Sunday, January 12, 2014

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #97 LARRY WALKER


NUMBERS TOO LITE AWAY FROM COORS?



QUIETLY WON THREE NL BATTING TITLES.



DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Nobody dominated in their home park the way Larry Walker did at mile-high Coors Field, where he hit a heavenly .381 with .462 on-base and .710 slugging percentages. On the road, his slash lines were a more down-to-Earth .282/.372/.501. He battled injuries throughout his 17-year career but still won three NL batting titles and seven Gold Gloves in right field. So far, his Hall of Fame candidacy has been grounded.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • On April 8, 1995, Walker left the Expos and signed a four-year $22.5 million contract with the Rockies 10 days after the strike ended. In his 10 years in Colorado, Walker hit 258 homers with 848 RBI and 126 steals.

DEFINING SEASON

  • Walker won the '97 NL MVP after leading the league in five categories, including on-base percentage (.452), slugging (.720) and OPS (1.172).

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Walker was born in British Columbia and dreamed of becoming an NHL goaltender.
  2. After being cut by two junior league teams, he gave up hockey and was signed by the Expos in '84 despite little baseball experience.
  3. In his final five seasons in Montreal, Walker averaged 20 homers and 19 steals, despite numerous injuries that limited him to an average of 131 games.
  4. Traded to the Cardinals in Aug. 6, 2004, and helped them reach the World Series. In that postseason, Walker hit six homers (two in each round) and drove in 11 runs.
  5. Became eligible for the Hall of Fame in '11 and never has received more than 22.9 percent of the vote and that sunk to 10.2 percent Wednesday.

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