Where Are They Now?: Todd Walker
Todd Walker’s baseball career was nearly derailed between his junior and senior years at Airline High in Bossier City, La. He shredded the rotator cuff in his right shoulder while spiking a volleyball.
Doctors said Walker’s rotator cuff looked like cotton in water. This was 1990, long before repairing such an injury became commonplace. The same doctors told Walker his chances of throwing a baseball again were 50-50.
Following surgery, Walker moved from shortstop to second base, and his draft stock plummeted. He was drafted by the Rangers in the 51st round in 1991.
The injury, it would turn out, might have been the best thing to happen to Walker’s baseball career.
Instead of turning pro, Walker embarked on a stellar career at Louisiana State, then to a big league career mostly with the Twins and Cubs. Today, he can be heard 15-20 games a season as a color commentator on the SEC Network.
“I just was very blessed to get the opportunity to play in the big leagues for 12 years,” said Walker, 46. “That’s something, clearly, that you don’t forget and carry with you forever. I’ve gotten a job that I have now because of it, and I get to do what I love to do, and that’s be around the game and talk baseball.”
Coming out of high school, Walker turned down a $60,000 bonus offer. Three years later, following an All-America career at LSU, Walker was the eighth overall pick by Minnesota and signed for $815,000.
“Had I been picked in the second round (out of high school), I could have taken the bonus and skipped those years I had in Baton Rouge,” Walker said. “It’s something I tell the kids today: I’m certainly a strong believer in going to college.”
Walker led LSU to the 1993 national championship and was named Most Outstanding Player at the College World Series that year. Enshrined in the halls of fame for both LSU and college baseball, he had his No. 12 retired by LSU in 2017.
In his third season in the big leagues, 1998, Walker hit .316 with 12 home runs for the Twins in a career year.
Baseball got real for Walker when the Reds traded him to the Red Sox prior to the 2003 season. “I felt a lot of pressure,” Walker said. “I felt like I had to really perform in Boston.”
After batting .313 with three home runs in Boston’s five-game American League Division Series win against the Athletics, Walker hit .370 with two homers in the seven-game AL Championship Series loss to the Yankees.
Walker retired following the 2007 season with Oakland. He compiled 1,316 hits in his career and batted .289/.348/.435.
He coached high school baseball for three years in Shreveport, La., where he lives with his wife, Katie, and four children. Katie is an actress who has appeared in films such as “8 Days” and “Scrape.”
“She raised the kids while I was working and now it’s kind of reversed,” Walker said. “That’s fine with me. She spent a lot of time doing what we needed to have done, and now I’m kind of repaying the favor.”