Colorado Rockies: Larry Walker on his Hall of Fame snubbings
Larry Walker, who played with the Colorado Rockies from 1995 through 2004, is usually rather relaxed on Twitter on his Hall of Fame snubbings but he showed a bit of a different side in an interview recently.
An MVP award, a five-time All-Star, a seven-time Gold Glove Winner, a three-time Gold Glove winner, three-time batting champion, and a three-time Silver Slugger Winner. All describe former Colorado Rockies outfielder Larry Walker. However, in eight trips to the Hall of Fame ballot, Walker has never received more than 34.1 percent on it, and that happened this year.
Other players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and (in 2017) Manny Ramirez have all done much better on the Hall of Fame ballot as, in the case of Bonds and Clemens, are creeping close to 60 percent of the vote.
Most of Walker’s tweets about it are lighthearted, like this:
However, in an interview with former Montreal Expos broadcaster Mitch Melnick, of Montreal’s 690 CKGM, Walker had a bit of a different demeanor (h/t The Score via Purple Row):
"“I can’t fault myself. I played for a major-league team that happened to be in Denver,” he said. “If that’s a problem, and there’s going to be an issue, then get rid of the team and move it elsewhere if it’s going to be that big of an issue. No needles went in my ass, I played the game clean, but I played in a ballpark. And it’s almost like Coors Field is my PED.”"
He also offered his thoughts on potential steroid users who are doing better than him in the Hall of Fame balloting:
"“They cheated and they’re getting twice as many votes as I am, so take that how you will,” he said."
The only suspected players that took steroids that are nearly double of Walker’s vote total are Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
For me personally, if I had a vote for the Hall of Fame, I would not vote for players like Bonds and Clemens because this reason. Just this in 2018 ballot, players like Walker, Fred McGriff, Jeff Kent, Johan Santana, Curt Schilling, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Omar Vizquel, and Billy Wagner were all hurt by the balloting and during their careers by these players who cheated.
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For McGriff, he had 493 career home runs. Before the “steroid era,” 500 home runs was considered an automatic ticket to the Hall of Fame. If the 1994-95 MLB strike doesn’t happen, McGriff gets 500 home runs. But even with 493, they look sparse compared to the career numbers of Bonds, Gary Sheffield, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and others. If you look at the career home run leaders, without steroid users, McGriff would be tied for 20th all-time in home runs (instead of 28th). From 1988 through 1994, he was in the top four in home runs in the leagues that he played in, including leading the league twice in 1989 and 1992 with 36 and 35 home runs. But, just six seasons later, McGwire and Sosa both completely shattered the single season mark of 61, set by Roger Maris in 1961.
For Walker, there is no question that he is being blackballed out of the Hall of Fame and this is almost exclusively from playing a majority of his career in Denver and Montreal (where they weren’t exactly being televised in the United States on ESPN, NBC, or CBS on a nightly basis). As Walker said himself, Denver is a city and Coors Field is a park in Major League Baseball. There should obviously be adjustments to the offensive numbers but, for Walker, it is obvious that he has still crossed that threshold of being a Hall of Famer.
It’s like the argument that designated hitters and relief pitchers don’t belong in the Hall of Fame. It’s a position in baseball, correct? Are you one of the best, if not the best, who played that position in the era that you played?
Next: Larry Walker fared better in our HOF voting here at Rox Pile
If each of those answers are yes, the answer to whether Larry Walker is a Hall of Famer is abundantly clear.