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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Pete Walker got hitters out in the majors; Later worked with pitchers to do the same as ML coach

Pete Walker had seen brief time in previous seasons, but injuries and other factors always seemed to get in the way of Walker showing what he could really do, his hometown Hartford Courant wrote.

Then, in 2002, the then-33-year-old Walker finally put it together with the Blue Jays as he put it together, winning 10 games to five losses.

"I always felt like I could get hitters out at this level," Walker told The Courant. "But I've been hurt, and you sort of fall out of the loop. There were some doubts, but something kept me going."

By the time he was done, in 2006 at the age of 37, Walker had seen time in eight major league campaigns, but none like that 2002 season with Toronto.

Walker has since gone on to work with other big league pitchers, there in Toronto as the Blue Jays' longtime major league pitching coach.

Walker's career began in 1990, taken by the Mets in the seventh round of the draft out of the University of Connecticut. He was also credited as Peter Walker.

He started with the Mets at short-season Pittsfield. He went 5-7, with a 4.16 ERA. He moved to high-A St. Lucie in 1991 and AA Binghamton in 1992. He played 1994 largely at AAA Norfolk.

Then, in June 1995, he made his debut in the majors with the Mets. He got into 13 games, with a 4.58 ERA. He picked up one win and did so on the final day of the season.

"Feels nice," Walker told The Yonkers Herald Statesman after that first win. "Good way to end the season."

Walker returned for one outing with the Padres in 1996, then he didn't see the majors again until 2000, with the Rockies. He got into three outings with Colorado that year, then two with the Mets in 2001. 

He got into one more with the Mets to start 2002. The Blue Jays then took Walker off waivers. He then went 10-5, with a 4.33 ERA over 37 outings, 20 starts.

He returned for 23 outings, seven starts in 2003, then spent 2004 in Japan, with Yokomaha. He saw 41 outings, four starts with the Blue Jays in 2005. He saw 23 final outings in 2006. 

Walker soon became a roving minor league hitting coach for the Blue Jays, then the pitching coach at AA New Hampshire in 2011. Then, in 2012, he became the Blue Jays' major league pitching coach, a job he continues in 2021.

The Toronto Sun featured Walker in March 2021, noting that his work with Blue Jays pitchers earned him the nickname from some as "the pitcher whisperer."

"I just understand, I think, a lot of what these guys are going through," Walker explained to The Sun then. "I've been in just about every situation possible over my 18-year playing career. ... So I've done a lot of the things that these guys are dealing with or going through or doing at the present time, and I can relate in a lot of ways to them."

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,654
Made the Majors:1,251-34.2%-X
Never Made Majors:2,403-65.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:522-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:308

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