Colorado Rockies baseball counts.
Your baseball matters.
On Tuesday, January 21, at approximately 4:15 Mountain Time, an entire franchise — everyone who has ever worn the uniform with pride, anyone who ever bought a ticket, every member of the Coors Field staff from the ushers and security guards to those who serve food and drink or sell swag or seats or hope… everyone who has ever considered themselves in any way a member of the Rockies family — has been inducted into the BBWAA Hall of Fame.
It is a group of strangers and best friends and families and bitter rivals and spats on social media and differences in creed, politics, religion, and general outlook on life.
But on Tuesday, we were all Larry Walker.
With the announcement that No. 33 will finally be enshrined in Cooperstown, a 27-year-old question has been answered. Playing baseball in Colorado, it turns out, is not enough to wash away the achievements of one of the greatest to ever pick up a bat.
There is a long way to go, evidenced by how long this took, and how close the final vote total of 76.6 percent turned out to be, but that is a conversation for another time.
You’ve been elected to the Hall of Fame.
The most important shrine to the most beautiful game in the world now includes you. It includes your memories, some of them perhaps shared with loved ones no longer with us. They are in the Hall, too.
My father taught me to model my little league work ethic and approach after Walker. He taught me that someone who played the game with unbridled joy and authenticity and skill both in the physical and mental was something that ought to be emulated. And celebrated. And rewarded.
He is in the Hall, too.
My mother, who along with dad, never missed a game and drove us over the mountains a few times a year to see the big boys so I could return to the Western Slope with dreams of one day standing on that field — and now, in a way, I do — she’s in the Hall.
Your friend who took you to your first game at 20th and Blake. The first person who turned to you and said, “you wanna head to LoDo, tonight?” The family member who put you into a jersey or a t-shirt or a hat way too big for you before you were even capable of having memories. They’re in the Hall.
Manny Randhawa of MLB.com was elected into the Hall of Fame. Growing up in California as a fan of the San Francisco Giants, Randhawa found himself immersed in the Walker question as an outsider and became the perfect spearhead for a cause that attracted everyone from former GMs to plenty of voters themselves. He wrote a book, championed a career, and made a difference when he could have just as easily looked the other way like so many seem to.
You won’t find his name on a plaque. None of these names will be there. And that’s alright. No one will complain. You’re all in the Hall.
Baseball is a game of families and traditions. From this day forward, every father and son, mother and daughter, grandparent and grandchild, or group of friends on a road trip to Cooperstown can visit the Hall and know that your team belongs.
Larry Walker is more than a set of statistics. He was poetry on a baseball diamond. He could run like he was on skates, throw like his arm was made primarily of bazooka parts, he could slide, dive and scale the wall like he was painting right field in colors he had invented.
And he could hit.
Boy, could he ever hit. The whip of his bat was swift and smooth yet forceful and frightening. Narratives sometimes arose that Walker was allegedly afraid of facing particularly tough pitchers, but his .400 career on-base percentage suggests the guys on the mound were the ones who were afraid.
There was nothing that can be done on a baseball field that he did not excel at. And now, he is in the Hall.
And so are you.
Your baseball matters. Your baseball counts. Congratulations.