This is the fourth and final installment of The College Years. I have really enjoyed writing these posts and hope you've enjoyed reading them. If you missed any of the four, here they are: Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro and Will Clark, and Kris Bryant and Aaron Judge.
The College World Series is down to two teams, LSU and Florida. They play a best-of-three series starting on Monday night. If you're wondering who to root for, go with Florida; they are still looking for their first NCAA championship, while LSU has six since 1990. However, in today's post I'm going to write about the best player in LSU history, and arguably one of the best in NCAA history. That would be Todd Walker.
Out of high school, Walker was drafted by the Rangers in the 51st round and offered a $60,000 signing bonus. Walker opted to attend LSU instead, joining a team that had just won the College World Series in 1991. After three years of domination at LSU, Walker was picked with the eighth pick in the 1994 draft. What led to that jump? Take a look at these numbers, remembering that Walker was a second baseman.
Throw in 51 steals in 61 attempts, as well. Walker was freshman of the year in 1992 and a consensus All-American in 1993 and 1994. Walker also came through on the biggest stage; he was a member of the All-College World Series team in 1993 and 1994. In 1993, the Tigers took home the championship and Walker was voted Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
At the time of his departure, Walker ranked first in SEC history in hits, RBI, and total bases. He is one of only three baseall players to have their number retired at LSU (Ben McDonald and Eddy Furniss are the others). That's incredibly impressive because LSU has had 65 players reach the majors, including guys like Albert Belle, Brian Wilson, Kevin Gausman, DJ LeMahieu, and Alex Bregman.
Walker's major league career was decent, but fell short of living up to his college days. In 12 seasons for seven teams, Walker hit 107 home runs and compiled a .289 average. For the Red Sox in the 2003 playoffs, Walker hit five home runs in 46 plate appearances.