As an old bucket-of-blood bartender once told me…“The next batter ####### Bucky Walters strikes out will be his first!” (~old bets never forgets~)
His candidacy is based on a peak run of six seasons where he was clearly a very good pitcher, the most consistent and dominant in the National League. But his career ERA+ of 116 is not particularly impressive when compared to Hall of Famers from his era, and outside of his peak, Walters had an ERA over 4.00 and posted a losing record. Was he as great over a short stretch as Sandy Koufax or Addie Joss or any of the pitchers who are in Cooperstown because of their overwhelming peak value? No, he wasn’t, and because Walters failed to even reach career milestones like 200 wins or 2,000 K’s, he fails the magic number test. He did win more games than any other pitcher in baseball from 1935-1949.
In his autobiography, Walters’ teammate Bill Werber wrote: “Big, important games never fazed him, and he seemed to get better as the game went on. We could count on him. He had a good fastball, a decent curve and a sinker that bore in on right-handed batters. As a former infielder, he could field his position as well as anyone in the game. Best of all, he had good control and an excellent knowledge of the batters’ weaknesses.”
Walters was a very good pitcher for a stretch, some of which came when the best ballplayers in his league were in the military. He was the ace on two pennant winners and had a remarkable two-year run where he was 49-21 with 60 complete games. For that, and for his fine peripheral skills as a fielding pitcher and hitter, Walters deserves to be remembered, and he deserves a spot on the Cincinnati Reds All-Time Team. But he’s not Hall of Fame material.
Posted: November 30, 2012 at 06:50 AM | 15 comment(s)
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