Clarence William “Tillie” Walker
Born: September 4, 1887 - Telford, TN
Died: September 21, 1959 - Unicoi, TN
Career BA: .281
Washington Senators AL (September 4, 1887 - September 21, 1959)
St. Louis Browns AL (1913–1915)
Boston Red Sox AL (1916–1917)
Philadelphia Athletics AL (1918–1923)
Clarence “Tillie” Walker was an interesting character who transitioned out of the Deadball Era with success as a power hitter. With a rifle for an arm, Walker led the American League with assists six times. On the other hand, he was so wild that he led the league in errors four times. Offensively, Walker was one of the first power hitters of the new era. After smacking a league-leading 11 home runs in 1918, and 10 more in 1919; his home run production exploded over the next three seasons when he hit 17, 23 and 37 homers in 1920, 1921 and 1922, respectively. Great numbers, but there was another guy who dwarfed them. George Herman Ruth happened to hit 29, 54 and an amazing 59 home runs in the 1919, 1920 and 1921 seasons.
Walker really did have some nice years with the bat but developed a bad reputation of putting himself and his stats ahead of his team. He became very grouchy if things were not going well for him offensively. Most of his managers thought he was a defensive liability because of his wildness, even though he could hit. In Boston, Walker replaced Tris Speaker in center field and played on the 1916 Red Sox World Series Championship team. Once in Philadelphia, Walker became a home-run machine while the Athletics struggled, finishing in eighth place during his first four seasons with the team.
After his last Major League season in 1923, the 36-year-old Walker moved on to the minors where he played through 1929. He later became a Minor League umpire and manager. Walker became a highway patrolman in Tennessee after his baseball years and died in 1959.
– Tom and Ellen Zappala, The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players. For more information on their book and/or to order a copy at a special PSA discount, visit http://crackerjackplayers.com/PSA_order.html