Monday, January 3, 2011

Rox Talk - Larry Walker

Larry Walker - A Mighty Rox
Another former Rox will get a chance for the Hall of Fame on Wednesday. Last year the Big Cat didn't get enough votes to stay on the ballot for another year. This year I think Walker will get a little more love and stick around. Next few years are going to be interesting as far as what the voters decide to do with big number guys that peaked during the Steroid Era. Any Rox candidate will therefore have a double whammy because of the pre-humidor Coors Field Effect. Will voters simply dismiss the numbers any Rox player created?
Having watched Walker play I don't think I truly understood how awesome he was. The things he could do with his bat. And he had a rocket for an arm in Right Field. I recently took a tour of Coors Field and while standing on the field the tour guide reminded me that the longest homer hit by a lefty was by Walker which landed in the walkway in the upper deck. Standing on the field that is a massive home run! In retrospect a player's daily grind can become common place especially when the game seems so easy for someone. His year in 1997 when he won the MVP he had a WAR of 9.0 with 143 runs, 208 hits, 46 doubles, 49 home runs, 130 RBIs, 33 stolen bases, and on base percentage of 0.452. That is just insane and finally in today's world of great athletes taking themselves too serious who could forget Walker's bat against Randy Johnson in the 1997 All Star Game when Walker showed up to the plate with his batting helmet backwards? Finally I will remember Walker for one of the few Cardinals to show up in the 2004 World Series. His one and only World Series and he was awesome.

Unfortunately, I think it is a long shot for the Canuck which is too bad because he was a heck of ball player. The great columnist Joe Posnanski says it best in this column and I think this sums it up, "Then he went to Coors, and in 1997 he hit .366 with 46 doubles and 49 homers. You know how many other players in baseball history have hit .350 or better with 45 doubles AND 45 homers in the same season? One. Lou Gehrig in 1927. It was pure lunacy" Ahhh Nintendo Ball at its greatest. In addition to Joe's account here are some pretty graphs (here and here). In the last couple of years the voters have been pretty stingy letting in a candidate here and there. With a lot of what I consider shoo ins coming to the ballot in the next few years a lot of candidates need to make it this year or be left out. Will this year be a water shed?

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