Thursday, June 11, 2009
1989 Topps Major League Debut #133: Larry Walker
PHOTO: Wow, this is a beautiful card. The red borders on this set bug me, except on nice red cards like this. We've got basically just 4 colors on this card, which is nice one in a while. Gotta love the powder blue pants, too.
STAT: Sometimes it's easy to forget Larry Walker, but from 1990 to 2005, he's in the top 20 for highest OPS+ (minimum 5000 plate appearances.) He's ahead of Chipper Jones, Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez, Mo Vaughn, Fred McGriff, and Sammy Sosa, just to name a handful. He did definitely benefit from Coors Field, though, as his neutralized career OPS is .924, as compared to the actual value of .965. (Still, though, over 1990 to 2005 he's 8th in OPS, and even his adjusted value would still be 21st.)
ANAGRAM: Describing Walker's smooth swing....Larry Walker, Expos = Laxly wreak ropers
Walker had a great career. It's easy to write off his accomplishments as created by Coors Field, but there's no doubting that he was a phenomenal player. Three batting titles, two slugging titles, one 400-total-base season, one MVP award...and he hit 7 HR in 28 post-season games, despite most of them coming at the tail end of his career with the Cardinals. Other than his 20-game cup of coffee in 1989, he finished every other season with at OPS+ of at least 110 and topped 150 in SEVEN different seasons...WOW!
I wonder what will happen when he comes up for the Hall of Fame soon. The numbers say he belongs, but somehow I doubt he'll get as much support as that.