Rockies Magazine: What do you do now that you're retired?
Larry Walker: Nothing too exciting really...hang with my kids, golf, fish and travel. I
live primarily in West Palm Beach, Fla. I have three daughters: Shayna, 12, Canaan, 14
and Brittany, 19. The two young ones are into sports—softball and soccer—and Brittany just tries to stay out of trouble.
RM: Rumor has it you live down the street from Andres Galarraga. He said he’s
a 5 handicap and you guys golf together. Who wins more? LW: I haven’t played
much recently, so I’d have to say he’s the winner right now. But I know how to get into
RM: Do you make it back to Canada often? LW: I try to. I have a cabin in the
mountains with no electricity and I go there to get away.
RM: Okay, now for some baseball questions. Even among baseball players, you
were known as one of the more superstitious players. What was your biggest
superstition? LW: Probably my routine in the on-deck circle, taking three practice
swings. If it wasn’t three, if I thought I needed more, I’d go to six or nine swings. That
was my most consistent and I felt it had a correlation to my performance.
RM: How did the number three fixation come about? LW: Well, in the Minor
Leagues—I think it was A-ball—I used to carve my girlfriend’s initials in the dirt. Then
she dumped me so I needed to find something else and the three thing just evolved.
RM: What was it like to win the 1997 National League Most Valuable Player
Award? LW: I was pretty shocked, I guess. I was a small town kid who didn’t really
grow up playing baseball like most of the American or Latin players. A guy like me
isn’t supposed to win an MVP.
RM: You were regarded as a five-tool player—hitting for power and average,
fielding, running and throwing out runners. Was there any part of your game
that you took more pride in than others? LW: Not really. I enjoyed all phases of
the game and I like to think I did all of them at the same level. I don’t think I was a better fielder than hitter. Baserunning is something I took real pride in, since I was essentially learning that part of the game in the Minor Leagues.
RM: Was there a pitcher who you dreaded batting against? LW: Wally Whitehurst
had my number. I think I was like 0-19 against him...couldn’t get a hit off him.
RM: What is your memory of playing in front of the big crowds in Colorado?
LW: It was a blast and the fan support is one of the main reasons I decided to sign
here after leaving Montreal. When the ballpark’s full, that’s when baseball is the best.
That’s why I wanted to play here.
RM: We would like to see what you have to say about one of your famous bloopers from your playing days... LW: What—like when I gave the kid in the stands the
ball with two outs? It was an honor to give Sebastian Napier—that’s his name—that
ball, but the truth is, he took it out of my hand.
RM: If you could change one thing about baseball now, what would it be?
LW: One thing that’s still frustrating is how players are selected for the All-Star
Game. There are still too many players that get voted in when they don’t deserve it,
and other players may be having career years and they don’t make it.
RM: Who are some of your best friends in baseball? LW: The first guys that
come to mind are some of my early teammates: Mark Gardner, John Vander Wal.
And Tim Wallach is one of my best friends.
RM: Who was your funniest teammate? LW: There are some funny guys right here
in the Rockies clubhouse—Todd Helton and Walt Weiss have a funny, wacky, dry sense
of humor. RM: Smartest teammate? LW: Jerry Dipoto
RM: Being a Canadian hockey fan, you were drawn to the Colorado Avalanche’s
Stanley Cup runs. Do you own a “ROYKER” jersey (the Patrick Roy-Larry
Walker combo jersey)? LW: Yes, I do. RM: Were you a Vancouver Canucks fan
growing up? LW: I actually liked the New York Islanders because of Mike Bossey.
RM: Talk about your time with Team Canada during the WBC. The fight against
Mexico was pretty crazy… LW: Any player will tell you, when you put your country’s
name on your chest, it’s a big honor. It was amazing. With MLB, you have a city or
state cheering you on, but with a national team, it’s a whole country cheering for you.
And the melee? That was interesting...we’ll leave it at that.
RM: Any ambitions to get back into baseball on a more regular basis? LW: I’m
content right now. I work with Team Canada regularly; there are more events
throughout the year than just the WBC. They know I’m always interested in coaching.
RM: What advice would you give to someone in high school aspiring to be a
Major League Baseball player? LW: Don’t give up. I played 15 games a summer,
never played the game as a kid. I really learned to play the game in the Minor
Leagues. Listen to your coaches. Some aspects of the game are hard to teach and
I’m lucky that I always just “got it.” v
are locked out
by the owners.
The Hubble Space Telescope finds conclusive
evidence of black
holes, which had been
purely theoretical up to
Steve Fossett becomes the
first person to make a solo
flight across the Pacific Ocean
in a balloon, taking off in Seoul,
South Korea and landing in
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