Rube Walker
Albert Bluford Walker
Born: May 16, 1926 at Lenoir, N.C.
Died: December 12, 1992 at Morganton, N.C.
Throws: Right Bats: Left
Height: 6.00 Weight: 175

Non-playing roles with Mets
  • Pitching Coach 1968 - 1981

Rube Walker played for the following teams:
Share your memories of Rube Walker


February 16, 2002
all I remember was the "potbelly" walking to the mound.

Jim Snedeker
April 25, 2002
Interesting... In my early days of the Mets, all I knew about him was that he was the Mets' pitching coach, and that he would come to the mound whenever a pitcher was in a jam.

Outside of that, I had no clue as to what a pitching coach does. And I still don't.

Wasn't he catching Branca when Thompson hit the HR?

July 24, 2002
Rube Walker cultivated the five-man rotation, with Gil Hodges' blessing. It didn't exist before then. When you look at the longevity of Seaver, Koosman and Ryan (and maybe reliever McGraw), look to Rube Walker. Seaver has nothing but great things to say about the man, and that's good enough for me. There would be no glamor to it, so it won't happen, but Rube Walker belongs in the Mets Hall of Fame. He oversaw one of the great pitching machines of the modern era.

July 25, 2002
I remember Rube being the pitching coach for those horrible late 70's teams, when I was a kid I was amazed at how big his gut was. Him and Frank Howard always reminded me of the Mutt & Jeff cartoons.

dwight pancottine
September 12, 2002
Pitching coaches don't get a lot of recognition but Walker was one of the best of his era if not all time.

Rich Gerding
December 3, 2002
All I remember is that he was the best pitching coach I have ever witnessed in all my years. The key to the Mets pitching staff was great pitchers blessed with god given talent and blessed as well as being taught by a craftsman....Rube Walker....Seaver, Koosman, Ryan, Gentry....look at pictures and see the dirt on their knee.

Joe Figliola
December 17, 2002
My friend Greg made a valid point a couple of years ago: Why not Rube Walker in the Mets Hall of Fame? He was one of the best Mets lieutenants the club ever had and his pitching techniques enabled the club to win it all in 1969.

He may have had a big belly; but Rube Walker's baseball wisdom goes beyond that and then some.

Bob R.
January 9, 2003
He'll always be remembered - if he is remembered - as the guy behind the plate when Bobby Thomson hit his famous home run against the Dodgers. But his finest achievement was the way he handled the Mets pitching staff in '69. That staff was loaded with young inexperienced pitchers, but Rube helped them pitch all the way to the World Championship.

May 30, 2003
Walker was a fine pitching coach. He taught the young pitchers proper mechanics. Seaver, Koosman, and Ryan all used their legs as much as their arms to generate speed. He was also the catcher on October 3, 1951 when Bobby Thomson hit "The Shot Heard Round the World."

Robert Wilson
March 1, 2005
Actually, I have more of a question than a comment, but I'll start with a comment. I remember Rube Walker being the Dodgers back up catcher for most of the 50's. The thing I don't remember was why he was catching when Bobby Thompson hit that home run. Did Walker start the game? Was Campy hurt? I wish I knew that. But I know Walker must have been pretty decent to play as Campy's backup all those years.

Bob P
March 3, 2005
Robert, Campy had a thigh injury, and Rube caught both games two and three of the playoff series. In game two he caught rookie Clem Labine's shutout and hit a two-run homer.

Joe Figliola
March 5, 2005
Even if Rube Walker never had the successful career as pitching coach of the Mets, he always will be forever immortalized thanks to the 1985 film "Mask," starring Cherilyn LaPierre, Eric Stoltz, and Sam Elliott (in what should have been Elliott's Oscar-winning portrayal as "GARRRR").

For those of you who did not see the film, Eric Stoltz, as Rocky Dennis, needed a Rube (or as his mother's friends called him "Ruby") Walker to complete his 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers set. Unfortunately, his mother's biker chums got him Steve Garvey and Ron Cey. His friend Ben, however, had "Ruby" and was conned out of it by Rocky, who told Ben that his collection wasn't made unless he had a Steve Garvey.

Later, when Ben informed Rocky of the grim news that he would not be able to accompany him on his motorcycle trip to Europe because he got a job back in Minnesota, Rocky angrily revealed that he conned Ben out of Rube Walker. Moments like that should have earned multiple Oscars for this film; but it gave Rube additional immortality.

Jonathan Stern
March 17, 2005
Asked why he hired an ex-catcher to be his pitching coach, Gil Hodges replied, "Why not?"

Whenever I see the old black-and-white footage of The Shot Heard 'Round the World, I keep my eyes on Walker lumbering off the field as Thomson pounces on home plate. With no personal ties to the old Dodgers or Giants, I find it fascinating to see the 1969 Mets' pitching guru smack in the middle of that famous scene. Even though he doesn't look too happy to be there, of course.

Rube on Branca and The Shot: "It was a good pitch because it was going to set up the curve outside on the next pitch. Ralph just got it out over the plate a little too much."

Pete the Feet
June 28, 2006
Two words: PICKLE BRINE Without it Nolan Ryan and his easily blistered fingers never make it to the Hall of Fame.

Steve K
April 20, 2007
If you look at the caliber of the pitchers that he nurtured, it's not hard to argue that Rube was the best pitching coach the Mets ever had. It make me wonder why more ex-catchers aren't given the job.

May 24, 2007
It wasn't just that young '69 staff. He was there as pitching coach from '68 until '81, I believe. He was brought in by Gil Hodges, his old teammate, and stayed through the managerial tenures of Yogi Berra, Roy McMillan, Joe Frazier and Joe Torre. Forget about the awful talent ownership put there in the late 70s. Rube was responsible for one of the most consistently amazing pitching staffs for over a decade. He brought along and nurtured the careers of Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan, Jon Matlack, Tug McGraw, Gary Gentry, Craig Swan (who had some good years with bad teams) and others.

Louise Walker Adderholdt
June 21, 2008
Rube was my first cousin; his father was my father's older brother. Rube was my hero and our entire family followed his career very closely. When I was about 6 years old, he came to a corn shucking at our farm in Kings Creek, 13 miles north of Lenoir, and he held me on his knee. He was already playing pro ball. Once he took me to the county fair and had the operator of one of the rides stop the ride because I became sick. He brought my mother and newborn sister, Barbara, home from the hospital in 1951. He came to visit our family in November, 1966, when my brother, Howard, was killed in Vietnam. My memories are more personal than professional. He was a great guy. The last time that I saw him was in Atlanta in 1990 when he was scouting for the Cardinals. I remember that Joe Torre came to Rube's funeral. There's another 1st Class guy.

Debra L. Mahood
September 6, 2008
My mother Barbara Clydell Marley used to talk of him often. My mother was born in Lenoir in 1948 and she remembers Rube putting her on his knee and asking her if it was ok to name his daughter Barbara too. Everyone from the family calls my mom Bobby. She has many memories of him coming to the farm and bringing other players to work the farm on the off season. I was able to meet his brother at my aunt’s funeral in 1999 or 2000. The story she tells is all of the baseball cards that he brought to her and she pitched them in the garbage and chewed the gum, I could have died when she told me that. I was young and into collecting cards at the time and I just couldn’t imagine the rookie cards and things that she threw away. She told me at that time cards really didn’t mean anything. We were able to acquire a signed glove of his a couple of years ago for her. I think he would be a great resource for my boys if he were still with us. I have two boys and one is a pitcher and the other a catcher.

December 18, 2008
Rube was my hero. I grew up in Brooklyn in the 50's and would see number 10 walk to the bullpen at Ebbets Field, down the right field line. He was Roy Campanella's backup catcher. He rarely played, and was the catcher for the second game of Sunday doubleheaders. Rube was very slow, and the infielders always positioned themselves on the outfield grass. A great arm; runners rarely tried to steal when he was catching.

January 21, 2009
Rube was an outstanding defensive catcher who always called a good game. Gil Hodges, his Dodger teammate, recognized his ability and selected him as his pitching coach when he was hired as the manager of the Washington Senators. Rube's only liability was that he a very slow runner and was unable to achieve any infield hits. Look at all the great pitchers he caught.

January 26, 2009
Remember when Rube would come out to the mound? His stomach arrived there about a minute before the rest of him did.

Kathy Smith Burrow
August 4, 2009
I remember Rube because he was my first cousin. What I remember the most is that he would call my mother and talk to her just before she died. I can still see her face light up as she talked to him. I also remember how every time he was around that he was always so sweet and kind to me. I will always think of him with love.

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