Tuesday, August 25, 2009

1976 Topps #186 - Tom Walker

  • Tom Walker pitched mostly in relief for five teams from 1972-1977. He was a first round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 1968. Tom pitched in the Orioles' system from 1968-1971 and his highest ERA was 2.82. He never got to the big leagues with the Orioles (they had a few good pitchers back then) and was drafted in the Rule 5 draft by the Montreal Expos in 1971.
  • Walker made the Expos in 1972 and was used as a reliever. He pitched in 46 games and was 2-2 with two saves and a 2.89 ERA. Tom was a reliever again in 1973 and was 7-5 with four saves and a 3.63 ERA in 54 games.
  • For the first part of the 1974 season Tom was used as a reliever. By July 5 he was 2-1 with a 3.21 ERA. The Expos decided to make Walker a starter and sent him down to AAA Memphis to start some games. Tom was 5-0 in five starts for Memphis and was recalled in early August. He didn't have as much success in Montreal. He was 0-4 in his first six starts for the Expos after his August recall. Walker started two more games (both in doubleheaders) and won both times. He also made several relief appearances to finish the season.
  • After the 1974 season Walker was traded with Terry Humphrey to the Detroit Tigers for Woodie Fryman. Tom was used as a swingman in 1975. He had a record of 3-8 with a 4.45 ERA in 36 games (9 starts). After the 1975 season Walker was purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • Tom spent most of the 1976 season with AAA Tulsa. He pitched in 10 games with the Cardinals as a September call-up and was 1-2 with three saves and a 4.12 ERA. Walker didn't make the St. Louis team in 1977 and was released in spring training. On April 10 he was signed by the Expos and assigned to AAA Denver. He was recalled in June and pitched in 11 games for Montreal, going 1-1 with an ERA of 4.74. Tom was placed on waivers on July 13 and selected by the California Angels. He pitched in one game for the Angels and then was assigned to AAA Salt Lake City. He was granted free agency at the end of the season. Walker pitched in six games for AAA Columbus (Pittsburgh Pirates) in 1978 but didn't make it back to the majors and retired after the 1978 season.
  • Tom's son Neil is playing 3B for the AAA Indianapolis Indians in the Pirates' organization.

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