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Larry Walker, Rockies forever plagued by Coors Field stigma

Andrew Dill Avatar
January 19, 2017

 

The ballots were in Wednesday to decide the latest members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In order for one to be elected, they would need 75% percent of the vote. As the results poured in, Jeff Bagwell (86.2%), Tim Raines (86.0%), and Ivan Rodriguez (76.0%) were the three to be inducted, while Trevor Hoffman (74.0%) fell short by just 1% percent.

As for Larry Walker during his 7th year on the ballot — well, he managed to collect just 97 total votes which left him with a percentage of 21.9% — his second highest percentage.

Coors at its finest.

Though the writers will be quick to dismiss the Coors effect of why they aren’t exactly voting for Walker, this will continue to plague future Rockies, such as Todd Helton, in the voting process. Coors Field has forever been a hitters dream park and one to inflate statistics, yet has been detrimental in every way imaginable to the players that call it their home park.

Vladimir Guerrero, for instance, has pretty much had an identical career to Walker yet managed to collect 71.7% percent of the vote — 220 more votes than Walker to be exact.

Guerrero: .318/.379/.553, 477 2B, 46 3B, 499 HR, 1,496 RBI, 737 BB, 985 K’s in 2,147 games.
Walker: .313/.400/.565, 471 2B, 62 3B, 383 HR, 1,311 RBI, 913 BB, 1,231 K’s in 1,988 games.

Walker essentially did more in less games, 159 to be exact. Hey, that’s practically a full season.

Just a reminder, this isn’t a knock on Vlad whom I believe will be in the Hall of Fame. This is just a measurement on how ridiculous the Coors Field argument is and how quick the media will deflect a player that plays there.

Larry Walker’s career splits.
Home: (986 games) .348/.431/.637, 1,193 hits, 268 2B, 39 3B, 215 HR, 747 RBI, 444 BB, 546 K’s.
Road: (1,002 games) .278/.370./495, 967 hits, 203 2B, 23 3B, 168 HR, 564 RBI, 469 BB, 685 K’s.

This is what will be the case against Walker — his home/road splits. Walker, at home, is hitting .70 points higher. Keep in mind, these stats reflect his time in Montreal and St. Louis as well.

Vladimir Guerrero’s career splits.

Home: (1,092 games) .323/.381/.568, 256 2B, 23 3B, 239 HR, 826 RBI, 367 BB, 484 K’s.
Road: (1,055 games) .312/.376/.536, 221 2B, 23 3B, 210 HR, 670 RBI, 370 BB, 501 K’s.

It’s pretty evident to see the differences between the two, yet even bold marking between the same show the same thing. Vlad was pretty consistent with his home/road splits, and it’s evident. Then again, Vlad could hit just about everything thrown his way.

Though Vlad wasn’t a pretty comparable person in terms of road splits, one name that is would be Ken Griffey Jr.

Drew Creasman, editor of BSN Rockies, took to Twitter about the topic at hand.

Ken Griffey Jr. career splits.

Home: .296/.385/.573, 283 2B, 16 3B, 332 HR, 962 RBI, 675 BB, 806 K’s.
Road: .272/.355/.505, 241 2B, 22 3B, 298 HR, 874 RBI, 637 BB, 973 K’s.

As the numbers for Griffey indicate, he too was superior at home opposed to on the road, just not to the same extent as Walker.

5 All-Star Appearances. Check.
7 Rawlings Gold Gloves. Check.
3 Louisville Slugger Awards. Check.
1 National League MVP (1997). Check.

A lot of reasons are given for why Larry Walker receives such a relatively low number of votes for the Hall of Fame, but it all really comes back to a fundamental distrust in his statistics — which in any other case would be more than sufficient — because of his home ballpark.

Where steroid users have been given a deep reading and a nuanced look, those who played most of their home games at Coors Field have not. And this isn’t just a concern for Walker. If he doesn’t get it, it sets an absurd precedent for what any Colorado ballplayer would have to accomplish to enter Cooperstown. Todd Helton becomes eligible in 2019 and based on the current narratives, it isn’t looking good.

Beyond any specific player arguments, those who back Walker or Helton’s case need to be constantly educating BBWAA voters on the realities of Coors Field, insisting at every opportunity that those who call it home are given equal treatment in terms of research and willingness to dissect numbers than what cheaters get.

 

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