The Colorado Rockies announced on Friday that they will retire Larry Walker’s number 33. The ceremony will take place prior to the 1 p.m. MT, Sunday, April 19 game against the St Louis Cardinals at Coors Field. The Rockies said this ceremony will put a cap on a celebratory #Retire33 Weekend.
By then, we will know whether Walker will be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his final year on the ballot. Voting ended on December 31 and results will be announced on January 21.
At press time, 85 percent of known ballots on Ryan Thibodaux’s tracker cast their votes for Walker. 75 percent of the vote is necessary for election. Unfortunately, the ballots that have not been publicized are not as likely to go for Walker. Nathaniel Rakich’s projection system estimates Walker will only receive 73.3 percent of the overall vote when private ballots are incorporated, causing him to fall just short of the game’s most prestigious honor.
It was a pleasant surprise to see Walker get some help from San Francisco Chronicle writers in their ballot reveals this morning. Last year, only two of their six writers voted for Walker, but that number improved to five of the six this time around. (And a special shoutout to Susan Slusser for also adding Todd Helton among her 10 votes).
Walker’s numbers compare favorably to other players on the 2020 ballot, as well as to players in the Hall of Fame overall. He is fourth on this year’s ballot according to JAWS, behind only Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling. Those three players all have varying character clause considerations for voters that Walker decidedly does not, but Walker’s nine and a half years of playing baseball at Coors Field has been just as disqualifying for many voters.
From his 1989 debut with the Montreal Expos to 2005 with the Cardinals, Walker produced a batting line of .313/.400/.565. Even with park-adjusted metrics (134 DRC+), Walker has still rated as a great hitter. According to Baseball Prospectus, Walker was worth 63.2 WARP (which incorporates his excellent defense and baserunning marks) in his career.
Here is Walker’s response:
As many of you have probably seen... #33 is being retired in CO. Thank you Rockies for this amazing recognition!!!— Larry Walker (@Cdnmooselips33) January 17, 2020
And Thank you to the fans in Denver and baseball fans everywhere!!!
This is a huge honor & honour !!!