His vote total reflected a 24.3-percent gain from the 2011 ballot, the largest jump in one year to gain election since 1948 when pitcher Herb Pennock received 77.7 percent of the vote after having tallied 53.4 percent in 1947. Larkin’s jump is the largest for any Hall of Fame election in which at least 400 ballots were cast. The previous highest was the 16.4-percent jump by first baseman Tony Perez from 1999 (60.8) to 2000 (77.2)
Larkin was a lifelong Cincinnati Red playing a total of 19 seasons where he batted .295 with 2,340 hits (441 2B/76 3B/198 HR). Larkin drove in 960 runs, scored 1,329, stole 379 bases and had more walks to strikeouts (939-817). Larkin was a 12-time All Star, a 3-time Gold Glove winner the National League Most Valuable Player in 1995. He was a pivotal player in the Cincinnati Reds’ 1990 Championship team by hitting .302 in a career high 158 games hit .353 in the Reds’ World Series sweep of the Oakland Athletics.
I have to admit that my memories of watching Barry Larkin play are limited to seeing him on the occasional New York Mets broadcast, the times that the Reds played on the Game of the Week, in the All-Star game and in the 1990 World Series. By the time I got to see him play regularly on ESPN and other outlets, Larkin was reaching the twilight of his career. I got most of my information on him (and other players) on such shows like This Week in Baseball and George Michael Sports Machine and print media as the Sporting News and Street, Smith’s Baseball Magazine and old fashioned stats on the back of a baseball card and sticker book. It was a definitely a different era for Baseball fans than what see today. But even then without the constant media barrage of information I could tell that Larkin was an amazing player at the shortstop position. In tandem with Cal Ripken Jr., Larkin was the bridge that connected the era of good glove-no hit shortstops to today’s era of power hitting and high average shortstops. Had it not been for Ozzie Smith who dominated the shortstop position in the National League with his 13 consecutive Gold Gloves from 1980-1992, I believe that Larkin would have gone in first ballot into the Hall of Fame.
Congratulations Mr. Barry Louis Larkin, HOF 12.
For Further Reading:
- Click Here for Barry Larkin's career statistics from BaseballReference.com