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Before you know it, the Hall of Fame voting results will come out and we’ll see who makes it. I’m hoping for Bert Blyleven to finally get into Cooperstown, but I won’t hold my breath. Larry Walker is on the ballot for the first time. Let’s see if he has any chance.

On raw numbers alone, it’s hard to argue against Walker. He’s got a career line of .313/.400/.565/.965 with a 140 OPS+, .414 wOBA, and 145 wRC+. He hit 383 homers in his career, averaging 32 per 162 games. He led the league in batting average three times, OBP/SLG/OPS twice, as well as 2B/HR/TB once each. He won the NL MVP in 1997. He OPSed under .841 in only two full seasons (.807 in 1991, .761 in 1990).

The problem, though, is that walker played most of his home games in Coors Field. A lot of people think that game him an advantage on offense. Of course, though, it’s worth noting that OPS+ adjusts for a player’s home park, and that still gave Walker a 140 OPS+. It’s worth noting that no matter where Walker called home–Coors, Olympic Stadium, or Busch Stadium–he hit well: 1.172 OPS at Coors, .890 at OS, and .926 at BS. Granted, those numbers are rather simplified, but the point stands: Larry Walker was a damn good hitter. Let’s look at his bWAR numbers.

Walker tallied 67.3 bWAR, an average of exactly 4.0 per season (6.2 per 162 games). The only eligible (sorry Pete Rose) hitters with that many bWAR NOT in the HOF are: Bill Dahlen and Bobby Girch. It would appear that Walker has just about everything going for him. If I had a vote, I’d probably give him one. Then again, I guess I’m more of a “Big Hall” guy than most (though I’d still vote against guys like Jim Rice and Andre Dawson). Would you guys vote for Walker?

4 Responses to “Case for Cooperstown: Larry Walker”

  1. No to Larry for the HOF although he’s certainly in the neighborhood.

    Walker was a very good player that was made to look like a great player by his home park. The guy’s career OPS on the road was .865 which is very good but far from great. To compare that to other players who logged substantial careers with similar numbers the two retired players with the most similar career OPS to Walker’s road OPS are Danny Tartabull and Rusty Greer. Anyone confuse them for HOF’ers.

    When considering the lack of milestone stats and the fact that he played in not only a park that inflated his stats but an era that did I just think Walker makes the cut. I’d take him over Dawson and Rice any day though.  (Quote)

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  2. I think ERA+ isn’t completely adjusted for BP effects (or era effects). I think it’s about 80% of the complete adjustment. too many guys see their numbers get better or worse when they go to places like Coors or LA.  (Quote)

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  3. To Don W: – absolutely, Larry Walker will be a tough case for years to come. And I’m sure you’re merely simplifying your point when you hold up Walker to Danny Tartabull and Rusty Greer. Their road OPS might be similar, but look at the other skills – speed, defense, throwing arm, etc. – and Walker was a FAR superior player to both.  (Quote)

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  4. To Don W: – absolutely, Larry Walker will be a tough case for years to come.And I’m sure you’re merely simplifying your point when you hold up Walker to Danny Tartabull and Rusty Greer.Their road OPS might be similar, but look at the other skills – speed, defense, throwing arm, etc. – and Walker was a FAR superior player to both.  

    No denying, but both were far short of HOF worthy while Walkers extras place him in the discussion but behind the velvet rope IMHO.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

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