He’s hitting .400, he just opened a popular new restaurant and he became engaged last week, proposing to his girlfriend while flying to the All-Star game on the jet of team owner Jerry McMorris.
Life is good for Larry Walker.
The Colorado Rockies slugger is even able to joke about a subject that once caused him considerable consternation - his decision to sit out against Seattle’s Randy Johnson.
The left-handed hitting Walker was criticized for ducking Johnson, and some critics even accused him of cowardice.
“That’s one thing that gets me upset,” he said. “I’m not the first lefty to take a day off vs. Randy.”
Walker is in pursuit of the elusive .400 mark, which hasn’t been reached since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941.
He went 4 for 6 Monday night, raising his average to .411 and giving him 10 hits in three games. He also had 26 homers, 78 RBIs and 22 stolen bases. Tuesday, he went 0 for 4, dropping his average to .406.
At the All-Star break, Baseball America polled its correspondents and columnists, who selected Walker as early MVP.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound right fielder recently visited with Anaheim coach Rod Carew, the last player to hit .400 at the AllStar break.
“He said the hardest part was dealing with the media, every minute,” Walker said.
Carew, it should be noted, wound up hitting .329 that season and lost the batting crown to Wade Boggs’ .361. John Olerud reached the 1993 break hitting .395 and finished at .363.
Typically, Walker’s taking it all in stride.
“I get paid $5 million to go out there and catch the ball, throw the ball and hit the ball,” Walker said. “That’s all I’m doing. Next year I might hit .200.”
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