Rox Pile’s unofficial baseball Hall of Fame ballots (Part 3)
By Ryan Ladika
Now, out of those 33, I would vote for these ten: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Larry Walker, Chipper Jones, Edgar Martínez, Trevor Hoffman, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome, Sammy Sosa and Scott Rolen. I’ll break my reasoning up into three sections: the under-the-radar players, the case for Bonds and Clemens, and my final five.
Under-the-Radar: Larry Walker
Starting with Larry Walker, I’m going to give you the stats first. Over the course of his 17 year career, Walker hit .313./.400/.565 with 383 home runs and 1311 RBIs. He stole 230 bases, and his career OPS was .965. Additionally, if you’re a fan of advanced metrics, Walker was a 72.6 win player and had a park-adjusted OPS+ of 141. He was a five-time All-Star, won seven Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers, as well as three batting titles. He was also named the NL MVP in 1997.
Two of the most used reasons for docking him are, first, the fact that he played 9+ seasons calling Major League Baseball’s most infamous hitters’ paradise, Coors Field, home. Second, he was not durable. Walker eclipsed 140 games played just four times during the span of his career.
The durability factor is a fair point, but if you take a look at Walker’s MVP season, his home slashline was .384/.460/.709 with 20 home runs and an OPS of 1.169, and away from the Mile High City he hit .346/.443/.733 with 29 home runs and an OPS of 1.176. This illustrates how Larry Walker was a complete player who could hit very well at home and on the road. He was not a “Coors Field Product,” and is deserving of a plaque in the Hall of Fame.