Harry William Walker
(Harry The Hat)
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 190 lb.
- Debut September 25, 1940
- Final Game August 19, 1955
- Born September 22, 1918 in Pascagoula, MS USA
- Died August 8, 1999 in Birmingham, AL USA
"Harry the Hat" Walker played 11 seasons in the big leagues with an overall .296 average, leading the 1947 National League in batting. He also managed nine years in the majors.
He was the son of Ewart "Dixie" Walker, brother of Fred "Dixie" Walker, and nephew of Ernie Walker. Until the Hairstons arrived, the Walkers were the only set of major-leaguers to have two generations in a row of brothers.
Walker entered the Army in November 1943 and was discharged in January 1946.
He began his career with the St. Louis Cardinals and earned the nickname "Harry the Hat" because of his habit of adjusting his cap between pitches. He is most famous for getting the hit that scored Enos Slaughter all the way from first base in the 9th inning of the 7th game of the 1946 World Series, which proved to be the winning run for the Cardinals against the Boston Red Sox. In 1947, he won the NL batting title after being traded from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies on May 3rd. He is the only National League player to win a batting title while playing for more than one team in the league during the season. Willie McGee won the 1990 title after being traded to the American League late in the season, while Dale Alexander accomplished the same feat in the AL in 1932.
Walker was a player-manager for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1955, his last year as a player, and a coach for the team from 1959 to 1962. He later went on to manage the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1965 to 1967 and the Houston Astros from 1968 to 1972. He was also the first baseball coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He was long considered as a great hitting guru after being credited for turning Matty Alou from a failed prospect to a batting champion when he came to the Pirates. A number of teams hired him to work with similar types of players over the years - fast outfielders with little power, but none was as successful as Alou. In 2009 he was elected to the International League Hall of Fame.
- 2-time NL All-Star (1943 & 1947)
- NL Batting Average Leader (1947)
- NL On-Base Percentage Leader (1947)
- NL Triples Leader (1947)
- Won two World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals (1942 & 1946)
|St. Louis Cardinals Manager
|Pittsburgh Pirates Manager
|Houston Astros Manager