The acquisition of Bob Walk from the Phillies ranked 6th on our list of the 10 worst trades in A-Braves history, and for those of us who loved Gary Matthews the deal was an even tougher pill to swallow. Sarge had been a force in the Braves line-up during the late 1970s but was coming off his worst season in Atlanta, though it wasn’t bad (.278 BA, .325 OBP, .419 slugging).
The 23-year-old Walk, six years younger than Matthews, got the win in Game 1 of the ’80 World Series despite allowing 8 hits and 6 earned in 7 innings. The right-hander won 11 games that season but posted a pedestrian 4.57 ERA and 1.543 WHIP, numbers in line with Kyle Davies’ rookie season.
Nonetheless he barely cracked the ’81 rotation, slotting behind Knucksie, Gaylord Perry, Tommy Boggs and John Montefusco. He won once in 8 starts, walking 22 and striking out just 13 in 35 IP. His ERA and WHIP: 5.66 and 1.686. On top of that he lost more than half the season to injury.
Meanwhile, Sarge rebounded to hit .301 with an .849 OPS for the Phils.
Walk got off to a decent start in ’82 but his numbers declined each month. He pitched his way out of the rotation with a 6.64 ERA and 1.709 WHIP in the second half. He spent all but one game of the ’83 season in Richmond, where he struggled mightily with his control, finishing with a 5.21 ERA. He was released the following March.
That same year Matthews helped lead the Cubs to a division title and was 5th in MVP voting.