On Tuesday, the MLB announced its 2020 Hall of Fame inductees. It was a short list, topped by Derek Jeter, falling a solitary vote shy unanimity, and one of the bigger upsets in Cooperstown memory: Larry Walker, who jumped from 54.5% of the vote in 2019 to just over the fabled 75% threshold in 2020, the 10th and final year of his eligibility. The Rockies right fielder—long dinged by voters for spending much of his career punching holes in the already thin Coors Field ozone—had done the seemingly impossible and he accepted the honor with grace, humility, and a SpongeBob Shirt...
But while Walker might be self-effacing, calling himself the "B-side" to Jeter's "Despacito," the 2009 Canadian Lumberjack Hall of Fame inductee (a real thing, look it up) deserves to have his face forever immortalized in Cooperstown for this moment and this moment alone. Roll the tape.
Observation #1: Joe Buck still sounds EXACTLY the same. The man must chug honey like La Croix. Observation #2: If you're willing to stand in there with the Big Unit throwing at your skull, turn your batting helmet around backwards, and take a pitch righty for the first time in your major league career against the guy who once vaporized a dove with his changeup, then you deserve the highest honor baseball has to offer. Sure, we get this was the 1997 All-Star Game. Not exactly a lot on the line . . . unless you count life and limb, because that's what these guys risked every time they stepped to the plate against Randy Johnson, exhibition game or no.
So say what to say about ol' Larry Walker. Head down to Cooperstown and chain yourself to the gates if you still think there's sanctity left in baseball to defend. But for us here at The Loop, this is more enough. Come on in, Larry. Make yourself at home. Just remember, no cleats on the coffee table.