ballplayer.

I was shocked to read that Larry Walker received just 123 votes giving him only 21.6% of the total votes cast.

Walker is going to need a ton of support to get into the Hall Of Fame.  Needing another 300 votes is going to be a near impossible mission.  But if the BWAA really sat down and looked at the contribution that Larry Walker made to major league baseball and the teams he played for during his magnificent 17 season career, they may be swayed…

First, we need to start with the obvious – Walker played 15 of his 17 years in non-major media cities, Montreal and Denver.  It is very likely that many, if not most, of the writers that make up the 569 votes of the BWAA only saw Walker play while he was making a trip to the town in which they were employed.  They probably never saw his full body of work, because of their lack of interest in the Montreal and Denver franchises.  I am not saying that all writers fall into this category, but it could be more than 50%…

Walker was a 5-time All-Star, who competed for roster spots in the mid-summer classic with some of the toughest competition that the National League had to offer.  His five selections between 1992-2001 have him competing for spots with Tony Gwynn, Barry Bonds, Vladimir Guerrero, Sammy Sosa, Lance Berkman, and others.

Walker was a very well rounded player that excelled on both offense and defense.  Walker is a 7-time Gold Glove Award winner.  He also captured three Silver Slugger awards for being one of the best hitting outfielders in the league.

Walker’s career offensive numbers look like this: 2,160 hits, 471 doubles, 62 triples, 383 home runs, 1,355 runs scored, and 1,311 RBI.  He has a career batting average of .313 and an on-base percentage of .400.  He was a three-time batting champion and led the league in on-base percentage twice. 

Walker won the NL MVP Award in 1997.  During that campaign, Walker batted .366 and led the league with a .452 on-base percentage.  He paced the NL with 49 home runs while driving in 130 runs and scoring 143 times.  His .720 slugging percentage also led the league.

Oh, and Larry Walker was a runner too!!  He has 230 stolen bases on his resume, and a 75% success rate!!

A few more tidbits:

  • When listed among the all-time hitters on BaseballReference.com, Walker is listed with Tony Gwynn, Jeff Bagwell, and Rod Carew
  • He has a higher career batting average than Hank Aaron, Paul Molitor, George Brett, and Chipper Jones
  • He has a higher career on-base percentage than  Joe DiMaggio, Joe Morgan, Rod Carew, and Frank Robinson

Larry Walker

With everything stated above, the question remains – Is Larry Walker a Hall Of Famer??

Ultimately, I think that there are three factors that work against Walker: (1) lack of 200-hit seasons (only had 1, and this is a benchmark stat) (2) teams played for (sometimes you cannot choose who you play for) and (3) lack of postseason presence (Walker played in three postseasons, 2 coming in his final two seasons with the Cardinals).

But, is this enough to keep him out of the Hall of Fame?  Has he done enough to truly be considered for enshrinement at Cooperstown?

For me, Walker is on par, if not better than, several Hall of Famers.  He does lack the postseason exposure that would help his cause, but his extremely well-rounded play gives him things on his resume that others cannot offer.  The base running and defensive accomplishments cannot be overlooked.  And if you asked GM’s in the 1990’s to build you an outfield, my guess is that Walker’s name would be mentioned quite often.  He had elite tools, and he used all of them, very well!

If I had to vote, my vote would be ‘YES’.

Gavel

How would you vote?  Is Larry Walker a Hall of Famer, or is he stuck on the outside looking in??

Let me hear it.  And thanks for reading!  Have a great night.

My First Time – Larry Walker – August 16, 1989

My First Time – Larry Walker – August 16, 1989

The Setting – Olympic Stadium.  Montreal, Canada.

From Walker – ‘Will Clark was playing first base for the Giants.  After they walked me the first two times, he came over to me and said ‘Geez, we’re pitching to you like you’re Babe Ruth’.  I didn’t know what to say so I just smiled at him’.

The Boxscore – Expos 4, Giants 2.  Walker goes 1-for-1 while drawing three walks and scoring 2 runs.

‘On The Road With psugator02′ – Andres Galarraga & Larry Walker – January 8, 2011

‘On The Road With psugator02′ – Andres Galarraga & Larry Walker – January 8, 2011

Saturday, January 8
Miracle League Golf Tournament
Links at Madison Green
Royal Palm Beach, Fla.
7:20-8:20 a.m.

Had toyed with sleeping late but knew graphing would be more difficult once the golfers had begun play. Rolled in at the buttcrack of dawn and immediately started recognizing MLB umpires. I don’t graph umpires but it was still neat to see so many big names. Two years ago I got my picture taken with Angel Hernandez. He took one look at the pic of me, already dressed for a game I was supposed to ump later that day, and began peppering me with questions. I told him that I knew about his identity being stolen and that I understood if he wasn’t able to sign. He laughed and said, “I sign autographs all the time. That identity thing was a long time ago.” Someone mentioned that it cost Hernandez $100,000 to clear his name. That, Hernandez said, wasn’t even close to the truth. He happily signed the pic, then shook my hand. As he walked away I asked him about his golf game. “I think I’ve broken 100 once,” he said.

Angel Hernandez: 1/1 (signed a picwith)

Next player I saw was Andres Galarraga, walking from his car to the course with golf clubs in tow. Years ago I probably would’ve gotten him on a ROMLB. But now, wise in my years, I didn’t even think he was worthy of an 8×10 so I got him on a Diamond King. Back in the mid-1990s it seems every time I got his graph it was pure scribble. But now, with no one else around, he gave me an absolutely beautiful graph. I had a few more cards for him but I walked away after he did the DK. Still a beast of a man.

Andres Galarraga: 1/1 (Diamond King)

Larry Walker had snuck in while I was getting Galarraga. I was a little intimidated because so many graphers had told me horror stories about him. I asked him what he does with his days now that he’s retired. “Piss off my wife,” he replied. He appears to simply sign his name, only adding the “MVP” inscription if asked. Once I realized this I gave the first ball back to him and he kindly added the inscription. The ball just looked naked without the inscription.

Larry Walker: 2/2 (ROMLBs, both with “NL MVP ’97” inscriptions)

I saw that Walker was standing next to Gary Carter. I’ve had a bunch of bad experiences with Carter lately, so instead of even trying for him I walked the two Walker balls back to the car. While away, some veteran graphers bribed Carter with photos. That act of kindness warmed him up a bit and he did one for one grapher and two for another. When I returned Carter was now on the putting green. I waited for him to finish putting and then take a group photo, then approached him with two neat oversized baseball cards from the mid-1980s. I’ve been carrying them around for years and really wanted to get them done.

“I don’t sign cards,” was Carter’s response when I tried to graph him. No problem, I thought to myself, as I walked over to my bag and grabbed two balls. Carter was now in his golf cart. As he was about to drive away, I again asked him if he would sign. “I don’t sign,” Carter said, as he drove away. I now have two options. I can try to bribe Carter with photos the next time I see him OR I can send Carter every item I own and tell him to shove them up his ass. I think I’m going to go with the latter.

Gary Carter: 0/1, 0/1….my pursuit of him has officially ended

ALSO: A local grapher asked Tommy Hutton who the Marlins would hire as their manager when they open their new stadium in 2012. “Ozzie Guillen,” Hutton said, without blinking an eye.

NO-SHOWS: Livan Hernandez, Orlando Hernandez and Carl Pavano. Brian Schneider was there, but I didn’t need him.

Looking Ahead: The Hall Of Fame Class Of 2011

Looking Ahead:  The Hall Of Fame Class Of 2011

With the Hall of Fame still on my mind, I started thinking about what the Class of 2011 may look like.

Of the guys that missed the cut this year, I think that it is pretty safe to assume that Bert Blyleven and Robert0 Alomar will gain entry in 2011.  Besides those two, I don’t see anyone else that has been on the ballot prior picking up enough steam to grab 75% of the votes.

But, what about the guys on the ballot for the first time? 

Well, here is that list: 

2011: Jeff Bagwell, Rafael Palmeiro, John Olerud, Kevin Brown, Larry Walker, Juan Gonzalez, Tino Martinez, B.J. Surhoff, Marquis Grissom, John Franco, Bret Boone, Al Leiter, Benito Santiago, Carlos Baerga, Raul Mondesi, Bobby Higginson, Wilson Alvarez, Rey Sanchez, Charles Johnson, Jose Offerman, Ugueth Urbina, Ismael Valdez, Dan Wilson, Paul Quantrill, Cal Eldred, Kirk Rueter, Steve Reed

The list includes All-stars, MVPs, and World Series champions!!!  But once you start to look at the numbers, there are only 2 guys with a real shot at entry into Cooperstown; and for one of them, it may take a few years…

Those two guys are Jeff Bagwell & Rafael Palmeiro.

Lets start with Bagwell.  He’s a likable guy, and his numbers are solid.  A 15-year career that can be compared to the best first baemen from his era, Bagwell has a ROY and MVP award in his pocket.  He is also a 4-time All-star and winner of 3 Silver Slugger Trophies and 1 Gold Glove.  And while Bagwell hit close to .300 during the duration of his career, his 449 home runs and 2,314 hits leaves him well short of a few major milestones that usually guarantee enshrinement.

That takes us to Rafael Palmeiro.  He has all of the personal achievements.  Heck, he is 1 of just a small handful of players to reach both the 500 Home Runs plateau and 3,000 hits landmark.  But Raffy was never considered as the game’s best at any point during his playing days.  Sure, he was an All-star, and he won a few Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards, but Rafael was never elevated to elite status by winning MVP awards.  And then there is the whole steroid issue – it will loom over Rafael Palmeiro in the same manner that it has with Mark McGwire.  And that does not bode well for his chances; especially on his first ballot.

If I were voting, 3 players would get my vote – Blyleven, Alomar, and Palmeiro.  And while I like Jeff Bagwell, and Barry Larkin for that matter, I just need a few more years to think about how they rank among the best to have ever played the game…

The Montreal Expos Were Baseball’s Greatest Farm Team

As I think about future blogs and get new ideas to entertain you and myself with, I try to find images to attach to each post that directly relates to what I am writing about.  Sometimes this process is simple, and sometimes it requires a little more creativity.

One of the things that has really stood out for me in recent days has been how many really good players came out of the Montreal Expos organization.  When checking out rookie cards on Ebay, so many of the players are wearing the Montreal Expos uniform.  Sadly enough, very few players stayed in Montreal after more than a few years and now the team is extinct. 

The Expos could arguably have put together one of the most talented teams in baseball if they had been able to hang on to their players.  I thought it would be fun to create a line up of their players from the past to illustrate how incredible they could have been. 

Here is my Montreal Expos All-Star team from the 1990’s:

1st Base – Andres Galarraga.  2nd Base – Delino DeShields.  Short Stop – Mark Grudzielanek.  3rd Base – Tim Wallach.  Catcher – Gary Carter.  Outfileders – Larry Walker, Tim Raines, Moises Alou, Marquis Grissom, Cliff Floyd, and Vlad Guerrero.

Pitchers – Dennis Martinez, John Wetteland, Pedro Martinez, Ugueth Urbina, and Javier Vasquez.

So I guess my question is this – Has any other team in recent history been such a breeding ground for Major League talent the way that the Montreal Expos were in the 1990’s???  Let me know what you think.