Larry Walker, his Cooperstown case, and the voters inability to properly evaluate success by a hitter in Coors Field

The baseball Hall of Fame is a joke by now, the voters have butchered so many things in so many ways that as we stand today, no fan really cares about it.


Example: Joe DiMaggio, not a first ballot Hall of Famer.


But nevertheless, there’s still some discussion about player’s cases, why is that.


Because in baseball, just like in all other sports, everybody loves to compare the great ones, even tho in most cases it’s completely pointless, and the media encourages it, how many segments in sports shows have you seen about who’s the greatest QB ever, is it MJ or Lebron, for a minute there when it was barely plausible, you saw the Harper/Trout debate, decades from now you’ll hear the Seager/Correa debate, anyway my point is, we all love it.


So when you heard for years, the sabermetricians of the world stating that Tim Raines was clearly a Hall of Famer, it was mostly about him being an underrated player, whose production came from his OBP and baserunning which got overlooked by the old school voters, same goes for a guy like Mussina now, in the opposite side you have s guy lIe Jack Morris who received his support mostly from the veterans, the numbers show he was basically Bartolo Colon for a shorter but nevertheless long period of time, but the postseason performances, throwing a 10 inning shutout in the World Series, eventually got him in.


Before I get into Larry Walker, there’s something i want to say, for all of you who support Barry Bonds, here’s why there’s no way in the world he should make it, first and foremost, to this day he has not pubicly admited his use of PED, much less apologized for it, even Mark McGwire did it for crying out loud, it’s obvious his stats are mindblowing, his WPA (Wins Probably Added) number blows anyone else who ever played baseball out of the water, so what, who cares, most people who defend him say he’d have made it even without the PED, so he should be in, that’s pointless.


The guy was great enough to receive the highest honor the sport offers, to be immortalized alongside the very best, despite that  he cheated the game, you know what that is called, greed, i once made this analogy, it’s like a kid smart enough to get an A, cheating to get an A+, it’s an insult to all the other players, as it is an insult to all of the other students, admit it, issue a statement apologizing it, then i could consider it.


He’s not being thrown in jail, he’s not being fined, he’s just not in the Hall of Fame,.


Now let’s get into Larry Walker, first, let me explain why I chose him, he is a guy that to me is a victim of the voters’ inability to properly evaluate success by a hitter in Coors Field.


Let’s look at his body of work.

Larry Walker’s career numbers

313/400/565 Slash Line
11.4 BB%     15.3 K%
.252 ISO     .332 BABIP
.412 wOBA     140 wRC+     68.7 WAR
2160 Hits     383 HR     230 SB     1988 Games     8030 PA


If you ask me, those are Hall of Fame stats. To kick it off, a few interesting takes.

Do you know how many hitters in the history of baseball, have a .310+ AVG with a K% of at least 15?

3, Miggy Cabrera, Joey Votto and Larry Walker

He is 1 of 2 players ever with an ISO of .250 or more, a .400+ OBP and over 200 Stolen Bases, the other one is Barry Bonds.

Let that last one sink in.

Lastly, he is one of eight hitters in all of baseball history to get at least 67 WAR with less than 2000 Games played.

Moving on from the amusing facts, let’s contextualize his stats

Walker’s .313 career average puts him ahead of legends such as Ichiro Suzuki, Manny Ramirez, Edgar Martinez, Derek Jeter and Mike Trout,, I know about Coors, but among all of them, the lowest BABIP belongs to Larry, that does not change much, but it is noteworthy.


He’s one of just six players in MLB history who finished with a .300-plus average, .400-plus on-base percentage, .550-plus slugging percentage, 450 or more doubles, 60 or more triples, 350 or more homers and 1,250-plus RBIs. The other five, Stan Musial, Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig are Hall of Famers.


His .965 OPS is 16th on the all-time list, that’s also helped by the rarefied air of Denver, correct, but consider this.


Walker’s 140 wRC+, sits ahead of Vladimir Guerrero, Joe Morgan, Ken Griffey Jr,  George Brett, Fred McGriff, Wade Boggs, Rod Carew, Tony Gwynn, Jim Edmonds, Carl Yastrzemski and several others, it places him right in line with Alex Rodriguez (141), Chipper Jones (141), Mike Piazza (140), David Ortiz (140), Duke Snider (139) and Reggie Jackson (139), how about that for company


Note: Most of you guys probably know this but maybe someone doesn’t, wRC+ is not only one of the best stats to measure a hitter, but also is park adjusted.


The final point to completely shred any, “it was Coors” argument, yeah it is clear that his numbers were significantly better at home than on the road throughout his career, but that’s more a testament to how awesome he was in Colorado than any bad outcome on the road.


Career numbers:

Larry Walker on the Road: 278/370/495 .865 OPS

Beltran’s career: 279/350/486 .837 OPS


Beltran was a CF, different evaluation of a player’s value, i get all of that, but the numbers show, only as a hitter, Walker’s road numbers are an improved version of what Beltran’s career was


From 02-05, FG advanced splits (wOBA, wRC+) only goes back to 2002

At Home
.356 BABIP     .255 ISO     .441 wOBA     150 wRC+


On the Road
.305 BABIP     .216 ISO     .373 wOBA     126 wRC+


There’s a significant difference there, but his career road OPS of 865 is better than the career marks of Carlos Beltran (836), Buster Posey (850), Darryl Strawberry (862), Paul O’Neill (833), Don Mattingly (830), Chase Utley (828) to name a few.

Walker overall in his career hit .278 on the road in his career, which is higher than 33 position players in the Hall of Fame among them, Craig Biggio, Willie Stargell, Ken Griffey Jr, Reggie Jackson, Joe Morgan, Carlton Fisk, Carl Yastrzemski, Mike Schmidt, Johnny Bench and several others.

With all of this information can you even remember the time you thought Larry wasn’t a Hall of Famer?


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