Colorado Rockies: A key stretch of Larry Walker’s 1997 MVP season

25 May 1997: Outfielder Larry Walker of the Colorado Rockies hits the ball during a game against the Houston Astros at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies won the game, 8-5. Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr /Allsport
25 May 1997: Outfielder Larry Walker of the Colorado Rockies hits the ball during a game against the Houston Astros at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies won the game, 8-5. Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr /Allsport /
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Larry Walker remains the only Colorado Rockies player to earn National League Most Valuable Player honors. Today, we look back at a portion of that 1997 season that was key to him winning the coveted award.

From May 11-29, 1997, Larry Walker of the Colorado Rockies would piece together a 16-game hitting streak. It would be the longest of what would eventually be his MVP season.

Walker entered the May 11 road game against the Philadelphia Phillies with a .402/.490/.788 slash line and an OPS of 1.278. When Walker’s hitting streak came to an end on May 30 in a road loss to the Florida Marlins, Walker’s slash line would be .408/.498/.764 with an OPS of 1.262.

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Sandwiched between those games, the future Hall of Famer would rack up 26 hits. Included in those were eight doubles, two triples, and a pair of home runs. Ironically, during the same time frame as Walker would string together his longest hitting streak of the season, he would also endure his longest streak of the season without a home run (10 games) and his longest streak of 1997 without an RBI in a contest (five games).

But while the homers and RBI may have been hard to find at times, Walker’s penchant for hitting was on full display during this streak. Also on display was Walker’s non-reliance on Coors Field to up his numbers as 11 of the 16 games during his streak (in addition to a road game where Walker did not get an at-bat, entering the game in the eighth inning) came away from Denver.

As a reminder, Walker posted an overall road slash line of .346/.443/.733 that season.

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During the streak, Walker went 26-for-60 (.433) and finished it in style, going 5-for-6 in his final two games of the streak (a loss at home at St. Louis (going 3-for-4) and a road win at Florida (going 2-for-2)). The three-hit game against the Cardinals was one of an eye-popping 20 games where he had three hits during that season.

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