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?