Fergie no longer sole Canadian in Hall of Fame

January 22nd, 2020

NEW YORK -- is no longer alone. On Tuesday evening, joined him as the second Canadian elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. It was Walker’s final year on the ballot, and he received enough votes (76.6 percent) from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to be enshrined in Cooperstown, N.Y., along with Yankees legend Derek Jeter on July 26.

The way Jenkins sees it, Walker, a native of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, should have been inducted years ago after putting up legendary numbers while playing for the Expos, Rockies and Cardinals. When Walker retired after the 2005 season, his career WAR was 72.7, which surpassed Hall of Famers like (69.4), (69.2), (64.8), (64.2) and (59.4).

Walker’s best season came with the Rockies in 1997, when he won the National League MVP Award. He hit .366 with 49 home runs, 130 RBIs and a MLB-leading .720 slugging percentage.

“It was a long time coming,” said Jenkins, who was born and raised in Chatham, Ontario. “I think [Walker] has the numbers. He has won a number of awards and played in his share of All-Star Games. For sure, I thought the Hall of Fame honor would come sooner. He has the batting average [.313] and power [383 home runs and .565 slugging]. He came from [the Montreal Expos] and had a chance to play in Denver. He proved to a lot of people in the sports world that he was a bona fide player.”

The last time Jenkins and Walker saw each other was in 2007, when Walker was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. Jenkins plans to be in Cooperstown when Walker is honored. One can imagine what that conversation will be like.

“It going to be a good crowd of people -- a lot of New Yorkers and a lot of Canadians,” Jenkins proudly said.

What a career Jenkins had on the baseball diamond. Best known for his years as an ace for the Cubs and Rangers, Jenkins won 20 games in a season seven times, struck out 3,192 batters and won his only Cy Young Award in 1971 while with the Cubs. Jenkins was enshrined in Cooperstown in '91.

As Jenkins sees it, Walker will not be the last Canadian to be enshrined in Cooperstown. Jenkins believes Reds first baseman will be a Hall of Famer, too. Entering the 2020 season, Votto has a .307 career batting average with 284 home runs, 944 RBIs and a .421 on-base percentage. His career WAR is at 60.2, which ranks fifth on the Reds' all-time list. That number is more than Hall of Famers like Joe Morgan (58) and Tony Perez (45.6).

“Votto has great numbers. He has been putting them up for the last [12] years,” Jenkins said. “I think Joey -- by far -- could be the next Canadian to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.”