Tom Walker (1970s pitcher)
November 7, 1948 |
|April 23, 1972, for the Montreal Expos|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 23, 1977, for the California Angels|
|Earned run average||3.87|
Robert Thomas Walker (born November 7, 1948) is a former professional baseball pitcher. Walker pitched all or part of six seasons in Major League Baseball, from 1972 until 1977, for the Montreal Expos, Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals and California Angels.
Walker was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 1968 January amateur draft. His greatest feat came in the minor leagues on August 4, 1971, while playing for the Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs and manager Cal Ripken Sr. in the Double-A Texas League (then operating as the Dixie Association). Walker threw a 15-inning no-hitter for the Spurs to beat the Albuquerque Dodgers 1–0. He threw 193 pitches to win the game. In 1972, Walker was selected by the Montreal Expos in the Rule 5 draft and made his major league debut that season. The last batter he faced in the majors, Lyman Bostock, lined into a triple play. Walker posted an 18–23 record in 191 major league appearances over six seasons.
Brush with death
In 1972, while playing winter ball in Puerto Rico, Walker along with several other players helped Roberto Clemente load a plane carrying relief supplies to survivors of the Nicaragua earthquake after Christmas. He offered to accompany Clemente on the trip to the Central American nation, but the plane was full and Clemente told him to stay behind and enjoy his New Year's Eve. A few hours later, Walker returned to his condo and saw the news reports that Clemente's plane had crashed off the coast of Isla Verde, Puerto Rico.
Tom's son, Neil Walker, currently plays for the New York Mets. Another son, Matt, played in the minor leagues as an outfielder in the Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles systems, while another son, Sean, pitched for George Mason University. Tom is also the brother-in-law of former Montreal Expos pitcher, Chip Lang. Meanwhile, Don Kelly, a utility player for the Marlins, married his daughter Carrie, a former professional basketball player, in 2007.
- Singer, Tom (January 3, 2013). "Living legacy: Walker carries spirit of Clemente; Father of Bucs infielder nearly took fateful plane trip that claimed life of legend". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
- "Class of 2015: Eight Elected to the Texas League Hall of Fame". Texas League. Minor League Baseball. July 1, 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
- Tom Kayser; David King (31 August 2012). "45". Baseball in the Lone Star State: The Texas League's Greatest Hits. Trinity University Press. pp. 162–164. ISBN 978-1-59534-119-8. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- Associated Press (July 24, 1977). "Angels Turn Triple Play". Lakeland Ledger. Bloomington, Minnesota. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
- "Pittsburgh Pirates' Second Baseman on the Gift of Life"