Mar 29, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Larry Walker (33) is introduced during the ceremony for the 1994 Expos before the game between the New York Mets and the Toronto Blue Jays at Olympic Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Larry Walker, Edgar Martinez, Alan Trammell, and Carlos Delgado
People like Mike Mussina, Lee Smith, Nomar Garciaparra, and John Smoltz will get into the Hall of Fame. Their numbers will not keep them out, whether in 2015 or the near future. However, some of the hard-working gentlemen of the sport need some recognition too. Especially since their numbers are on par with the others.
How many kids did you see imitating how Edgar Martinez put his gloves on in the batter’s box? How many Little Leaguers did you see bragging about grinding out hits at the plate like Alan Trammell? How many young boys played baseball, while making sure their clothes didn’t get dirty like Larry Walker, or have childhood dreams of trashtalking the competition, without being provoked like Carlos Delgado. Wait, you never did, because they didn’t either.
They were tough men, each seemingly bred to do their talking with their bats and their feet. They each wore their love of the game and their family pride in their hearts, as they entered the batter’s box. Each of them demanded the spotlight with their play, not a microphone. It was rare to see them rant and rave, unless provoked by an unjust gesture from another team.
Walker, in particular, impacted my life, because I knew first-hand how hard it would be for a fellow Canadian to not only make it to the big leagues, but to shine. He was a five-time all star, National League MVP, seven-time Gold Glove Award winner, three-time Silver Slugger Award winner, while being the three-time National League batting champion and worshiped by Americans as well as Canadians. Not bad for a man who would have had to deal with American teammates, opponents, scouts, and other baseball ‘experts’ claiming that he should go back to playing hockey, eh? If you don’t believe me, explain Bob Costas, CBS, and the entire media campaign during the 1992 World Series between the Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves, explaining to everyone how Canadians just don’t get the game very well.
We got it just fine, thank you. Just like we get what it means to have respect and honor for the game. Just like these men, who should be in Cooperstown forever.
** All statistics were found on Baseball-Reference.com