Montreal Expos die-hards celebrate Larry Walker's Hall of Fame induction
MONTREAL -- Larry Walker hasn't played for the Montreal Expos in more than 25 years - there hasn't even been an Expos team since the franchise bolted from Montreal in 2004 - but die-hard fans of the first Major League Baseball team in Canada watched with bated breath Tuesday as the Canadian slugger became a Hall of Famer.
The Baseball Hall of Fame announced its 2020 inductees Tuesday evening, and the fan collective called Expos Fest gathered for a viewing party at a restaurant in Laval, north of Montreal, to see Walker named to the hallowed institution on his 10th and final year on the Hall of Fame ballot.
Walker broke into Major League Baseball with the Expos in 1989. The right-fielder, known for his power hitting, strong throwing arm and speedy base-running, thrilled Expos fans in his six seasons with the team, before departing as a free agent after the strike-shortened 1994 baseball season, which ended with the Expos having the best record in baseball.
Walker, a 53-year-old native of Maple Ridge, B.C., played for 3 teams - the Expos, Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals - during his 17-year Major League Baseball career. He was named most valuable player with the Rockies in 1997 and was a member of the Cardinals team that played in the World Series in 2004 (losing to the Boston Red Sox).
Walker - who hit .313 with 2,160 hits, 383 home runs and 1,311 RBI in his MLB career - is one of 32 players on the Hall of Fame ballot for 2020.
Despite his special place in the heart of Expos fans, he will be enshrined as a member of the Rockies, where he played for more than half his career.
The Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2020 will be inducted July 26 in Cooperstown, New York.