The first non-Hall of Famer in this series, but the closest Rockies alum to Cooperstown so far. He has one shot left, but another 20% jump seems unlikely for the Canadian-born Larry Walker. He will probably have to wait for the Veterans Committee (or whatever it’s called now) to consider his career.
Another victim of the anti-Rockies bias? Or simply a borderline candidate? Todd Helton‘s 61.2 WAR is not as impressive as teammate Larry Walker‘s, but it’s still nothing to sneeze at. Helton collected 2519 hits, and finished his 17-year career with a .316 average, along with 369 homers and 1406 RBI. JAWS ranks him as the 15th best first baseman, above Willie McCovey, Eddie Murray, and Hank Greenberg. But the voters have been cold to Helton in his first year of eligibility, with only 18.0% support so far. Can he make the climb to Cooperstown in years to come?
The Hall of Fame Class of 2019 will be announced on Tuesday, but thanks to Ryan Thibodaux‘s fantastic ballot tracker, we have a good idea of what the results will be. Tomorrow I will post cards for the new Famers after the announcement, but tonight let’s look at a few that are likely to fall short.
One who has a great deal of support from baseball fans is Larry Walker, who spent the bulk of his career with the Colorado Rockies. Walker’s 72.7 WAR makes him a viable candidate, but the voters have shut him out so far. He received more support last year than any prior, with 34.1% of the vote, and as of this writing, he is polling at 65.4%. He will need 167 more voters to check his name to reach the 75% threshold, and that’s not likely going to happen. Will 2020 be Walker’s year?
(June 28, 1949 – August 7, 2017)
Slugging outfielder and 1979 American League MVP, Don Baylor passed away today from multiple myeloma, a form of cancer of plasma cells. Baylor his 338 home runs in his career, was an All-Star in 1979, and won the World Series with the Minnesota Twins in 1987. He presided over the Boston Red Sox’s kangaroo court, and fined Roger Clemens $5 for giving up a single to Spike Owen on an 0-2 count during his 20-strikeout game in 1986. He was also the Colorado Rockies’ first manager.
We mourn the loss of former Oriole Don Baylor. Our thoughts are with his family. pic.twitter.com/ewkdpEDAmA
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) August 7, 2017
Few have worn the Angels uniform with greater pride, loyalty and commitment and few have made a greater impact. RIP Groove. pic.twitter.com/MiwKw2Hkql
— Angels (@Angels) August 7, 2017
We are deeply saddened by the passing of former Yankee Don Baylor. He was a great man & we send our thoughts to his family & friends. pic.twitter.com/3t3UavXPs8
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) August 7, 2017
We're deeply saddened by the passing of Don Baylor, a beloved member of the '86 Red Sox. Our thoughts & prayers are with his family. pic.twitter.com/NmWT9qq9Db
— Red Sox (@RedSox) August 7, 2017
Sending love to the Baylor family today. RIP Don. pic.twitter.com/sXpafJ9L86
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) August 7, 2017
Very sad to hear about the passing of my former teammate and friend Don Baylor. RIP 🙏
— Bert Blyleven (@BertBlyleven28) August 7, 2017
Very sad last few days as baseball loses 2 strong leaders of the past, Darren Daulton & Don Baylor. Two old school tough baseball players.
— Ken Singleton (@29alltime) August 7, 2017
— Dave Winfield (@DaveWinfieldHOF) August 7, 2017
We are deeply saddened by the passing of original Colorado Rockies Manager Don Baylor. pic.twitter.com/hYo61JP1sF
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) August 7, 2017
The #Cubs mourn the passing of former manager Don Baylor.
We send our condolences to his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/LJCwJVRD7O
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 7, 2017
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) August 7, 2017
— Jim Abbott (@jabbottum31) August 7, 2017
— Vladimir Guerrero (@VladGuerrero27) August 7, 2017
— Dontrelle Willis (@DTrainMLB) August 7, 2017
Don Baylor was a great coach, manager, player, mentor, and friend. Above all he was a tremendous human being. Rest easy "Groove".
— Raúl Ibañez (@RaulIbanezMLB) August 7, 2017
Thoughts and prayers go out to the Baylor family. Rest easy Groove!
— C.J. Cron (@CCron24) August 8, 2017
He always gave me confidence after a rough one,always ready to laugh, a great coach,a great friend,with both love and sadness RIP Don Baylor
— Huston Street (@HustonStreet) August 7, 2017
I love the trade deadline, the rumors and the big deals. While I hated to see Johnny Cueto leave Cincinnati, I’m glad he went to a great team in Kansas City. But that move was expected. I never expected to see Troy Tulowitzki in a uniform other than Colorado’s.
Both Tulo and Jose Reyes made their debuts for their new teams yesterday. And of course, I grabbed some images from news sites to make baseball cards of the pair in their new duds. No Photoshopping here…this is the real deal on virtual cardboard.
Reyes was 1-for-3 in his Colorado debut, with a single, a stolen base, and a walk. He was also caught stealing. How long will he be wearing a purple uniform? There are already rumors floating around that he could be headed elsewhere, and if that time comes, a new TWJ card will be created. But for now, he’s the mile high shortstop.
Tulowitzki wowed his new team, going 3-for-5 with a home run and two doubles, driving in three runs and scoring three himself. His slugging percentage in Canada is 1.600. Of course, he won’t keep that up the rest of the season, but it’s a mighty impressive first game in Toronto.
You can check out all of the 2015 TWJ “revamped” series virtual baseball cards at TWJ cards on tumblr.
Photoset: Cincinnati Reds vs. Colorado Rockies (May 26, 2012 @ Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati, OH)
Saturday night’s ballgame against the Colorado Rockies was a slugfest, featuring home runs by Chris Heisey, rookie Devin Mesoraco, and a pinch hit shot by Ryan Ludwick. Starting pitcher Mike Leake only lasted only 3.2 innings, giving up three Colorado runs, but the bullpen came in to shut down the Rockies and preserve the Reds’ win. The Reds’ pitchers combined for eleven strikeouts, winning everyone with a ticket stub a free pizza from LaRosa’s and a free ice cream cone from United Dairy Farmers. Not a bad deal, if you ask me!
Here are some photos from the game…
Phillips…sliding with style!
Heisey’s first home run of the season
Keep your eye on the ball…all the way out of the park
The strikeout flames
Leake hitting a double
Vottomatic on the basepaths, watching BP’s hit fall before taking third
July 16, 2010: Cincinnati Reds vs. Colorado Rockies at Great American Ballpark…
MC Hammer kicked things off in right field with a pre-game concert…
2/3 of the Nasty Boys, Randy Myers and Norm Charlton, threw out ceremonial first pitches…
The team honored its four 2010 All-Stars, (bottom to top: Arthur Rhodes, Scott Rolen, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips)…
MC Hammer helped Dusty Baker deliver the lineup card to the umpire crew…
Bronson Arroyo pitched a great game (with help from Rhodes and Francisco Cordero at the end)…
But not everything went the Reds’ way. Jay Bruce hit a shot to center field, but was robbed by Dexter Fowler in a catch that was reminiscent of Eric Davis’ defensive prowess…
MC Hammer led the crowd in “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch…
After the game, the Reds commemorated the 20th anniversary of their last World Series win with twelve players from the 1990 team. Eric Davis got the loudest response…
Twelve players from the 1990 season, though not all started or ended the season with the team. Bottom to top: Paul Noce, Glenn Braggs, Chris Sabo, Billy Hatcher, Hal Morris, Randy Myers, Herm Winningham, Tom Browning, Ron Robinson, Norm Charlton, Keith Brown, and Eric Davis. Lou Piniella also appeared via a recorded message on the scoreboard, a nice touch in my opinion…
Hall of Fame radio broadcaster Marty Brennaman spoke with each of the players, from Paul Noce, who only made one plate appearance and got a hit (his last in the majors) in 1990, to Ron Robinson, who was traded (with Bob Sebra) to the Brewers for Glenn Braggs (and Billy Bates) in June of ’90, to Keith Brown, who was diagnosed with cancer in the 1990s but beat it. My favorite was Eric Davis, who proudly stated that while Lou Piniella did a good job managing the club, “It was Pete Rose’s team.”
MC Hammer performed again after the ceremony, including his two biggest hits, “U Can’t Touch This” and “2 Legit To Quit.” Videos to come…