The Lou Marsh Legacy - Honouring Canada's Top Athletes

Larry Walker

Baseball

1998


Colour photo of Montreal Expos player Larry Walker

Colour photo of Montreal Expos player Larry Walker

Date
circa 1989
Collection
Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Surprised?

Larry Walker is widely regarded as the finest position ball player that Canada has ever produced. So why was he surprised to learn he had been selected Canada’s top athlete in 1998? Plagued by injuries and elbow surgery in January 1998, he missed many games. And after all, the year before had been one for the record books. The right fielder with the Colorado Rockies put together one of the finest statistical years in recent major league baseball history. He became the first Canadian to win a League MVP Award hitting .366 with 49 home runs, 130 RBI’s, 33 stolen bases, and 409 total bases. Not bad for a kid from Maple Ridge, British Columbia.

In spite of injuries, Larry still got to the plate in 130 games in 1998, and with a .363 average became the first Canadian to win a major league batting title this century. Only one other, Tip O’Neill, won the title 110 years earlier in 1888. Now, in modern times, the Tip O'Neill Award is given out by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame to the Canadian baseball player "judged to have excelled in individual achievement and team contribution while adhering to the highest ideals of the game of baseball." In 1998 Larry won his seventh Tip O’Neill Award. He also collected his fourth National League Gold Glove Award for his stellar defensive play.

Larry Walker grew up far more interested in hockey. Playing goal, he dreamed of being in the net for the Montreal Canadians. That connection might explain Larry’s fine defensive play and multiple Gold Glove awards. While his hockey aspirations didn’t gel, a few perceptive baseball scouts recognized his effortless power and incredible baseball instincts. Signed by the Montreal Expos as an amateur free agent right out of high school he developed into one of those rare five-tool players combining speed, a strong throwing arm, great defensive play and the ability to hit for both consistency and power.

Walker a hit with voters as top athlete Adobe PDF Transcript


Highlights

1987, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997,1998, 2001, 2002
Tip O'Neill Award, Canadian baseball player of the year
1992, 1993, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002
Gold Glove Award, National League Outfielder
1992, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001
National League All Star Team
1992, 1997, 1999
Silver Slugger Award, National League Outfielder
1994
Led National League in Doubles (Tied with Craig Biggio)
1997
National League Home Run Champion
1997
National League Most Valuable Player
1998
Lou Marsh Memorial Award
1998, 1999, 2001
National League Batting Champion
2009
Inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum