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Barry Larkin Voted Into Baseball Hall of Fame

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

The Reds great gets in after his third year on the ballot; Jack Morris still a notable omission.

Barry Larkin Voted Into Baseball Hall of Fame

The voting process for induction for the Baseball Hall of Fame really confuses me.  Other writers have already lambasted the whole process, like Eric Nusbaum at the Classical and Rob Neyer at SB Nation (both terrific reads).  It's hard to consider how a player's stats make him worthy after a 10-year wait, but after seven seasons he wasn't deserving.  Writers hold certain grudges against some players and won't vote for them.  The whole thing seems sort of crooked, especially when great players like Edgar Martinez (the greatest DH and one of the purest hitters to ever play the game) and Jack Morris (whose '91 World Series should validate entry on its own) aren't yet enshrined.

But a player that surely deserves to be in the Hall of Fame got in after today's vote: Barry Larkin. With 86% of the vote, Larkin easily got in after falling votes short last year.  He joins the late Ron Santo as the only inductees in this year's class.  SI.s Joe Posnanski wrote this about Larkin today:

I happened to be covering the Reds for the now-deceased Cincinnati Post during the season that Larkin won the MVP, as well as the two or three seasons around it, and I can tell you that there was an aura about the guy. I’m not sure if it was easily seen or felt in the stands or on television, but it was something that was palpable for the baseball writers who went into the locker room every day...

Larkin, though, stood apart. He could be friendly, sure, and he could be edgy. He had a brilliant baseball mind, but he rarely said anything that showed it. He fulfilled his role as team leader completely, but didn’t often seem to enjoy it. He played hard, and he was hurt often...

He was a marvel to watch play baseball, because he did everything so well. He hit for average. He hit for power. He took a walk. He hardly ever struck out. He stretched singles into doubles and doubles into triples. He stole a lot of bases and was rarely caught. He went first to third. He had great range. He had a good arm. He turned the double play. If you needed a sac bunt, he’d get it down. If you needed a sac fly, he’d hit it...

Over time, Larkin’s greatness has become apparent. There are so few in baseball history who could really do everything well. And here’s the wonderful thing about making the Hall of Fame — once you’re in, you’re in, and nobody cares anymore about whether you FEEL like a Hall of Famer. What difference does it make? You ARE a Hall of Famer.

Over his esteemed career, Larkin did indeed earn an MVP award in 1995, and compiled some excellent career statistics.  In a career that spanned 18 seasons, all spent with the Cincinnati Reds, Larkin batted .295 with 198 home runs, 960 RBI, nine Silver Slugger awards, and three Gold Glove awards at shortstop.  While he never was a league-leader in any one category, like Posnanski wrote, you couldn't deny that he was a great player.  So congrats, Mr. Larkin, on this achievement.  Better luck next year, Mr. Morris and Mr. Martinez.

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