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Former Expos outfielder Larry Walker is now a Hall of Famer.
Walker received 76.6 per cent of votes from members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America during his 10th and final year on the Hall of Fame ballot. Players need at least 75 per cent of the votes to get into the Hall of Fame and Walker received only 54.6 per cent last year.
Walker will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 26, along with Derek Jeter, who was also voted in on Tuesday with 99.7 per cent of the votes. The results of voting were announced at 6 p.m.
The 53-year-old Walker, who is from Maple Ridge, B.C., becomes only the second Canadian Hall of Famer, joining pitcher Ferguson Jenkins of Chatham, Ont., who was inducted in 1991.
Walker played 17 seasons in the major leagues, making his debut with the Expos as a 22-year-old in 1989. He would play five more seasons with the Expos before signing as a free agent with the Colorado Rockies after the strike-shortened 1994 season.
Walker played in five All-Star Games, including one with the Expos in 1992 and four with the Rockies.
Walker was named the National League’s MVP in 1997 with the Rockies after he hit a league-leading 49 home runs and added 130 RBIs. With the Rockies, Walker would play 1,170 games and win three batting titles (1998, 1999 and 2001) while hitting .334 with 258 homers and 848 RBIs. He ended his career with 383 homers, 1,311 RBIs, a .313 batting average and seven Gold Gloves for fielding.
The reason some baseball writers wouldn’t vote for Walker for the Hall of Fame is because they believe his statistics were inflated by playing so many games at hitter-friendly Coors Field in mile-high Denver. Walker hit .381 at Coors Field with a .462 on-base percentage and a .710 slugging percentage. His career road totals included a .278 average, a .370 on-base percentage and a .495 slugging percentage.
It seems certain Walker will enter the Hall of Fame wearing a Rockies cap. There are only three players in the Hall of Fame wearing Expos caps: Gary Carter, Andre Dawson and Tim Raines.
The Rockies will retire Walker’s No. 33 on April 19 before a game at Coors Field against the St. Louis Cardinals.
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