Baseball HOF Profile: Barry Larkin

The Baseball Hall of Fame has always been one of the toughest invites to get in professional sports with so few players going in every year. The baseball writers that select the inductees have no issue with turning away almost everyone in an attempt to keep the hall sacred. In some ways this is a good thing as there is a very firm gatekeeper in to the Hall that ensures only the best of the best make it in. With no clear rules in place the Hall of fame is in a constant debate over who should get in on any given year. There are many players that will be up for induction in any given year but it is up to the committee to debate who the deserving candidates are. This year the committee decided that there would only be one candidate, Ron Santo would be the senior ballot inductee, inducted into Cooperstown. Barry Larkin will join the hallowed halls of Cooperstown this year after an illustrious career that had many considering him one of the best shortstops to play the game. More than his stats and his accomplishments Larkin was just simply one of the best people in the MLB. Stories of his kindness are forever being told much like the time he learned Spanish in order to speak with his teammates from Hispanic backgrounds. This type of attitude endured him to the only city he knew in Cincinnati his hometown and the only city he played in. His selection into the hall is also a message to an upcoming generation of ballplayers looking to make the hall. Larkin played in the midst of the darkest period in baseball, the Steroid Era, yet he continued to excel without any help from PEDs. He represents the clean players of the era and is a message to the players like Roger Clemons and Barry bonds that clean players are what Cooperstown highlights. As more players come to the ballot a new consideration will be whether he used or didn’t use steroids in his time in the MLB. The election of Barry Larkin is a sign that the Baseball Hall of Fame voters will not tolerate steroid users and instead will award the greatest clean players in the game.

There is more to Barry Larkin than just being a clean player though as he is considered one of the best shortstops to play the game. Barry Larkin seemed to find success at every level he played at making his impact throughout baseball. In College Larkin helped Michigan to two College World Series appearances and was a two-time All-American. After leaving Michigan for the majors he had his number retired to thank him for everything he did while at the school. After a successful College career Barry Larkin achieved a dream as he was added to the farm system of his hometown team the Cincinnati Reds. In the minors the success continues as he helped the Double-A Vermont Reds to an Eastern League Championship. When he moved to Triple-A Larkin won the Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year with the Denver Zephyrs. It was a short Minor League Career, 177 games in total, but he made his impact. Entering the Majors Larkin continued to make an impact beating out Kurt Stillwell for the starting shortstop position and leading the Reds in their quest to become a contender. It didn’t take long either as Larkin and the Reds went on to win the 1990 World Series. His career continued as Larkin only got better after the World Series making it to the All-Star Game 12 times, winning 3 Gold Gloves, 9 Silver Sluggers, The Roberto Clemente Award (1993), The Lou Gehrig Memorial Award (1994), and a National League MVP (1995). As a career .295 hitter Larkin was clearly an offensive powerhouse at shortstop but also had the ability on defence to shut down a run. It is clear that both his amazing achievements on the field and his commitment to playing clean make Larkin a deserving Hall of Fame candidate as he gets his shot at being immortalized this weekend.

 

Barry Larkin, SS (1986-2004)

6’0” 185 lbs

Cincinnati Reds (19 yrs)

2,180 G

.295 AVG

198 HR

960 RBI

– 1990 World Series Win

– 12 All-Star Game Appearances

– 3 Gold glove Awards

– 9 Silver Slugger Awards

– 1995 NL MVP

– 1993 Roberto Clemente Award

– 1994 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award

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