Monday, January 9, 2012

Barry Larkin Gets Call to the Hall

Next stop? Cooperstown.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced its election results for the 2012 class today and one lifelong Cincinnatian and Red comprised it -- Barry Larkin.

Larkin received a nod of approval from 86% of the BBWAA voters to get in on just his third year on the ballot. He came up short in his first year (51.6%) and again in his second (62.1%) after failing to meet the minimum mark of 75% to earn the selection. However, all is well that ends well and January 9th, 2012 will go down as a day that ended quite well for one Barry Louis Larkin.

Born and raised in the city of Cincinnati, the talented athlete starred at local Moeller High School before going on to excel at the University of Michigan. After a successful career as a Wolverine the then 21-year old Larkin entered the 1985 MLB Draft where the hometown Reds tabbed him as the 4th overall pick. Larkin had turned down a pro contract by the Reds just three years prior after the team had selected him in the second round of the '82 Draft, however, Larkin opted for college instead. This time the electric shortstop signed on the dotted line and the rest is of Hall of Fame lore and history.

Larkin, a true hometown hero, will be
remembered as one of the most beloved
players to ever don a Reds uniform 
On August 13th, 1986 Larkin made his MLB debut as a pinch-hitter in an 8-6 victory over the Giants at Riverfront Stadium. From then on the 6'0", 185-pounder would earn 12 All-Star selections, nine Silver Slugger Awards, three Gold Glove Awards, the National League MVP Award in 1995, and the distinguishment of becoming the first 30-30 shortstop in the history of the game. He also played a key role in bringing home the Queen City its last World Championship to-date when the underdog Reds swept the heavily-favored Oakland A's in the 1990 World Series.

In 19 marveling, big-league seasons he boasted a .295 average, .371 OBP, 198 HRs, 960 RBIs, 379 SBs, and an .815 OPS. Baseball historian and expert Bill James admires the career accomplishments of Larkin so much that he called him one of the greatest shortstops of all-time, ranking him #6 in his New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.

Larkin was previously inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum in July, 2008 along with three others.

He will become only the eleventh player to enter the National HOF primarily as a Red joining the likes of Sparky Anderson, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Ernie Lombardi, among others.

Larkin will officially be enshrined into the Hall during this year's ceremonies on July 21-22 in Cooperstown, New York. He will join the late, Cubs third basemen Ron Santo, who was elected to the HOF by the Golden Era Committee in December, as the lone two members of the Class of 2012.

Larkin, now 47, currently serves as an analyst for ESPN's Baseball Tonight.

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