Monday, June 22, 2015

Who Is Bob Walk?

Never fear -- this is not another one of those "Jeopardy!" posts.  Instead, to highlight another great bubblope from Vegas refugee Matt at Bob Walk the Plank, I thought, "what do we really know about his blog's namesake, Bob Walk?"  

Well, since Matt sent me five cards, how about we pick up five random facts about Bob Walk from Wikipedia and a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review interview with Walk from three years ago. 

1.  Bob Walk Fact 1: Walk Was Warmed Up and Ready to Pitch in the Bullpen when Stan Belinda allowed *that* hit to Francisco Cabrera in 1992

While Wikipedia has no source for this claim, the Washington Post mentioned it in an article two years ago as well in mentioning that, prior to 2013, the Pirates last winning season was that year in 1992.

A guy who played for the Pirates in that long losing spell was current Brewer Aramis Ramirez.

This great jersey bit from the 2015 Donruss set -- complete with a pinstripe! -- starts off the proceedings.  

Having nothing to do with that interesting tidbit about Bob Walk but still odd is the following fact: while Aramis Ramirez claims he is retiring after this season, he actually retired after last year and has been replaced by a bottle of Aramis cologne at third base.

Actually, that spokesmodel would probably hit better than Ramirez has this year.

2.  Bob Walk Fact 2: Bob Walk was the Starting Pitcher in Game 1 of the 1980 World Series for the Philadelphia Phillies

When asked about that start when the Pirates visited the Phillies in 2012, Walk said that all he though in the bullpen was, "Hey, all my buddies at home are looking at me now! . . . Like I said I think I was too young and dumb to be as nervous as I should've been."

A guy for Milwaukee who really never seemed nervous -- but not because he was young and dumb, but rather because that was just his personality -- was Ben Oglivie. Oglivie was a very intelligent man who completed the New York Times Crossword Puzzle every day.  And, he started in Game 1 in the 1982 World Series for Milwaukee. 

This is my first "certified" Ben Oglivie autograph, though I have a few already that I got in person way back when.

3.  Bob Walk Fact 3: The guy loves chicken wings.

In his interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the following colloquy occurred:

App I wish I could invent:
Find the nearest chicken wings.
Favorite brunch food
Chicken wings.
Favorite guilty pleasure:
Chicken wings.
Hand it to Bob -- he's consistent.

Relevant to absolutely nothing at all related to chicken wings is this 2004 Fleer Genuine Insiders Reflections Parallel, serial numbered to 99:

As far as I can tell, Geoff Jenkins has never spoken about any kind of love he has for chicken wings.

4.  Bob Walk Fact 4:  The Braves Released Walk in March of 1984. He became an NL All-Star in 1988.  Great Job, Ted Turner!

Mistakes in player personnel decisions plagued the Braves in the early and mid-1980s. That's why they were so bad in the late 1980s -- signing Bruce Sutter to that ridiculous contract, for one, and cutting a guy like Walk for another.  Well, maybe.  Could the Braves have foreseen Walk cutting his walks allowed in half? Sure -- if you say that the walk rate going up the way it did in 1983 in the minors was the aberration and not the new normal.

Another player personnel move that could have been second guessed a lot was the return for Greg Vaughn in 1996. The team got Bryce Florie, Marc Newfield, and Ron Villone in return. One never knows what other options were available or whether the market for sellers was depressed, but that just seems low for a guy with 5 or 6 years left in his career.  

No matter.  Here's one Greg Vaughn:

It comes from last years Fan Favorites autographs.  The Brewers don't have any of those autographs in the mix this year, perhaps because Topps believes the Brewers don't have fans.

5.  Bob Walk Fact 5: He believes life would be better without the Designated Hitter

Well, of course he would.  He wasn't a very good hitter -- career line of .145/.180/.180 in 583 plate appearances. 

Maybe Walk just hates Greg Vaughn, whose best natural position was designated hitter. Perhaps, but Walk couldn't hate this card:

From the 2015 Topps Tier One Acclaimed Autographs subset, this Vaughn is serial numbered 29 of 399. I've never hated the designated hitter, to be fair -- I mean, it saved Paul Molitor's career, after all.  

Matt, thank you very much for these great cards. I'm sure you didn't learn anything from this short run through random Bob Walkdom, but perhaps someone did.


  1. I think the Brewers should totally come back to the superior AL and the larger than life AL East. The Yankees could use another punching bag, I mean fierce competitor to make things interesting.

  2. man, I could probably sit here and watch that whole game...1980!

  3. Ha! I wasn't familiar with the love of chicken wings. Since he is an announcer for the Pirates the other points are touched on pretty frequently......especially the "Ban the DH."

    Glad you liked everything.

  4. I didn't know Bob Walk played for the Braves... now I want chicken wings. #bantheDH