Larry Walker...Jim Rice? You Can't Have One Without the Other, Can You?
Well I guess I should start this off with congratulations to Rickey Henderson, a first-ballot Hall of Famer to be sure.
My first quick question is who are the 28 guys that honestly believed that Rickey wasn’t hall-worthy? Because the conversations with colleagues, friends, family or anyone else interested for that matter had to go like this….
So Jim, who was on your ballot this year besides Henderson? I mean did you vote for Rice, Dawson, Blyleven, Smith, Morris?
How about it, were you one of the few that threw a vote to Dave Parker, or David Cone, maybe Big Mac or Alan Trammell?
Actually no, to be honest I didn’t vote for Rickey.
Oh really you submitted a blank ballot? Figured none of these guys where Hall of Fame worthy then? I mean it’s hard to believe, but I’d love to hear the argument.
No, I wasn’t one of those two. I picked Rice, Dawson, Jay Bell, and Mo Vaughn.
JAY BELL? Really? You voted for JAY BELL!!
Well, I feel that nobody should be a unanimous first ballot hall of famer.
But somewhere out there guys, like you support the notion that Jay Bell, Mo Vaughn and Jesse Orosco could be Hall of Famers, I mean, they got votes for crying out loud…..somebody must have checked their boxes?
You guys must be half way to the moon if you think any of this makes a lick of sense! Those guys don’t even qualify for the Hall of Very Good!!
Or at least that’s how I’d imagine the conversation to go in my head. Those 26 writers that voted should be ashamed of themselves for not choosing an obvious Hall of Fame choice in Rickey.
As for the two writers that submitted blank ballots, get over yourselves. I mean honestly, you’ve been given the privilege of choosing who is inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and you waste it on some childish notion that there shouldn’t be a unanimous first ballot Hall of Famer.
I would also like to say thank you to Jim Rice. Jim, Canada wants to buy you a drink. Why Canada you ask? No don’t go running for your atlas; Boston hasn’t somehow been magically transported to Manitoba. (Although I am sure there are a few in New York that wish it had been.)
I’d like to that the Red Sox media machine for making Rice the darling pick over the last couple years, to the point where he edged his way over that 75 percent threshold.
Why you ask?
Great question, because I couldn’t understand how Rice got there, I mean it wasn’t like at some point in the last 15 years he collected a couple hundred more hits, or swatted another 120 home runs.
But argument I keep hearing is, that his numbers have become more impressive because of the era he played in and the six or seven seasons of dominance that he had.
His steep decline later in his career has somehow become less of a problem with writers became over the past couple of rounds of voting.
So I submit to you Jim Ed Rice, .298 avg, 382 HR, 2,452 hits, 1451 RBI, 58 stolen bases, 8 times an All-Star, once an MVP and one hell of an American.
In his best major league season he batted .325, 46 HR, 139 RBI, collected 213 hits, stolen 10, was caught five times.
If all of that is hall worthy, lets talk about Larry Robert Kenneth Walker, born Dec. 1, 1966, in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, or as I like to call him Canada’s next Hall of Fame inductee.
Nope Canada isn’t struggling to add anyone else to the National Hockey League Hall of Fame, so let me focus my effort on Cooperstown.
Okay, now that you have screamed out the word WHAT, in utter disgust and then proceeded to slowly mouth the words Larry Walker over and over again in an extremely slow and confused manner, let me get started.
First things first, Walker only averaged 125 games per season because of injuries, so I we can conclude that although he did play 17 years in The Show for Montreal, Colorado and St. Louis, some of his raw numbers are a little light.
That being said, let's start with the two stats that Hall of Famer writers go straight to when measuring greatness: home runs and hits. Walker managed 383 home runs, one more than Rice’s all-time total. He did it in 1,300 fewer at bats.
Larry managed to knock a big fly over the wall at a clip of 1 every 18.03 at bats. Rice on the other hand whacked long balls at a pace of 1 per every 21.53 trips to the dish.
Everyone at this point is going to point to the ball park on this stat. But can we not agree that Fenway has inflated a few numbers in its day?
Walker's home vs. road splits for homeruns on his entire career is 56/44 home vs away, while Rice is 54/46.
Now in the hits category, Walker is 292 hits shy of Rice’s total at 2160, but taking into account the number of at bats missed over his career, especially those in his prime, we I can safely say that Walker’s .313 would more than like put his career total somewhere in the 2400-2500 hit range.
If we simply take his career average and multiply it by the number of additional at bats Rice had, we get an additional 412 career hits for Walker or 2,572.
Moreover, if he look at his 162 game avg, and multiply that by his 17-year career we are looking at 2,992, or a mere 8 hits shy of 3000, but I am sure he would’ve come back to get, and probably 100 or so more.
Walker does get hurt by the limited at bats in the RBI total as well, although he falls short of Rice, his 1311 has him in similar company to Paul Molitor, Roberto Clemente, Pete Rose, Mike Piazza, and Duke Snider.
I would again go back to a yearly average of 107. 1700 runners driven in is exclusive company it puts you in the top 25 for an all-time career, ahead of Ernie Banks, Tony Perez, Cal Ripken Jr.
It puts you in the club with Manny Ramirez, Frank Thomas, Reggie Jackson, Honus Wagner and Ken Griffey Jr. Those names all sound like Hall of Famers to me.
His 471 career doubles outpace Rice by 98 for his career. We are talking about Jim Rice a right handed batter that played in a park that manufactures doubles out of long fly ball outs.
So again, I am not impressed by the Home vs. Road knock on Walker. I know you’re thinking it.
We can talk offense all day, but it is apparent to people that watched that both were great, but that Walker was a more complete player. He stole 230 career bases, to Rice’s 58.
Walker took home, let's count them with me now 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 gold gloves over a 10-year period, while Rice managed NONE.
Rice was a two-time Silver Slugger winner, an award Walker took home three times, including three league batting titles, hitting at whopping .379 in 1999.
He finished in the top ten six times. Rice also had six top ten finishes, but was never higher than third.
There are 92 members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Larry Walker ranks in the Top 100 all time in Batting Average, Homeruns, Doubles, At bat/RBI Ratio, Extra Base Hits, On Base Percentage, and in 1997 became a member of the 30/30 club.
I submit to you Larry Walker, one MVP, three batting titles, five all star games, seven gold gloves, 162 games averages of .313/.400/.965, 31 home runs, 107 rbi, 38 doubles, and 19 stolen bases.
I present to you Canada’s next Hall of Famer.
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