Larry Walker Named as One of 34 Hall of Fame Finalists
On Monday morning, the Baseball Writers Association of America unveiled the 2017 Hall of Fame ballot. There are 34 names on this year’s ballot, including former Colorado Rockies great Larry Walker.
Walker is one of 15 returning players who were on last year’s ballot. Those 15 names are joined by 19 newcomers, including notable stars of the past like Vladimir Guerrero, Jorge Posada, Manny Ramirez and Ivan Rodriguez.
Last year, Walker received 15.5 percent of the vote in his sixth time on the Hall of Fame ballot. He finished ahead of Gary Sheffield (11.6 percent), Billy Wagner (10.5 percent) and Sammy Sosa (7.0 percent). To remain on the ballot the following year, a player must earn at least 5 percent of the vote. To get into the Hall of Fame, that number jumps to 75 percent.
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In his 10 seasons in Colorado, Walker compiled a .334 average with 258 homers and 848 RBI, with each category ranking second all-time in Rockies history. He also added 126 stolen bases, which is also second in franchise history.
During his MVP season in 1997, Walker mashed a league-high 49 homers and had 130 RBI to go along with a .366 average. He earned a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger and All-Star bid that season as well. It was the first of three consecutive Gold Glove and All-Star nominations he earned with the Rockies while winning Silver Slugger titles in two of those three seasons.
The numbers are certainly there for Walker, so why is he still so low on the Hall of Fame balloting? In an interview discussed in this article, Walker says part of it is the bias against Coors Field.
“I played in the big leagues for 17 years, and almost 10 of them were in a Rockies uniform,” Walker said. “I feel like I’m getting penalized for that, and in my eyes, I played in the big leagues. The Colorado Rockies are a Major League team, and I’m content with that. Staying on the ballot all 15 years is a success. Obviously, I’d rather be in. But I have no qualms about it.
“There are some things that I did that other players didn’t do, and they’re getting more votes than me. I played defense and won games with my arm and my legs. I brought a lot more to the table than some guys that got more votes than me.”
Hall of Fame voters are required to submit their ballots by December 31. The 2017 Hall of Fame class will be announced during a live MLB Network broadcast on January 18.