10 years of anticipation have finally paid off, finally led to this: Larry Walker is a Hall of Famer.
Walker was nothing short of a legend in the Mile High City, seemingly always having fun at the plate and in the field, making four All-Star Game appearances and winning the MVP trophy in 1997.
While the greatest Canadian baseball player in history began his career with the Montreal Expos (1989-1994) and finished with the St. Louis Cardinals (2004-05), his best years came with Colorado.
Walker played parts of 10 seasons with the Rockies between 1995-2004 and cemented himself as a franchise icon during his time with the purple and black.
Walker hit .334 (1,361-for-4,076) with 297 doubles, 44 triples, 258 home runs, 848 RBI, 126 stolen bases and 584 walks in 4,795 plate appearances as a Rockie.
Walker ranks first in franchise history in batting average, on-base percentage (.426) and slugging percentage (.618). The Canadian native ranks second in runs, hits, doubles, home runs and RBI behind fellow icon Todd Helton.
Walker was the 1997 National League MVP, slugging .720 and accumulating a 1.172 OPS to pair with 409 total basses. The outfielder is the only player in franchise history to win an MVP award.
Walker cranked 49 home runs during the ’97 season, which led the National League. His 49 home runs are tied with Helton’s 2001 total for most single-season home runs in club history.
Walker wore No. 33 for his entire 17-year career, and the Rockies will retire his number during the 2020 season. Walker’s No. 33 will be just the second number of a former player retired by the Rockies of and will hang along the right-field facade inside Coors Field alongside Helton’s No. 17, Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 and the initials KSM which honor former club president Keli McGregor.
“Larry Walker carried all five tools, and was the most instinctive player I have ever seen play the game,” said Rockies Owner/Chairman & CEO Dick Monfort via press release. “He put together 17 incredible years in the big leagues. Number 33 hanging in Coors Field will be a constant reminder of the vast talent of Larry Walker that we were all so lucky to witness here in Colorado.”
All told, Walker finished his career with 2,160 hits, 383 home runs, 1,311 RBI and a .313 career batting average. He was a five-time All-Star, seven-time Gold Glove winner and a three-time Silver Slugger recipient.
At long last, 26 years into their franchise, the Colorado Rockies have their first Hall of Famer in Walker. That now opens the door for someone like Todd Helton, who was also on the ballot this year.