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Maple Ridge, British Columbia native (and former Expo great) Larry Walker has announced his retirement.

Share your memories of and thoughts about one of the greatest Canadian-born MLB players in the history of The Great Game.

Larry Walks Away From Baseball | 25 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
superdevin - Thursday, October 20 2005 @ 03:49 PM EDT (#130402) #
i will always remember larry walker for his game this past june 14th at the dome, the one in which he hit two dongs crushing my dreams of watching carpenter lose in his "home coming".

but the at bat in the all star game against randy johnson will always stick out too. what a ball player.
Craig B - Thursday, October 20 2005 @ 04:11 PM EDT (#130405) #
My favorite player for many years. I'll have much, much more to say over the weeks to come.

Suffice it to say this : Larry, I will miss you very, very much and even though you will likely never get the Hall of Fame place you deserve, I'll always think of you as one.
Gerry - Thursday, October 20 2005 @ 04:45 PM EDT (#130407) #
I remember stories about Walker from several years ago that Larry hated BP and would just come out and hit at game time, and still hit .350 or so. Did anyone else hear this?
VBF - Thursday, October 20 2005 @ 05:17 PM EDT (#130409) #
Of course there have been many great Canadian baseball players in history, but I think it was Larry Walker who really put Canada on the map as a country that produces quality major leaguers. Thanks Larry for all you've done for your country.

Do you think we'll see Larry Walker at the World Baseball Classic sort of like what Clemens wanted to do before he unretired?
rtcaino - Thursday, October 20 2005 @ 05:50 PM EDT (#130413) #
Craig, you don't think he'll make it?

He had a long career filled with batting titles and gold gloves. He definatly deserves serious consideration.
Craig B - Thursday, October 20 2005 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#130414) #
Caino, we need more good people like yourself in this world.

Ultimately, I think Walker will fail to make it because of the significant amount of time he missed due to injuries (he played 125-130 games a year, not 150+) and because people just ignore hitters that play in Coors Field, thinking it's all because of the park.

But I hope he does. Larry Walker did everything on a baseball field with great athleticism, great hustle and a great brain.
Magpie - Thursday, October 20 2005 @ 06:19 PM EDT (#130415) #
I'm sure Mike will deal with this in more depth... but while Walker may have to wait a while, there's probably always going to be a case for him because his numbers are so just good, they won't go away, and they won't look less impressive ten years from now (the way, say, Al Oliver's and Bill Buckner's look to us today.).

The two quibbles, as Craig said, are all the games missed and the ballpark. The Coors factor really does hurt him - no one really believes that he would have hit over .350 four times if he'd been playing somewhere else. And in his 16 years as a regular, he averaged just 123 games a season.

But the quality of his play - he's a no-doubt Hall of Famer. Who are the Hall of Fame right fielders? Once you get past the monsters - Ruth, Aaron, Robinson, Ott - I think Walker has at least some advantages over everybody you can name. More power and better defense than Tony Gwynn, better defense and better average than Reggie, more power and more on-base than Clemente, etc etc. He was a great player.

Actually, he's still a very good player. He'd be the best hitter on the 2005 Toronto Blue Jays.

BallGuy - Thursday, October 20 2005 @ 06:20 PM EDT (#130416) #
I only ever got to see him play once, that was at the RC on June 14 of this year. It was pretty much the main reason I got tickets for that game and I'm glad he hit the two dingers. If only I could have seen him throw someone out at first, that would have been awesome.
In his prime he was a truly great player. I always wished he could have ended up in Toronto and I hope he ends up in the Hall because I think he deserves it, injuries and Coors Field stigmas notwithstanding.
Shrike - Thursday, October 20 2005 @ 06:45 PM EDT (#130419) #
I agree with Craig's first statement 100%.

It sure has been a pleasure cheering for a local who made it so far.

Now, it'll be up to Rich Harden to keep the BC quotient in the major leagues a very visible one.
Petey Baseball - Thursday, October 20 2005 @ 08:47 PM EDT (#130425) #
Unlike some star players in his day, Larry Walker has done it the honest and right way. Sure he might not make the hall of fame, but some guys will make the hall of fame that cheated. Walker was and still is a comsomate professional. When people around the world think of Canadian baseball players the last 10 years, Larry Walker is who they think of. What a man to represent a country.
westcoast dude - Thursday, October 20 2005 @ 09:32 PM EDT (#130426) #
Jason Bay is Larry Walker's British Columbian outfielder heir apparent: batting .306 with 32 homers and 101 RBIs leading the Pirates.
I saw Larry lead-off against Randy Johnson in the '97 All-Star game. When the Big Unit air-mailed a pitch into the seats, Larry put his batting helmet on backwards. Leave it to a Canadian to create comedic theatre and pull it off without missing a beat.
Wildrose - Friday, October 21 2005 @ 01:43 AM EDT (#130431) #
Here's some Primates take on Walkers HOF chances.

Even among the sabermetrically inclined, there seems to be some discord regarding his chances. The consensus seems to be his counting stats are substandard due to frequent injury.

Craig B - Friday, October 21 2005 @ 08:53 AM EDT (#130436) #
Again, much of that talk only reinforces the point that what sabermetrics types want is not a great player, but a player who has great numbers.

When he was on the field, Walker was a one of the great hitters of all time. He was also one of the very best defensive rightfielders of all time. The fact that he missed games with injuries because of an all-out style of play doesn't make him any less a player. It might make you less attractive to an armchair GM, but that's not what baseball is about.

Baseball is about winning -- period. Larry Walker won his teams an awful lot of ballgames, and he played 1,988 career games to boot - this isn't a guy with half a career.

Craig B - Friday, October 21 2005 @ 09:03 AM EDT (#130437) #
Walker also suffers by comparison with the bumper crop of great RFs we've seen over the last 30 years. Sheffield, Gwynn, Sosa, Dawson, Parker, Evans... these are guys with credentials like Walker's or better. So he'll be way down the list just at his own position.

I'll actually be surprised if Walker clears the 5% threshold to stay on the ballot for more than a single year.
Wildrose - Friday, October 21 2005 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#130443) #
I hear you Craig, I've always felt they should rename it The Hall of famous American guys, who had the fortuity to play in a large media market, with a winning team, who hung around forever to boost their counting stats. Unfortunately that doesn't have much of a ring to it.

Magpie - Friday, October 21 2005 @ 11:31 AM EDT (#130444) #
Walker also suffers by comparison with the bumper crop of great RFs

I don't know - not thatmuch, not really. Walker's a comparable hitter to Sheffield - not quite as good but pretty close. But he's a much better defender and also a career RF. Walker's similar to Dave Parker, a great hitter and a great outfielder at his peak - I think Walker's just a bit better (maybe because he stayed away from the nose candy.) Walker doesn't hit the dizzying heights that Sosa hit in the late 90s, but his overall career production may actually be better. Dwight Evans was a great outfielder and a very good hitter. Walker matches him defensively and was an even better hitter. Walker's splendid overall offensive game helped his team more than Gwynn's more narrow set of skills. Gwynn was a very good RF, but Walker was better. As for Andre Dawson, he spent his prime years as a CF - as a right fielder, it's no contest. Walker was better than the Cub-era Dawson.

All of these guys do much better than Walker in the career counting numbers because they were all able to play more games. It hurts Walker's overall value, and it should. The greatness he gives you for 125 games a year really is reduced by the fact that a fourth outfielder type has to play almost a quarter of the time.

Craig B - Friday, October 21 2005 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#130446) #
The greatness he gives you for 125 games a year really is reduced by the fact that a fourth outfielder type has to play almost a quarter of the time.

See my "armchair GM" comment above. I don't see why we should care very much about that stuff. This isn't friggin' fantasy baseball.

costanza - Friday, October 21 2005 @ 11:42 AM EDT (#130448) #
I see your point, Craig, and I admire Larry Walker as much as anyone (and I do think he belongs in the HOF), but the point remains that it makes it harder to win when you have to play Joe Scrub 30 games/year because your best player is out of the lineup... I don't think you can ignore that, in "evaluating" a ballplayer.

When he was on the mound, Roy Halladay was easily the best pitcher in the AL this year. Did he help the Jays win games as much as, say, Garland or Buehrle helped the Sox this year?
King Ryan - Friday, October 21 2005 @ 11:46 AM EDT (#130449) #
I thought you said baseball was about winning, Craig. The fact that Larry Walker missed so much time with injuries cost his teams a lot of wins. That's the point.
Magpie - Friday, October 21 2005 @ 11:47 AM EDT (#130450) #
This isn't friggin' fantasy baseball.

Not being a fantasy player, I wouldn't know. But I think his frequent absences from the lineup would have had a bigger impact in the real world, where I'm assuming he'd be harder to replace than in fantasy leagues anyway. It's a legitimate complaint.

Of course, it's also a legitimate complaint about, oh, Pedro Martinez - he could never give you quite as many innings as a Roger Clemens. You only bother to make this complaint when you're sorting and picking through the tiny details that separate one great player from another. As a practical matter, you say "Hey it's Pedro Martinez! It's Larry Walker! I'll take it! Gladly!"

Wildrose - Friday, October 21 2005 @ 11:59 AM EDT (#130451) #
I think different people have a different ideal of what "greatness" actually is.

For some is its the Cal Ripken model. Day in day out solidness, over a long period of time. For others its the Sandy Koufax ideal, absolute brilliance cut short by unfortunate injury, Walker may be an example of the later.
Willy - Friday, October 21 2005 @ 12:05 PM EDT (#130452) #
Of course there have been many great Canadian baseball players in history, but I think it was Larry Walker who really put Canada on the map as a country that produces quality major leaguers.

I suppose each generation thinks its own stars were the best (why not? They're the ones it knows best); but for mine Fergie Jenkins sure as hell 'put Canada on the map'--and he did it in Wrigley Field, too. This isn't to diminish Larry Walker at all: I'm a huge fan of his.
Wildrose - Friday, October 21 2005 @ 12:09 PM EDT (#130453) #
Looking at the numbers , some would say Koufax had only 165 career wins, ignoring the astounding 190 ERA + . I think some balance has to be struck between longevity and extreme performance.
Wildrose - Friday, October 21 2005 @ 12:28 PM EDT (#130454) #
While I'm on this tact, is Walker not as good as this fellow ?

I have Walker by OPS as the superior hitter, defensively its a wash, and Walker is the superior base-runner. This gentlemen played for a World Series Champion, held on past his prime to get an important milestone, 3000 hits,( helped in large part by going straight from high school to the majors, an astounding achievement in its own right, but one that certainly gave him a good head start in counting stats), and helped his HOF chances by going into Broadcasting post career.

Mike Green - Friday, October 21 2005 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#130455) #
No. Durability and career length matters. Kaline was of the same general ability as Walker, and essentially had 1 and 1/2 times his career in all. Walker's peak was higher.

Walker is in the same general vicinity as Clemente and Kaline, although behind both due to career length.
Larry Walks Away From Baseball | 25 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.