The Colorado Rockies will retire Larry Walker’s No. 33 in a ceremony on April 19.
His jersey will become the second to be retired by the club, joining Todd Helton’s No. 17.
“Larry Walker carried all five tools, and was the most instinctive player I have ever seen play the game,” said Dick Monfort, the Rockies’ owner and chairman in a team statement released Friday. “He put together 17 incredible years in the big leagues. Number 33 hanging in Coors Field will be a constant reminder of the vast talent of Larry Walker that we were all so lucky to witness here in Colorado.”
Walker, a five-time All-Star, was the National League MVP in 1997, when he hit a league-leading 49 home runs and added 130 RBIs. He also led the league in total bases (409) and had major league-best numbers in on-base (.452) and slugging (.720) percentages. He batted .366, second to San Diego’s Tony Gwynn (.372).
Now 53, Walker began his career with the Montreal Expos (1989-94) and was an All-Star in 1992. He moved on to Colorado (1995-2004) before finishing his career with the St. Louis Cardinals (2004-05).
With the Rockies, Walker also won three batting titles — 1998 (.363), 1999 (.379) and 2001 (.350) — leading the majors in average all three seasons.
In his Colorado career, the outfielder-first baseman played in 1,170 games, accumulating 258 home runs and 848 RBIs with a .334 batting average. He ended his career with 383 homers, 1,311 RBIs, a .313 batting average and seven Gold Gloves.
“There is no bigger honor an organization can give a player than retiring his number,” Walker said. “Today, Dick Monfort called to say that they are going to retire #33! I can’t tell you how taken aback I am by this gesture. I am both thrilled and honored and I look forward to seeing my number hanging next to the greatest Rockie of all time, #17!”
Walker ranks first in Rockies history in batting average, on-base percentage (.426) and slugging percentage (.618). He ranks second, behind Helton, in runs, hits, doubles, home runs and RBI.
Last year, Walker received 54.6 percent of votes cast for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. He is on the ballot this year for the 10th and final time.
The Baseball Writers’ Association of America will announce the Hall of Fame Class of 2020 on Tuesday night.
–Field Level Media