|Born:May 15, 1976|
|July 2, 2002 for the New York Mets|
(through 2010 Season)
|Earned run average||4.23|
Tyler Lanier Walker (born May 16, 1976 in San Francisco, California) is a Major League Baseball relief pitcher who is currently pitching for the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League. He is an alumnus of San Francisco University High School and University of California, Berkeley. Walker has pitched for the New York Mets (2002), San Francisco Giants (2004–2006, 2007–2008), Tampa Bay Devil Rays (2006), Philadelphia Phillies (2009) and Washington Nationals (2010).
Major league career
Walker's big break came in 2005, when Giants' closer Armando Benítez was out of action for three months. With only one major league save in his career to that point, Walker filled in admirably by converting 23 out of 28 save opportunities. On June 17, in a game against the Detroit Tigers, Walker made history by becoming the first pitcher to record a save (since the save rule became an official stat in 1969) by entering a game with the bases loaded with nobody out and proceeding to strike out all three batters he faced without allowing a run to score.
Early in the 2006 season, Walker was traded to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Carlos Hines. On June 14 of that year, he was placed on the disabled list with a strained right elbow, and later underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery. On December 10, 2006, he signed a minor league deal with the Giants. He pitched in 15 games late in the 2007 season and re-signed with the Giants for 2008. In 65 games in 2008, he had a 4.56 ERA and became a free agent after the season. On January 6, 2009, he signed a one-yeal deal with the Seattle Mariners. He was released on March 29, 2009, before the start of the regular season.
Walker was signed by the Phillies on April 9, 2009.
On January 25, 2010, Walker agreed to a 1 year contract with the Washington Nationals. He posted a 3.57 ERA during the 2010 season out of a long relief role. After the season ended, he became a free agent.
Walker signed with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League on September 14, 2011.
Nickname and accompanying rumor
Since at least his days at Cal Berkeley, Walker has been known as "The Gobbler."
While Walker has never given an explanation for the nickname's origins, former Cal team captain Jonathan Petke says the nickname started in college, according to his account given to the University's student paper, the Daily Californian April 15, 1996 issue. Apparently, as Walker was making the transition from catcher to relief pitching, and fighting nerves, Walker would take a shot of Wild Turkey (bourbon) whiskey before jogging down to the bullpen. Walker had played the large majority of his 10 previous years of organized baseball behind the dish, and relieving took some adjusting. Walker recorded one save and maintained a 3.58 ERA that season.
- Jacob Shafer (2005-08-29). "Big League Pitcher Tyler Walker". pacificsun.com. Retrieved 2009-01-06.
- Henry Schulman (2007-11-18). "Giants Sign Walker To 1-Year Deal". sfgate.com. Retrieved 2009-01-06.
- "Seattle Mariners sign right-handed pitcher Tyler Walker". MLB.com. 2009-01-06. Retrieved 2009-01-06.
- http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/baseball/mlb/03/29/mariners.morrow.ap/index.html Morrow Headed to Bullpen, SI.com, March 29, 2009