The 2018 Hall of Fame Ballot has plenty of worthy contenders to join the Hall of Fame this upcoming year. 14 players return to the ballot, and 19 new players have been listed on the ballot. Today, we look at the career of outfielder Larry Walker.
Before there was Joey Votto there was Larry Walker. When Walker graced the field between 1989 and 2005 the talent pool of Canadian players began and ended with him. Sure, he was not the only player north of the border to dawn an MLB jersey at the time, but his name stands alone when it comes to a player from Canada that had such a dominant impact on the game.
Making the Case: Larry Walker and the 2018 Hall of Fame Ballot
Born December 1st, 1966 in Maple Ridge, B.C. he made his MLB debut in 1989 and played in 1988 games over 17 seasons. Over his career, he played for the Montreal Expos, Colorado Rockies, and St. Louis Cardinals. His most noteworthy seasons came as a member of the Rockies and if the franchise were to create a version of their own Mount Rushmore, he would certainly be on it.
The standout season of Walker’s career was the 1997 campaign. That year, he took home National League MVP honours. He batted an impressive .366 with an OPS of 1.172. Couple that with 49 home runs and 130 RBI and it came as no surprise that the Rockies possessed one of the games elite talents. Walker put up a WAR of 9.8 that season. Walker also had two other seasons in the top 10 of MVP voting,
Larry was a premier power bat and his 383 career home runs show it. However, his speed is easily overlooked when determining if his place in the Hall of Fame is warranted. Walker hit thirty or more doubles in eight seasons and finished his career with 230 stolen bases, 33 in his MVP season. His glove was also noteworthy, having executed 154 outfield assists and 38 double plays.
The Advanced Stats
Walker put up a career WAR of 72.6. That number puts him 86th all-time amongst all positions. That number puts him 12th amongst right fielders. All other members of the top 14 are Hall of Famers. Over the best seven seasons of Walker’s career he put up a WAR of 44.6, good for 11th all-time at the position. The top 10 are all Hall of Famers. It is also better than the average WAR7 of a right field Hall of Famer.
His JAWS number is 58.6, good for 10th all-time amongst right fielders. It is interesting to note that this number is greater than 58.1, which is the average JAWS for a Hall of Fame right fielder. He is the only member of the top 12 not yet in the Hall. Shoeless Joe Jackson is 13th, and Tony Gwynn in 14th is also a Hall of Famer. It is clear that Walker has the resume and numbers to justify a Hall of Fame selection.
Larry Walker is a five-time All Star, three-time Silver Slugger, and seven-time Gold Glove winner. He embodied the pride of Canadian baseball through the 1990’s while dawning a Rockies jersey, and soon his name should be enshrined in Cooperstown.
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