BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Todd Walker, who finished his three-year LSU career with a .396 batting average and was the Most Outstanding Player of the 1993 College World Series, will become the fourth person LSU baseball history to have his jersey retired, the school announced Friday.
The LSU Hall of Fame Committee voted unanimously to retire Walker’s No. 12 jersey before a game in Alex Box Stadium next season. The exact date and game is not yet known.
Walker, a Bossier City native, left LSU as the Southeastern Conference’s all-time leader in hits (310), runs (234), RBI (246) and total bases (557).
The 1993 SEC Player of the Year was a two-time finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, given annually to the best amateur player in the country, and was drafted eighth overall in the 1994 MLB draft.
“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,” LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said in a statement.
“He generously donates his time and energy to charitable causes, and he is a tremendous ambassador for our university. We look forward to having his jersey number take its place among those of LSU legends.”
Walker, who will join Skip Bertman, Ben McDonald and Eddy Furniss among the retired jerseys at Alex Box Stadium, played for seven teams during his Major League career. He was inducted into the LSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.
Including Walker, 11 LSU athletes or coaches have their jerseys retired — Furniss, Bertman, McDonald, Bob Pettit, Pete Maravich, Rudy Macklin, Shaquille O’Neal, Billy Cannon, Tommy Casanova and Seimone Augustus.
Reid falls ill
Though he begged coach Paul Mainieri to remain in Thursday’s game against Mississippi State, LSU third baseman Chris Reid was pulled in the eighth inning after falling ill.
Reid did not accompany the team to its off-day practice at UAB on Friday, instead staying at the hotel receiving treatment for what Mainieri hopes is “a 24-hour thing.”
Trey Dawson replaced Reid, who went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
Reid has hit cleanup in two of the Tigers’ three tournament games.
Latz feels ‘amazing,’ as does his best friend
With his first SEC start complete, LSU left-hander Jake Latz has gone through his normal side work and feels “amazing” after his two-inning stint against Tennessee where he allowed one baserunner and threw 28 pitches.
“I was out there, big crowd, big situation, first SEC start and was able to command my pitches and get guys out so I was really happy for that,” Latz said. “I was sore but it wasn’t even as bad as (after a one-inning outing against) Florida. Honestly, it was better, and I think that’s a good sign moving forward that my body is getting used to it again.”
The first teammate out to greet Latz following both innings was catcher Mike Papierski, his battery mate at Lemont High School who’s seen the toll numerous setbacks on a surgically-repaired left elbow have taken on his best friend.
“It’s the best,” Papierski said. “He’s worked his butt off for the two years he’s been hurt. He’s my best friend and I always want to see him do well. He looked even better (than in high school).”
Latz, in return, was the first to congratulate Papierski after the big catcher broke out of his offensive doldrums against Mississippi State.
Papierski drove in three runs — his first RBI since April 24 — and knocked a two-RBI single in the seventh that gave the Tigers’ two large insurance runs.
Mainieri said Latz would be available Sunday, should the Tigers win and advance to the SEC Championship game.