Wednesday, May 18, 2016

no. 534 - luke walker

Who is the man: Luke Walker was at the peak of his career when this card was issued. He won 15 games for the NL East-winning Pirates. He finished third in the league in ERA (3.04).

Can ya dig it: Not an attractive card. Walker is wearing his cap so high he appears to have a 3-foot tall head. And that jacket collar tucked into the uniform jersey look is fairly hideous.

Right on: Lots of neutral space for Walker's signature at least.

You see that cat Walker is a bad mother: Walker gave up just six home runs in 163 innings pitched in 1970, which was the best in the National League.

Shut your mouth: Elated over his 1970 season, Walker was quoted in spring training the next year that he could potentially win 25 games in 1971. "Why 20 victories?" he said. "I think I can win 25 games." Walker would win 10 games that year. And 26 for the rest of his career.

No one understands him but his woman: Walker threw the first pitch in a night World Series game. That was in Game 4 of the '71 World Series. But the atmosphere didn't suit him. He opened the game by giving up three straight singles to load the bases, then watched a run score on a passed ball. After an intentional walk, he gave up back-to-back sacrifice flies and was pulled from the game.

(A word about the back): Walker's 2.03 ERA in 1968 came almost exclusively in relief. He started just 2 of 39 games and saved three games.


  1. When I was 9 and new to baseball, I latched on to Luke Walker as one of my favorite players, based mainly on the three cards I had (1974, 1974 Traded & 1975). I don't think I've ever actually seen him pitch, but I've got a pretty decent Luke Walker collection going. I seem to remember reading that he was an outstanding high school pitcher in Texas, and the comment about 12 no-hitters would seem to confirm my shaky memory.

    He made it into the 1971 "Super" set as well; I don't think Luke was the only one anticipating more of him after his 15 wins.

  2. Luke, I am your Fastball...Ha!