Canadian Larry Walker inducted into Cooperstown Hall of Fame

Canadian Larry Walker inducted into Cooperstown Hall of Fame
He reached the 75 per cent grade in his tenth and final year of eligibility. He's coached on the Canadian National Team for the last 15 years, most recently at the WBSC Premier12 2019.

Larry Walker didn't believe he was going to get into Cooperstown on his final Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. Before the result was made public, he tweeted to thank those who were supporting him.

Walker actually made the 75 per cent grade by six votes and became the first Canadian position player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame. The only other Canadian who made it to Cooperstown is Ferguson Jenkins, a right-handed pitcher who played in Major League Baseball for Philadelphia, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox and was inducted in 1991.

Larry Kenneth Robert Walker was born in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, in 1966. He got to baseball late. "I'm a hockey player," commented Walker in an interview with the New York Post, "baseball was something I had to learn along the way."

He did learn pretty well. Walker was voted five times to the All-Star Game, earned the National League MVP Award in 1997 and seven Gold Gloves as a right fielder. He made his debut in 1989 for the Montreal Expos, but spent his prime years (1995-2004) for the expansion Colorado Rockies. He played his final two seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals.

After his retirement as a player, Walker joined Baseball Canada, the current world No. 12 programme, as per WBSC ranking. He's been a member of the Canadian National Team coaching staff since then. He served in the WBSC Premier12 2015 and 2019, in all four editions of the World Baseball Classic, in the 2009 IBAF World Cup. He helped Canada capture gold medals in the Pan Am Games 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico, and on home soil in Toronto in 2015.

“On behalf of the entire membership of Baseball Canada, we’d like to congratulate Larry on this amazing accomplishment and fitting tribute to an amazing career he had as a Big League player,” said Baseball Canada President Jason Dickson. “I speak personally when I say that Larry was someone that young Canadian players could look up to not only for what he did on the field but for how he carried himself as a professional athlete and for the manner in which he represented our great country.”

When he received the call that confirmed his induction from the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) Larry Walker said he was "speechless".

"I calculated in my head that I would be about 73.3," added Walker.