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Larry Walker hangs 'em up

STLCardinals.com story

"I was remembering earlier today what I did in my first at-bat, it was a walk against Mike LaCoss. In my last at-bat, I struck out against Dan Wheeler. I can't remember what came in between."

Larry Walker has a Hall of Fame case. Whether he'll get in or not is another question, and I imagine he'll either take a while to get there or not make it until a sane Veterans Committee puts him in someday, but the fact remains that Larry Walker has the numbers to be in the Hall of Fame. He's better than a LOT of players that are in.

Walker's career line of .313/.400/.565 is upped by spending nine-plus seasons with the Rockies, sure. But he was a good hitter in Montreal before he went to Colorado, and he was a good hitter in St. Louis after, despite being near 40 years old and playing with a bad neck a lot of the time.

Walker's injuries will be a factor in his Hall eligibility, too. I don't really know why, he still played 1988 games, hit 383 homers, drove in 1311 runs, stole 230 bases, and put up a career OPS of .965 (19th-best ever). His adjusted OPS+ is the 78th-best in the history of the league. He also, like Biggio, got hit with a lot of pitches. He was plunked 138 times, which puts him 24th all-time.

Black Ink: Batting - 24 (Average HOFer ~ 27)
Gray Ink: Batting - 116 (Average HOFer ~ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting - 57.8 (Average HOFer ~ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting - 147.0 (Likely HOFer > 100)

He falls short in Black and Gray Ink because he wasn't usually a league leader sort. He was just a good-to-great player every year for a long time, a lot like Biggio (again). His Standards and Monitor are more than good enough, again like Biggio.

He was also pretty well-regarded throughout his career, as best I can tell. He never won a World Series (spending the majority of your career in Montreal and Colorado will do that), which is a shame. And he bows out rather gracefully, as his physical condition just isn't going to allow him to play every day, even though he can still hit.

He is also without any question the greatest Canadian-born hitter in Major League history. And he really may have been a better player than Fergie Jenkins, too, which would make him the best Canadian-born player, period, in Major League history. It's one of those two at any rate.

Happy retirement to Larry Walker, a hell of a hitter.