Friday, October 25, 2013
#95 Larry Walker
1. Though it's Walker's hitting stats that jump off the page, he also had a cannon for an arm. On July 4, 1992, he threw out Padres' shortstop Tony Fernandez at first base on a hard-hit single to right field.
2. Like many ballplayers, Larry was superstitious, especially concerning the number three. He wore #33 throughout his 17-year career, married his wife Angela at 3:33 PM on November 3 (11 x 3 = 33), always insisted on having a phone number full of threes, and took practice swings in multiples of three before stepping to the plate.
3. His superlatives: seven Gold Gloves, five All-Star selections, three Silver Sluggers, and the 1997 National League MVP award. In 1997, he led the league with 49 home runs, a .452 on-base percentage, .720 slugging, and 409 total bases. His .366 batting average trailed only Tony Gwynn (.372), but Larry did capture three of the next four NL batting crowns. His career slash line of .313/.400/.565 was unquestionably boosted by the thin air of Colorado, where he played his home games for nearly a decade, but his 141 OPS+ indicates that he was still damned good on his own merits.
11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I remember looking at a price guide in 1993 or so and seeing that Larry Walker's 1990 Score rookie card was worth a few bucks. I was thrilled, right up until I pulled out my stack of cards from that set and saw that I had Greg Walker, not Larry. Thanks a lot, Greg. Now, of course, you can get Larry's rookie card for 45 cents. Sheesh.
Bill James Said: "The Expos cleanup hitter, needs to get to 100 RBI and/or 100 runs to be widely recognized as a star." Check, and check.
On This Date in 1993: October 25. Less than a week before Halloween, legendary actor and horror maven Vincent Price dies of lung cancer at the age of 82.