Larry Walker displayed all the skills of a five-tool player during a stellar 17-year big-league career, and that's why he'll be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Yet it's a different set of talents possessed by the native of Maple Ridge, B.C., that sticks out in the minds of some of his former teammates.
"He can belch the A-B-Cs," recalled Darrin Fletcher, who played with Walker on the Montreal Expos in the early 1990s. "It's something he can share with any one at any time."
So he did it often?
"Oh my God," replied Marquis Grissom, who came up with Walker and played the outfield alongside him for five-plus seasons with the Expos. "That was a daily routine for him. We started calling him Filthy McNasty."
That reputation helped make Walker a popular player during his stops in Montreal, Colorado and St. Louis, and is why so many of his former teammates are happy he's being honoured.
It's one thing to deliver on the field. It's another to deliver and be likable at the same time.
"Some guys come to the ballpark so intense and so focused," said Fletcher, now a Blue Jays analyst for Rogers Sportsnet. "I think Larry did it the right way, he came to the ballpark and did his thing but carried himself in a 'have fun-type' mentality.
"I think it played well for him and I know a lot of players gravitated towards him."
Grissom was one of those guys.
Competitively, they pushed each other to be better as they rose through Montreal's stocked farm system, each getting a taste of big-league life in 1989. They became full-time players in 1990 and starred in the Expos outfield until both left following the strike-shortened '94 season.
And while they made life miserable for opposing pitchers, they wreaked havoc in their own clubhouse, too. Walker, with Grissom as accomplice, had an impressive repertoire of pranks.
"Putting guys' shoes on fire, tying the laces together when they're laying there sleeping or relaxing so when they got up they'd trip over and land on their face," Grissom, now first-base coach for the Washington Nationals, said between chuckles. "Taking pictures of guys when they were sleeping and hanging them up in the trainer's room and write jokes about them.
"While guys were asleep, put shaving cream all over their face and hands so when they wake up and wipe their face it's all over the place. He did all that kind of stuff, and I was there to help carry it out and make sure he didn't get his butt kicked."
Of course it was usually Walker doing the butt-kicking.
In 1,988 career games, he smacked 383 home runs, 471 doubles and 2,160 hits, posting a .313 batting average with 230 stolen bases.
With the Expos, Grissom would get on base and often get knocked in by Walker.
"He had that all-around game," said Grissom. "He motivated me, I motivated him, hopefully, and we both ended up having pretty good careers in the big-leagues.
"He was real fast, had a great arm and he motivated all the other guys to step their game up each and every day we were on the field."
Fletcher, a former catcher, agreed with that assessment. He remembers how Walker dominated at the plate, on the bases and with his glove.
"He had all the tools," he said. "Honestly, when I think back of all the guys I've played with as far running, throwing, arm-strength, hit for average, hit for power, he's probably the best player I ever played with."
Praise like that is why Walker was a natural choice to headline the Canadian Hall's Class of 2009. Also set for induction Saturday in St. Marys, Ont., are Ernie Whitt, Bernie Soulliere and the late Roy (Doc) Miller.
Presenters include Jim Fanning, Ashley Valentine, Pat Gillick, Greg Hamilton and Kevin Briand, while Fergie Jenkins will hand out the jackets.
Whitt, a long-time catcher for the Blue Jays during his playing days, has become a fixture in Canadian baseball since first taking over as manager of the national team at the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg. He's also led the squad to the 2004 Olympics and the 2006 and '09 World Baseball Classics.
Soulliere, from Windsor, has been working behind the scenes for more than 40 years in amateur baseball circles. The 71-year-old was vice-president with Baseball Canada in the 1990's, and president of Baseball Ontario from 1993 to 1995.
Miller, whose pro career began in 1903, played for the Chicago Cubs, Boston, Philadelphia and Cincinnati during his five-year stint in the majors. His .295 career batting average is fourth all-time for Canadians.
Walker stands first in virtually every offensive category among Canadians and is widely credited with inspiring the current generation of Canucks starring in the big-leagues.
His legacy is a simpler one to Grissom.
"It was a treat to have him as a teammate," he said. "Outstanding dude. Especially in the locker room. He was the clown, the jokester, the prankster and one of the fun-loving guys we had on our team. But he was also a leader."