BATON ROUGE, La. (LSU Baseball Press Release) - The jersey of all-America second baseman Todd Walker will be retired by LSU at 6:45 p.m. CT Friday in a ceremony prior to the Tigers’ game versus Ole Miss in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
The No. 12 worn by Walker joins the No. 36 worn by first baseman Eddy Furniss, the No. 15 worn by coach Skip Bertman and the No. 19 worn by pitcher Ben McDonald as retired jerseys in the LSU baseball program.
Walker, a native of Bossier City, La., becomes the 11th LSU athlete or coach to have his jersey retired, joining Furniss, Bertman and McDonald; men’s basketball players Bob Pettit, Pete Maravich, Rudy Macklin and Shaquille O’Neal; football players Billy Cannon and Tommy Casanova; and women’s basketball player Seimone Augustus.
Walker was distinguished during his LSU career from 1992-94 not only for his immense talent, but also for his tremendous work ethic. He said recently that once Bertman told him that he would be the Tigers’ starting second baseman as a true freshman, he poured all of his energy into becoming one of the nation’s best players.
"Once Skip told me that, I've never been more motivated to do anything in my life,'' Walker said. "I wanted badly to play well. That requires a lot of sacrifice, but I wanted it bad enough that I didn't care. I didn't care about going to the beaches in the summer or going out with friends at night. Instead, I was hitting baseballs until four in the morning, and that's what I loved to do. It wasn't that I felt like I had to do that to get to the big leagues. I was just in the moment and wanting to be the best at that time.''
Walker, who was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009, was the eighth overall selection in the 1994 Major League Baseball Draft. He played 12 seasons (1996-2007) in the major leagues and earned his business degree from LSU in 1998 by returning to school during the MLB off-seasons.
During his major league career, Walker played for the Minnesota Twins, Colorado Rockies, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics. He helped lead the Red Sox to the 2003 American League Championship Series, launching five home runs during the club’s playoff run.
In recent years, Walker has served as a coach and mentor to youngsters in the Shreveport-Bossier area, and he works as a baseball analyst for the ESPN and the SEC Network.
“Todd Walker epitomizes the values that we promote at LSU,” said LSU Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Joe Alleva. “He is in the College Baseball Hall of Fame, and his exploits as one of the greatest hitters in the history of the game are well-documented. What is even more impressive is his commitment to education, as he completed his LSU degree requirements while he was an active Major League player.
“He generously donates his time and energy to charitable causes, and he is a tremendous ambassador for our university. We’re thrilled to have his jersey number take its place among those of LSU legends.”
A two-time first-team All-American, Walker led the Tigers to the national championship in 1993, earning the College World Series Most Outstanding Player award. He was voted in 1996 as the second baseman on the all-time College World Series team by the Omaha World-Herald, and he was named to the CWS Legends Team in 2010.
A two-time finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, Walker was named first-team All-SEC three times, and he was voted the SEC Player of the Year in 1993. He posted a .396 cumulative batting average over three seasons, and he completed his collegiate career as the SEC all-time leader in hits (310), runs (234), RBI (246) and total bases (557).
"Todd might have had the best three years of anybody who has ever played college baseball," Bertman said. "He hit in the clutch, he had a 33-game hitting streak that was phenomenal, we won a large majority of our games during his career, and he played great defense for us."
Walker credits much of his success at LSU to his teammates and coaching staff, and to Bertman, as his No. 12 joins his mentor’s No. 15 along the façade of Alex Box Stadium.
"Skip was like a second father to me,” Walker said. “He taught me a lot about the game and kept me line throughout my career. What he's accomplished, you really can't put into words."
Walker said he is humbled and grateful to receive an honor reserved only for the most elite student-athletes and coaches in LSU’s glorious history.
“LSU means the world to me,” Walker said. “I'm just in awe and I'm very blessed.''