After falling well short of Hall of Fame induction last week, former Colorado Rockies outfielder Larry Walker expressed his belief Friday that playing much of his career at altitude is hurting his chances.
"I can't fault myself. I played for a major league team that happened to be in Denver. If that's a problem and if that's going to be an issue for them, then get rid of the team and move it elsewhere if it's going to be that big of an issue. No needles went in my ass. I played the game clean, but I played in the ballpark and it's almost like Coors Field is my PED."
Walker received just 34.1 percent of the vote last week, and he has two more years to get to the 75 percent threshold needed to become a Hall of Famer before falling off the ballot.
The 51-year-old Walker spent 10 of his 17 MLB seasons with the Rockies and enjoyed his most productive campaigns in Colorado.
In 1997, Walker was named the National League MVP after hitting .366 with a career-high 49 home runs and 130 RBI.
During his time with the Rockies, Walker hit .350 or better in a season on four occasions and hit 35 or more homers four times as well.
The five-time All-Star, seven-time Gold Glove award winner, three-time Silver Slugger award winner and three-time batting champion also spent six seasons with the Montreal Expos and parts of two years with the St. Louis Cardinals.
For his career, Walker hit .313 with a .400 on-base percentage, 383 home runs and 1,311 RBI.
While the Rockies have only been in existence since 1993, no player has gone into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a member of the franchise, and the Coors Field stigma could have something to do with it.
The likes of Walker, Andres Galarraga, Todd Helton, Dante Bichette and others benefited from the thin Denver air. Unless something changes drastically for Walker over the next two years, the Veterans Committee may represent his best chance at reaching the Hall of Fame.