Colorado Rockies: The Hall of Fame case for Larry Walker

DENVER - JULY 9: Right fielder Larry Walker #33 of the Colorado Rockies hits a two-run double against the San Francisco Giants during the MLB game at Coors Field on July 9, 2003 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies won 11-7. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
DENVER - JULY 9: Right fielder Larry Walker #33 of the Colorado Rockies hits a two-run double against the San Francisco Giants during the MLB game at Coors Field on July 9, 2003 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies won 11-7. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /
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19 Apr 2001: Larry Walker #33 of the Colorado Rockies looks on during the game against the San Diego Padres at Qualcomm Park in San Diego, California. The Rockies defeated the Padres 4-0.Mandatory Credit: Donald Miralle /Allsport
19 Apr 2001: Larry Walker #33 of the Colorado Rockies looks on during the game against the San Diego Padres at Qualcomm Park in San Diego, California. The Rockies defeated the Padres 4-0.Mandatory Credit: Donald Miralle /Allsport /

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Defensively, outside of the seven Gold Gloves, the numbers show that those awards were warranted, particularly through the 2003 season (his last full season with the Rockies).

His Total Zone (or TZ, which is the stat that Defensive Runs Saved, or DRS, replaced starting with the 2003 season) was at or above league average in season between 1989 (rookie year) and 2003 with the exception of 1999 (in which he still won a Gold Glove Award). When it went to DRS in 2003, he had  10 DRS before it started going down in 2004 and 2005 before his retirement, which is to be expected as a player ages.

He also was known for his arm in right field and, total, in his career, he had 150 assists, which is 18th all-time, just ahead of Hall of Famers Tony Gwynn and Al Kaline and just behind Jesse Barfield and Dwight Evans, who were also known for their arms in right field (and Evans has been featured on Veterans Committee ballots before).

Final Thoughts

As you can see, you can make a pretty good case for Walker being in the Hall of Fame. Obviously, his injury history and his Coors/road splits don’t play in his favor.

However, the biggest two reasons, in my opinion, for Walker not getting the votes needed for induction are an ignorance and/or bias to Coors Field and votes for players that have steroid allegations (proven or unproven) like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Gary Sheffield, and Manny Ramirez, the first four of which have been on five or more ballots, including this current ballot. Bonds and Clemens have also each received nearly 60 percent of the vote last year, their highest ever.

Next. A look at the Hall of Fame case for Todd Helton. dark

Even a vote for players with a cloud of suspicion (or proven fact) doesn’t change the fact that Walker is one of the best players of all-time and is Hall of Fame worthy but whether he gets enough votes this year, next year, on a Veterans Committee, or ever remains to be seen.

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