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Happy Birthday Barry Larkin!!!

Happy Birthday Barry Larkin!!!

Barry Larkin turns 51 years old today!

One of the most respected players from his era, Larkin was as classy of a player in the league as there was during the 1980’s, 1990’s, and into the 2000’s. A 19-year veteran who spent his entire career in Cincinnati, Larkin was the centerpiece of the Reds’ team and their lone constant.

Larkin’s abilities were endless. Solid hitter, great defender, base stealer, home run hitter… Larkin excelled at each and every aspect of the game. In his best season in 1995, he won the MVP award. In that season, Larkin hit .319 while collecting 158 hits, 98 runs, 51 stolen bases, 66 RBI, 15 home runs and the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards.

A very deserving Hall of Famer!!!

Happy Birthday Mr. Larkin!!!

Happy Birthday Barry Larkin!!!

Happy Birthday Barry Larkin!!!

Barry Larkin turns 50 years old today!

One of the most respected players from his era, Larkin was as classy of a player in the league as there was during the 1980’s, 1990’s, and into the 2000’s. A 19-year veteran who spent his entire career in Cincinnati, Larkin was the centerpiece of the Reds’ team and their lone constant.

Larkin’s abilities were endless. Solid hitter, great defender, base stealer, home run hitter… Larkin excelled at each and every aspect of the game. In his best season in 1995, he won the MVP award. In that season, Larkin hit .319 while collecting 158 hits, 98 runs, 51 stolen bases, 66 RBI, 15 home runs and the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards.

A very deserving Hall of Famer!!!

Happy Birthday Mr. Larkin!!!

Barry Larkin 2012 Topps Golden Moments – ‘Special Shortstop’

Barry Larkin 2012 Topps Golden Moments – ‘Special Shortstop’

I pulled this card from a pack of 2012 Topps some time ago.  It has been sitting on my desk for some time, and I am finally getting te chance to show it off.

The card looks great, and I really like the photo selection of Larkin.  The uniform he is wearing is one of my favorite tank-style baseball jerseys.

Have a look:


As for the card, it is celebrating Barry Larkin as the first member of the 30-30 club that was a shortstop.  On September 22, 1996, Larkin belted his 30th home run of the season making his entry into the ’30/30 Club’ complete with his 36 stolen bases.

Larkin was the second member of the Reds to join the club.  Eric Davis had joined in 1987.

Hall Of Fame Debate: Barry Larkin VS Alan Trammell

Hall Of Fame Debate: Barry Larkin VS Alan Trammell

Some of my favorite baseball conversations focus around the ‘Pick The Best…’ kinds of conversations.

You know the conversations I am talking about – Pick the best Yankees of all-time by position, choose the best team of the 1980s, build a roster using players from just one decade…

In a recent conversation about the best players from the 1980’s, the position of shortstop was one of the easiest decisions to make – you have Ozzie Smith and Cal Ripken leading the way.  Those two guys were consensus selections.  But after that, there is a significant drop-off as it relates to popularity and achievemengts earned among shortstops from that same time period.

Of the rest, we came to a consensus that Alan Trammell and Barry Larkin were the second best shortstops from their respective leagues during the 80’s.  Sure, Larkin played just a few years in the decade, while Trammell played all ten seasons, but time spent in the 1980’s was not part of the selection criteria.

Well, that got me to thinking – What is the difference between Alan Trammell and Barry Larkin?  Why is one in the Hall of Fame, and not the other?  What makes Barry Larkin stand out with the BWAA voters that works against Alan Trammell?

My friends, it is time to dig deeper…  Much deeper.

Both players are exactly the same height – 6 feet tall.  Larkin was twenty pounds heavier than Trammell during his playing days, which should have resulted in more power, but he only has 13 more homers than Trammell.  They both played for historic franchises and each helped lead their team to a memorable World Series title.

When you review their individual numbers on BaseballReference.com, Trammell ranks as the 62nd best offensive player of all-time, with Larkin landing in the 75th spot.

With what has been stated above, no one guy really outdistances the other in any aspect.

So, let’s look into their numbers now:

  Trammell Larkin
Seasons 20 19
Games Played 2293 2180
Hits 2365 2340
150-Hit Seasons 6 7
Doubles 412 441
Home Runs 185 198
RBI 1003 960
100-RBI Seasons 1 0
Runs Scored 1231 1329
Stolen Bases 236 379
All-Star 6 12
Gold Glove 4 3
Silver Slugger 3 9
MVP 0 1
Playoffs 2 2
World Series 1 1
WS MVP 1 0

Ok, there are two things that really  stand out to me: stolen bases and All-Star game selections.  We all know that 140 more steals by Larkin is not what earned him entry into the Hall of Fame, though it is impressive for a guy that was never tagged as a ‘burner’.  And it is hardly Trammell’s fault that he played at the same time as Mr. All-Star, Cal Ripken.

So, what is it?  Am I missing something?  Anything?  Why so much love for Barry Larkin and yet such little respect for a player that is almost identical in Alan Trammell? 

Let me say that I like Barry Larkin; hell, I cheered for him during a majority of his career.  I do believe that he is worthy of his Hall of Fame enshrinement, but I just think that he should be resting at Cooperstown with Alan Trammell at his side.

What do you think?  Does one player belong and not the other?  Did the baseball writers get it right by electing Larking or wrong by omitting Trammell?  Should they both be in, or should they both be out??

Let me hear your opinion!!

As for me, I am giving both of them the ‘nod’.  Even if it is just in my Hall of Fame world…


Cincinnati Reds Retire Barry Larkin’s #11

Cincinnati Reds Retire Barry Larkin’s #11

From MLB.com

CINCINNATI — The Reds have taken their yearlong tribute to Hall of Famer Barry Larkin and turned it all the way up to 11.

There is no greater honor a team can give a player than retiring his number. And in their 143-year history, the Reds had done it only eight times out of approximately 2,100 players who have worn the uniform. The ninth person to have his number retired was Larkin, who was honored on the field at Great American Ball Park on Saturday.

No. 11 will belong to Larkin, and only Larkin, forever.

“Never to be worn again, becoming an icon signifying your achievements, your history and our history, this baseball town is proud to say you displayed our name across your chest,” Reds CEO Bob Castellini said.

The other retired numbers by the Reds are No. 1 for Fred Hutchinson, No. 5 for Johnny Bench, No. 8 for Joe Morgan, No. 10 for Sparky Anderson, No. 13 for Dave Concepcion, No. 18 for Ted Kluszewski, No. 20 for Frank Robinson, No. 24 for Tony Perez and the universally retired No. 42 for Jackie Robinson.

On the press box façade behind home plate, Larkin’s No. 11 was unveiled next to Concepcion’s number, which was the previous one to be retired in 2007.

“I’m so proud and humbled to be sitting up there on the wall next to my idol, Davey Concepcion, No. 13,” Larkin said.

Several of Larkin’s former teammates were in attendance, including Eric Davis, Dave Parker, Rob Dibble, Tom Browning, Chris Sabo, Bret Boone, Ron Oester, Mariano Duncan, Bill Doran and Juan Castro. Larkin pointed out that many of them were former second basemen and his double-play partners.

There were also video tributes from other ex-Reds.

“I’m so happy,” said Concepcion from the video board. “You did it very well. I’m very happy for you. Congratulations.”

“What an honor it must be to see your number go up among all the greats,” said former third baseman Aaron Boone. “It’s very much deserved. You were a great teammate and friend.”

When Larkin broke into the Major Leagues with the Reds in 1986, he was assigned No. 15 as fellow shortstop Kurt Stillwell occupied No. 11, Larkin’s favorite number growing up.

“I wore it up until I played baseball at Moeller [High School],” Larkin previously explained. “I think I wore 14 at Moeller. I don’t know why …”

One of Larkin’s favorites, and fellow Cincinnatian Pete Rose, wore No. 14 for the Reds.

“When I went to Michigan, No. 11 was retired up there. Then they issued me No. 9. When you sign a big league contract and you’re a 21-22-year-old rookie, you certainly take the number they give you. I wasn’t going to ask for No. 11. Stillwell had it anyway. When Stilly left, I took that number.”

During his 19-year career, Larkin had a lifetime average of .295 with 198 home runs, 960 RBIs, 2,340 hits, a .371 on-base percentage and 379 stolen bases. He was a 12-time All-Star, a three-time Gold Glove winner, a nine-time Silver Slugger winner, a member of the 1990 World Series championship team and the 1995 National League Most Valuable Player.

“He did it all as a Cincinnati Red,” Castellini said. “Barry Larkin is one of our own.”

No Reds player has worn No. 11 since Larkin retired after the 2004 season, as clubhouse manager and longtime friend Rick Stowe refused to assign it to anyone else.

Larkin was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in January and formally inducted last month in Cooperstown, N.Y.

“It’s just been an absolutely incredible ride, and I’m just so proud to be here,” said Larkin, who also threw a ceremonial first pitch to current Red and longtime admirer Brandon Phillips. “As soon as I got the call from the Hall of Fame, the first thing that I said to my wife is that I wanted to go to Cincinnati as fast as we can. We got it done, and we did it.”

Just like he did during his induction speech in Cooperstown, Larkin could not help becoming a little emotional as he spoke before a sold-out crowd of Reds fans.

“Wow. I’m so proud to be a native Cincinnatian. I’m so proud to be the first native Cincinnatian inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Larkin said. “I’m so proud to represent this great city of Cincinnati. I’m so proud to be a Cincinnati Red.”

Barry Larkin And Ron Santo Inducted Into Baseball Hall Of Fame

Barry Larkin And Ron Santo Inducted Into Baseball Hall Of Fame

By JOHN KEKIS | The Associated Press 

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Barry Larkin lost it before he even started. Vicki Santo never wavered as she honored her late husband, Ron.

Baseball’s highest honor always seems to leave a special impression on those directly involved.

Larkin, the former star shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds, and Ron Santo, a standout third baseman for the Chicago Cubs and later a beloved broadcaster for the team, were inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

After wiping away tears as his teenage daughter sang the national anthem, Larkin began a litany of thank-yous to the important people who helped him along his journey, none more important than his mom, Shirley, and father, Robert, who were seated in the first row.

”If we were going to do something, we were going to do it right,” Larkin said. ”Growing up, you challenged me. That was so instrumental.”

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Larkin was a two-sport star at Moeller High School and thought he might become a pro football player after accepting a scholarship to play college ball at Michigan for Bo Schembechler. That changed in a hurry.

”He (Schembechler) redshirted me my freshman year and told me that he was going to allow me just to play baseball,” Larkin said. ”Occasionally, I’d call him while I was playing in the big leagues and told him that was the best decision he made as a football coach. He didn’t like that too much.”

Drafted fourth by the Reds in 1985, despite playing just 41 games his first year Larkin finished seventh in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 1986.

Two years later, Larkin was an All-Star with a .296 average, 91 runs scored, 32 doubles and 40 stolen bases. And with a host of older players to guide him – Eric Davis, Ron Oester, Buddy Bell, player-manager Pete Rose, a Cincinnati native, slugger Tony Perez, and even star shortstop Dave Concepcion, the man he would replace – Larkin’s major league career quickly took off.

”I played with some monumental figures in the game,” said Larkin, who was introduced to baseball by his dad at the age of 5. ”They helped me through some very rough times as a player.”

After giving special thanks in Spanish to the Latin players that also helped mold him, Larkin heaped special praise on Rose and Concepcion.

”I wouldn’t be in the big leagues if it weren’t for Pete,” Larkin said, eliciting a stirring applause from the fans, two of whom were holding a placard inscribed with ”Cincinnati’s hometown heroes, Larkin and Rose.”

”And Dave Concepcion, understanding that I was gunning for his job, understanding that I was from Cincinnati, he spent countless hours with me preparing me for the game,” Larkin said. ”I idolized Davey Concepcion as a kid. Thank you, my idol. My inclusion in the Hall of Fame is the ultimate validation. I want to thank you all for helping me along the way.”

Larkin, who played his entire 19-year career with the Reds, retired after the 2004 season with a .295 career average, 2,340 hits, 1,329 runs scored and 379 stolen bases.

Ron Santo didn’t live to experience the day he always dreamed of. Plagued by health problems, he died Dec. 3, 2010, at the age of 70. His long battle with diabetes cost him both legs below the knees, but he ultimately died of complications from bladder cancer.

A member of the Chicago Cubs organization for the better part of five decades as a player (1960-74) and then beloved broadcaster (1990-2010), Santo was selected by the Veterans Committee in December, exactly one year after his death.

Vicki Santo said she cried a lot while practicing her speech. Her poise was remarkable when it counted most.

”It just feels right, a perfect ending to a remarkable journey,” Vicki Santo said. ”Ron left an awful hole for many of us today. This is not a sad day. This is a great day. I’m certain that Ronnie is celebrating right now.”

So, too were his beloved Cubs. They paid a tribute of their own to Santo, clicking their heels as they jumped over the third-base line to start the bottom of the first inning at St. Louis.

In 15 major league seasons, all but one with the Cubs, Santo was one of the top third basemen in major league history. He compiled a .277 batting average, had 2,254 hits, 1,331 RBIs and 365 doubles in 2,243 games. He also was a tireless fundraiser for juvenile diabetes, raising more than $65 million.

Santo fought serious medical problems after he retired as a player. He underwent surgery on his eyes, heart and bladder after doctors discovered cancer. He also had surgery more than a dozen times on his legs before they were amputated below the knees – the right one in 2001 and the left a year later.

As a broadcaster, Santo was known for unabashedly rooting for the Cubs, a trait that endeared him to fans who never saw him play.

”I want you to know that he loved you so much, and he would be grateful that you came here to share this with him,” Vicki Santo said to the fans. ”He fought the good fight, and though he’s no longer here we need to find a cure (for juvenile diabetes). He felt he had been put here for that reason. He believed in his journey. He believed in his cause. We can’t let him down.”


Barry Larkin Is A Hall Of Famer!!!

NEW YORK — Barry Larkin will be the newest member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, joining the Class of 2012 as the sole member elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, it was announced on Monday.

The 12-time National League All-Star shortstop and three-time Gold Glove Award winner, who played his entire 19-year career for his hometown Cincinnati Reds, garnered 86 percent of the vote. Last year, Larkin finished third behind inductees Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven when his name appeared on 62.1 percent of the ballots cast. It was Larkin’s third year on the ballot.

Larkin will be inducted into the Hall during this year’s ceremonies on July 21-22 in Cooperstown, N.Y., joining legendary Cubs third baseman Ron Santo, who was elected posthumously to the Hall last month by the Golden Era Committee. They will be inducted on July 22 behind the Clark Sports Center. Ford C. Frick Award winner Tim McCarver and J.G. Taylor Spink Award electee Bob Elliott will be honored in a separate ceremony on July 21 at Doubleday Field.

Larkin was a nine-time Silver Slugger winner, a member of the Reds squad that swept the A’s in the 1990 World Series and the NL Most Valuable Player in 1995. His .295 lifetime batting average was 33 points higher than that of Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith, who was elected predominantly for his defense in 2002. Cal Ripken Jr., elected along with Padres right fielder Tony Gwynn on the first ballot for both men in 2007, hit .277 as a shortstop, the position he played for most of his stellar 21-year career with the Orioles.

Among the notable first-timers on the BBWAA ballot, which was distributed in December, were Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams, Braves catcher Javy Lopez and Angels outfielder Tim Salmon.

Other major hopefuls on this year’s ballot were pitcher Jack Morris and first baseman Jeff Bagwell, the latter of whom played his entire career for the Houston Astros.

Morris, who won the World Series with Detroit, Minnesota and Toronto and had 254 victories during his 18-year big league career, was a long shot. He needed to pick up 21.5 percent to make it this year. This was his 13th of a possible 15 years on the BBWAA ballot and his hopes are fading, considering the star-studded ballots that eligible BBWAA voters will confront in the next four years.

BBWAA members with at least 10 consecutive years of covering Major League Baseball can place as many as 10 names on their ballots.