Larry Walker has said it often: he does not consider himself a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He has to get used to it: the Cooperstown institution has officially opened its doors to him.
“I consider myself average in all aspects of my life, and that suits me well,” he said at the end of the speech. But to tell you by standing on this stage right now that I feel “average” would be a complete lie. I’ve been on cloud nine all day.
“I must thank the journalists who checked my name on the ballot papers. Even those who do not have it: your job is difficult, “he said earlier.
After 10 years on the ballots and 21 months of waiting, the former Montreal Expos player officially entered the Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
Elected in January 2020 in his final qualifying year with New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Walker saw that the pandemic postponed the ceremony, which was originally scheduled for July 2020. It was again postponed in July last year, before the temple took advantage of relief in health protocols. to hold the event this Wednesday.
Walker, who will only be the second Canadian – and first-time player – after Ferguson Jenkins is recorded in Cooperstown, will forever wear the Colorado Rockies cap on his poster that adorns the walls of the temple.
I’m not very social media, but a few years ago I had the hashtag #FergieNeedsaFriend (Fergie needs a friend). Fergie, it’s an honor to be with you there. ”
Walker also made a great place for the years in Montreal – his former teammate Tim Wallach was among the guests – in the speech.
“I will always be grateful that the Montreal Expos gave me a chance to play baseball professionally. For all the Expos fans and for the people of Montreal, it has been a great honor to wear the uniform and represent my country. I enjoyed a number of good years in Montreal, none as much as 1994. We all lost a lot due to the season high that year. Who knows what would have happened, but I can still imagine what it would have been like to give Quebec a World Series.
“To the fans who hope that their team will return, I will join you and I hope that Major Baseball will return to your beautiful city before long”, he took care to add, before thanking the country.
“Thank you Canada! Thank you for the support you have given me over the years. I share this honor with all Canadians, and I hope that the young Canadians who watch today and who dream of playing in the Majors will have a reason to continue. “
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Maple Ridge, BC, baseball player was admitted after seeing his name on 76.6% of the ballots distributed by members of the Baseball Columnists Association of America (BBWAA). During his 17-season career with the Expos (1989-1994), the Rockies (1995-2004) and the St. Louis Cardinals (2004-2005), the Walker National League won the MVP title., Three stroke championships, seven gold gloves, three Silver Sticks and five times competed in the All-Star Game.
He ended his career with an offensive average of .313 /, 400 /, 565; 2,160 hits, including 417 doubles and 383 home runs, 1311 RBIs, 1355 runs and 230 steals.
Most of the spectators gathered at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, but did not wear Larry Walker’s 33 shirt, but Derek Jeter’s # 2 shirt.
The former Yankees captain won 99.7% of the vote in the January 20200 poll. He did not fail to point out that only one journalist did not vote for him.
“I want to thank all the journalists except one of you,” he laughed.
Jeter ended his career with 3,465 hits, the sixth highest overall in MLB, maintained an attacking average of .310 /, 377 /, 440 and started 2,660 interceptions, the most in all of baseball history, in addition to winning the World Series five times.
“Being able to play all these years with one team is due to ‘Boss (ex-owner George Steinbrenner) and the Steinbrenner family. Everyone says how difficult it is to play in New York and especially for the Yankees. The ‘boss’ is demanding and demands the best of you. He did it to see if I was able to take on my role in this club, to lead the Yankees.
“We managed to get along well because we only had one goal: to win. All I wanted throughout my career was to earn more than others. And we did it ”
After Jeter’s speech was over, the many Yankees fans who took the tour sang his name, as they have so often done at Yankee Stadium during their 20-year career.
“What a sensation! After a while you forget how good a ‘feeling’ it is!” He admitted at a press conference.
Both men were introduced together with the ex-players’ association’s strongman Marvin Miller (posthumous), as well as ex-Cardinals wide receiver Ted Simmons, chosen by the honorary committee. Modern, in December 2019.
Simmons, who enjoyed an excellent career with the St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves, became the first player to be recruited after being sent off in his first qualifying year.
His 2,472 hits were the highest total for a receiver when he retired in 1988. Only Ivan Rodriguez has beaten him since. This had not impressed the journalist voters in the first year he qualified: he had not won 5% of them, so his name was withdrawn from subsequent elections.
The modern committee got it right by opening the doors to the temple for him.
Frédéric Daigle, The Canadian Press