MLB Hall of Fame: Larry Walker could be set up for a late run at Cooperstown

On Wednesday, the 2018 Baseball Hall of Fame class was announced.

Former Expos, Rockies, and Cardinals outfielder Larry Walker did not earn enshrinement. He did, however, receive enough of an uptick in support that suggests he could find his way into Cooperstown before his eligibility expires following the winter of 2020.

Take a look at Walker's vote share in each of his first eight turns through the process:

2011: 20.3%
2012: 22.9%
2013: 21.6%
2014: 10.2%
2015: 11.8%
2016: 15.5%
2017: 21.9%
2018: 34.1%

Walker's case has been laid out in great detail elsewhere by our Mike Axisa. The short version is that Walker's time spent in hitter-friendly Coors Fields is hurting his candidacy -- that despite him grading well in park-adjusted metrics. For example, he ranks fifth in Wins Above Replacement among outfielders who have played in the last 50 years. Predictably, Walker's JAWS score shows him as a worthy Hall of Fame candidate.

Just because voters haven't acknowledge that Walker merits enshrinement yet doesn't mean there isn't time. Consider that Edgar Martinez had never received more than 40 percent of the vote until his seventh year on the ballot. Walker is working with less support and a quicker timeline than Martinez was, with just two ballots left before his case is passed along, but that sense of urgency could work in his favor if voters are drawn to give his career one more look before the clock hits zero.

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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