Kudos to Rockies alum Larry Walker

Column by Greg Romberg
Posted 9/30/21

“What a coincidence, you’re my favorite fan.” When the Colorado Rockies conducted a series of fan events around Colorado before they went to Spring Training in 1996, my then six-year old …

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Kudos to Rockies alum Larry Walker

Posted

“What a coincidence, you’re my favorite fan.”

When the Colorado Rockies conducted a series of fan events around Colorado before they went to Spring Training in 1996, my then six-year old daughter Alex handed her baseball to Larry Walker for an autograph. As he signed her ball, she told him that he was her favorite player. Without missing a beat, he smiled, handed the ball back to her and convinced her that she was his favorite fan.

That cemented our family’s love of Walker. We’d already loved to taunt foolish base runners who unsuccessfully tried to take an extra base on balls hit to right field by yelling, “What made you think you could run on that arm?” and to cheer on Walker for his remarkable assets at every phase of the game.

When we moved to Evergreen, where he also lived in 1997, we were thrilled by his MVP season what included a .366 batting average, 49 home runs, 46 doubles, 33 stolen bases and 130 RBIs. As was the case with most Rockies’ fans, we were proud when he was named to the Hall of Fame last year and disappointed when his induction ceremony was delayed a year because of the pandemic. We watched with joy as he, with a Sponge Bob Square Pants lapel pin on his coat, joined the hall earlier this month.

We were at Coors Field Saturday when the Rockies retired his number and honored his Hall of Fame selection. When his walk-up song (Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne) was played, we were part of almost 50,000 fans who got to sing along “Aye, aye, aye” for Larry one last time and when he told the crowd, “I don’t say ‘I have a plaque in Cooperstown, I say we have a plaque in Cooperstown,’” we were reminded of the special attributes of a man who locked in a lifetime love of baseball for a little girl he told that she was his favorite fan 25 years ago.

At a time when Americans are so divided over so many things, sports provide us an important way to come together in support of a common goal. During the Rockies’ 29 years in Colorado, there have been more disappointments than celebrations as they’ve made the play-offs just five times and won a single National League pennant. Despite that, we collectively share many happy memories and continue to “root, root, root for the home team” and dream of that magical season when we will finally win it all.

Congratulations to Larry Walker for his well-deserved selection as the first ever Colorado Rockies player to join the Hall of Fame. Now that that barrier has been broken, we can join together in support of the next local hero to earn the same honor.

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