Luke Walker

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Luke Walker
Pitcher
Born: (1943-09-02) September 2, 1943 (age 70)
DeKalb, Texas
Batted: LeftThrew: Left
MLB debut
September 7, 1965 for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
October 1, 1974 for the Detroit Tigers
Career statistics
W-L45-47
K558
ERA3.65
Teams
Career highlights and awards
  • World Series Champion: 1971
 
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Luke Walker
Pitcher
Born: (1943-09-02) September 2, 1943 (age 70)
DeKalb, Texas
Batted: LeftThrew: Left
MLB debut
September 7, 1965 for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
October 1, 1974 for the Detroit Tigers
Career statistics
W-L45-47
K558
ERA3.65
Teams
Career highlights and awards
  • World Series Champion: 1971

James Luke Walker (born September 2, 1943 in DeKalb, Texas) is a former pitcher in Major League Baseball who played between 1965 and 1974 for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1965–66, 1968–73) and Detroit Tigers (1974). He batted and threw left-handed.[1]

Walker did almost everything a pitcher is asked to do. He started and filled various relief roles coming out from the bullpen as a closer, middle reliever, and set-up man as well. His most productive season statistically came in 1970 with Pittsburgh, when he finished 15-6[1] (3-1, three saves in relief), while his 3.04 ERA, .714 winning percentage, and 7.1 hits per nine innings all ranked him third among National League pitchers. He also fired a pair of two-hit shutouts. That year, the Pirates won the National League East title for their first post-season birth since winning the 1960 World Series.[2] However, they were swept by the Cincinnati Reds in the NLCS.[3] Walker was the losing pitcher in Game Two, giving up two runs (one unearned) in seven innings in a 3–1 Reds victory. Bobby Tolan scored all three Reds runs, including a home run off Walker in the fifth inning.[4]

In 1971, Walker went 10–8 with a 3.55 ERA for the 1971 World Series champion Pirates.[1][5] On July 18 of that year, in the second game of a doubleheader against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Three Rivers Stadium, he had a no-hitter broken up by a Joe Ferguson home run (the first of Ferguson's Major League career) with no outs in the ninth. The hit was the only one he would allow in a 7–1 Pittsburgh victory.[6] In Game Four of that year's World Series, which the Pirates won in seven games over the Baltimore Orioles, Walker threw the first pitch in a night game in World Series history. His outing was brief: Paul Blair, Mark Belanger and Merv Rettenmund began the game with consecutive singles off Walker to load the bases. After Blair scored on a passed ball, Walker intentionally walked Frank Robinson to re-load the bases. He was then pulled after giving up consecutive sacrifice flies to Brooks Robinson and Boog Powell for a 3–0 Baltimore lead. Walker was then taken out of the game.[7] The Pirates later scored two runs in the bottom of the first, the tying run in the third, and the go-ahead run (the game ended by that 4–3 score) in the seventh, and Bruce Kison threw 6 scoreless innings in relief of Walker. The Orioles got only one hit after Walker's departure, a Blair double off Kison in the second.[8]

In a nine-season career, Walker posted a 45–47 record with a 3.65 ERA and 558 strikeouts in 243 appearances, including 100 starts, 16 complete games, seven shutouts, nine saves, and 824 ⅔ innings pitched.[1] He was also a weak batsman, garnering only 11 hits in 188 at-bats for an .059 batting average.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Luke Walker: Career Stats – Pitching". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  2. ^ Couch, Dick (1970-09-28). "Murtaugh, Pirates Clinch East Sunday After 10-Year Layoff". Warsaw Times-Union. Associated Press. Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  3. ^ "Big Red Machine Rolls On; Baltimore Is Last Obstacle". The Milwaukee Journal. 1970-10-06. Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  4. ^ "Tolan Does It All for Reds, 3–1". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. 1970-10-05. Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  5. ^ Leggett, William (1971-10-25). "Some Kind of a Comeback". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  6. ^ Stellino, Vito (1971-07-19). "Luke Walker Still Spot Starter". The Bonham Daily Favorite. United Press International. Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  7. ^ Durso, Joseph (1971-10-14). "Rookies spark Pirates' return". The Calgary Herald. The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  8. ^ "Pirates even series, top Birds". Star-News. United Press International. 1971-10-14. Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  9. ^ "Luke Walker: Career Stats – Batting". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2011-05-04. 

External links[edit]