Wednesday, March 9, 2011

#474 - Luke Walker

Card fact: This is the final card issued of Luke Walker during his career. It's also his only card -- he had eight Topps cards -- in which he's wearing a mustache.

What I thought about this card then: I never saw it. In fact, until very recently, I had no idea who Walker was.

What I think about this card now: Ah, the slanted field in Oakland has returned.

Other stuff: Walker was a starter and a reliever, mostly for the Pirates, from 1965-1974. His major league career was over by the time this set hit stores.

Walker is most known for his early 1970s performances for Pittsburgh. The Pirates were a playoff contender and Walker received starts in the 1970 playoff series against the Reds and the 1971 World Series against the Orioles. He lost both games. He threw the first pitch in the first World Series night game in Game 4 in 1971.

Walker went 15-6 with a 3.04 ERA for the Pirates in 1970, finishing 10th in the N.L. Cy Young Award voting. His performance declined after the 1971 season. After two more years with the Pirates, he was purchased by the Tigers in December 1973. He pitched mostly in relief during his final season with Detroit in 1974.

Back facts: Walker might have been more popular in the early '70s if he went by his first name. Another Jimmie Walker was making a name for himself starring in "Good Times," which debuted successfully in 1974.

Other blog stuff: The purple-pink border combo moves into sole possession of second place with this card. It is just four cards behind the orange-brown border combination.


Play at the Plate said...

He just missed out on going by the nickname, Luke (Sky) Walker. That card should have come with a hand rail to keep you from falling due to extreme field tilt.

Steve Scott said...

Night Owl,

That sloping field in Oakland. It was 1960's rain drainage technology.

Christopher Hamilton said...

Luke didn't lose the 1971 World Series Game 4 (his only start). He had nothing and was knocked out in the 1st inning and relieved by Bruce Kison, who went on to hurl 6.1 innings (IIRC) of one-hit, three-HBP ball.

I remember it well. I was there!