May 16, 1926|
Lenoir, North Carolina
|Died: December 12, 1992
Morganton, North Carolina
|April 20, 1948 for the Chicago Cubs|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 15, 1958 for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
A native of Lenoir, North Carolina, Walker was signed by the Chicago Cubs as an amateur free agent in 1944. He made his Major League Baseball debut with the Cubs on April 20, 1948, and appeared in his final game on June 15, 1958. As a Brookyn Dodger, he was behind the plate when Bobby Thomson hit the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" on October 3, 1951, substituting for Hall of Famer Roy Campanella, who was nursing an injury.
After retiring as an active player in June 1958, Walker served out the season as a Los Angeles Dodgers coach. He then was a minor league manager in the Dodgers' and New York Yankees' farm systems from 1959 through 1964. After 1965 he was a pitching coach for the Washington Senators, New York Mets, and Atlanta Braves, working closely with managers Gil Hodges, Yogi Berra and Joe Torre, among others. Walker was the Mets pitching coach for 14 seasons from 1968 through 1981 including the 1969 World Champion "Amazin'" Mets. As the Mets' pitching coach, he supervised Hall of Famers Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan. Walker scouted for the Braves and St. Louis Cardinals after his coaching career ended.
The book Carl Erskine's Tales from the Dodgers Dugout: Extra Innings (2004) includes short stories from former Dodger pitcher Carl Erskine. Walker is prominent in many of these stories.
His younger brother, Verlon "Rube" Walker, was nicknamed after him; Verlon was a longtime minor league catcher and manager, and served for 10 years (from 1961 until his death in March 1971) as a coach for the Cubs. Before moving to the Cubs, Verlon Walker was the manager of a Cubs farm club, the "Paris Lakers" in Paris, Illinois for a time in the 1950s. The Paris Lakers were a minor league baseball team which played in Paris, Illinois. The team played in the Midwest League from 1950-1959. The Lakers' home field was Twin Lakes Park.
From 1950 to 1954, the Lakers played as an independent team, and from 1955-1959, they were affiliated with the Chicago Cubs.
The Lakers won the 1956 Midwest League championship
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Rube Walker at Find a Grave
- The Deadball Era obituary
|Washington Senators Pitching Coach
|New York Mets Pitching Coach
|Atlanta Braves Pitching Coach