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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!!!

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Happy Birthday John Kruk!!!

Happy Birthday John Kruk!!!

John Kruk turns 53 years old today!

A man with one of the largest personalities in baseball during his playing days, John Kruk was always a fan favorite.  Although Kruk did not look like the prototypical baseball player, or athlete for that matter, he was as talented a hitter as there was in the late 80’s.  In Kruk’s 10-year playing career, he hit .300 or better 7 times.  And when he retired from the sport, he left with a career batting average of .300 while amassing 100 home runs and 592 RBI.

For Kruk’s birthday I want to give him something else.  Something nobody else may think of to give him.  I want to give him 1 more double.  I mean, who wants to retire from the game with 199 doubles when 200 sounds so much better?  So, ‘Krukkie’ my gift to you is 1 more ‘2-bagger’.

Happy Birthday & Enojy!!!

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!!!

Happy Birthday John Kruk!!!

Happy Birthday John Kruk!!!

John Kruk turns 52 years old today!

A man with one of the largest personalities in baseball during his playing days, Kruk was always a fan favorite.  Although Kruk did not look like the prototypical baseball player, or athlete for that matter, he was as talented a hitter as there was in the late 80’s.  In Kruk’s 10-year playing career, he hit .300 or better 7 times.  And when he retired from the sport, he left with a career batting average of .300 while amassing 100 home runs and 592 RBI.

But for Kruk’s birthday I want to give him something else.  Something nobody else may think of to give him.  I want to give him 1 more double.  I mean, who wants to retire from the game with 199 doubles when 200 sounds so much better?  So, ‘Krukkie’ my gift to you is 1 more ‘2-bagger’. 

Happy Birthday & Enojy!!!

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.”

 

Happy Birthday John Kruk!!!

Happy Birthday John Kruk!!!

John Kruk turns 51 years old today!

A man with one of the largest personalities in baseball during his playing days, Kruk was always a fan favorite.  Although Kruk did not look like the prototypical baseball player, or athlete for that matter, he was as talented a hitter as there was in the late 80’s.  In Kruk’s 10-year playing career, he hit .300 or better 7 times.  And when he retired from the sport, he left with a career batting average of .300 while amassing 100 home runs and 592 RBI.

But for Kruk’s birthday I want to give him something else.  Something nobody else may think of to give him.  I want to give him 1 more double.  I mean, who wants to retire from the game with 199 doubles when 200 sounds so much better?  So, ‘Krukkie’ my gift to you is 1 more ‘2-bagger’. 

Happy Birthday & Enojy!!!

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.