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savafan
01-02-2007, 04:32 AM
Interesting article. FWIW, this was written in 2005, but still a good read.

http://www.brewerfan.net/ViewArticle.do?articleId=221

by Todd Coppernoll
on 10/22/2005

Career Highlights

12 All-Stars
9 Silver Sluggers
3 Gold Gloves
1995 NL MVP
1 World Series Ring

Number of Similar Batters on his Baseball-Reference.com page in Hall of Fame 3 (4 not yet eligible)

Next up in the series is former Reds shortstop Barry Larkin. Drafted in the second round by the Reds in 1982, Larkin chose to attend the University of Michigan. Three years later the Reds called again, this time taking him 4th overall in the ’85 draft (two spots ahead of Barry Bonds). The ’84 Olympian, two-time Big Ten Player of the Year signed with his hometown team and never left, playing his entire career in Cincinnati.

While most would agree Larkin was a very talented player, there are many who question whether he should be remembered as great. I see three reasons for this, first, the injuries that kept him off the field far too often (100 or fewer games played in five different seasons), second, the fact that he never left the Reds for a major media market, and finally, most significantly, The Ripken Factor.

Prior to the 1980’s shortstops were typically smaller men, quick on their feet, primarily asked to play defense first, offense was a nice bonus, power almost never came with the package. As a child, I can imagine Larkin idolizing Dave Concepcion right there in Riverfront Stadium. Concepcion was terrific with the glove, and handled the bat well for his position, which at that time meant he ran well, knew how to work the count, could bunt, could execute the hit and run, but was seldom expected to drive the ball and produce runs. While Larkin would one day execute those same skills to the tune of 2340 hits, a .295 career batting average, and 379 stolen bases, a funny thing happened on his way to the spotlight... in 1982, shortstop Robin Yount hit 29 home runs and won the AL MVP. The following year, Cal Ripken turned the same trick, while hitting 27 homers. Suddenly, shortstop was a place where it was ok to crush the ball and be a team’s best run producer.

If you ask anyone who was the best shortstop during the late 80’s and early 90’s, you can expect them to answer “Cal Ripken.” Cal had The Streak, Cal hit the homers, and Cal changed the common perception of the shortstop position forever, but did you know...

Larkin won 9 silver sluggers from 1988-1999, meaning he was the best hitter in his league, at his position 75% of that time?

In the last 40 years, Larkin and Ripken are the only shortstops who have won both a World Series and an MVP award? Sorry A-Rod, and Jeter, and Nomar, and Tejada, and Yount, and Trammell.

Larkin was the first shortstop ever to have a 30 home run / 30 stolen base season?

Larkin batted .300 or better nine times?

Larkin is the only shortstop EVER to top 2000 hits, 150 home runs, and 350 stolen bases?

From Robin Yount to Michael Young, the American League has hogged the spotlight at the shortstop position over the last 25 years. Time and again the big city reporters rambled on and on about Jeter, Nomar and A-Rod. While all of those others certainly deserved high praise, many forgot to check what was happening in that other league. There, in a smaller market, embarrassed first by Pete Rose, then by Marge Schott, overshadowed by Eric Davis as a young player, Jose Rijo in the World Series, then by Ken Griffey Jr during his final seasons, was a GREAT shortstop... Barry Larkin.

Barry has four more years to wait until he is eligible to be elected to the Hall of Fame, I think he deserves to be there... do you?

Johnny Footstool
01-02-2007, 10:30 AM
Larkin was the NL's best shortstop for a decade. I think M2 once pointed out that Larkin was Derek Jeter before there was a Derek Jeter.

I don't think there's much of an argument against him.

deltachi8
01-02-2007, 11:27 AM
Yes. As we move further away from Barry's playing days, my opinion of his HOF status has changed from borderline to absolute.

The numbers of A-Rod and Nomar and the like impaired me, probably like many fans. When you look at it, Barry’s numbers are exceptional. I view him almost as a transition shortstop, one who bridged the SS play of the 70’s to that of the mid 90’s, and could do more than just hold his own in both styles of play.

Johnny Footstool
01-02-2007, 11:36 AM
One of my favorite things about Larkin's game was his adaptability. Bat him leadoff, and he scratched and clawed his way on base, stole bases, and scored runs. Bat him second, and he hit behind the runner. Bat him third, and he turned up the power.

steig
01-02-2007, 07:31 PM
One of my favorite things about Larkin's game was his adaptability. Bat him leadoff, and he scratched and clawed his way on base, stole bases, and scored runs. Bat him second, and he hit behind the runner. Bat him third, and he turned up the power.

I wonder if his adaptability is what would keep him out of the HOF. He could have hit for more power and batted 3rd longer but the team needed him at lead off or second so his game changed. I wonder if a lot of voters will look at his stats and think he was inconsistent in regards to his power numbers rather than realizing he did what ever was asked of him by his team.

Red in Chicago
01-02-2007, 08:21 PM
One of my favorite things about Larkin's game was his adaptability. Bat him leadoff, and he scratched and clawed his way on base, stole bases, and scored runs. Bat him second, and he hit behind the runner. Bat him third, and he turned up the power.

excellent observation:)

George Foster
01-03-2007, 12:13 AM
Who will be in his class? This will depend on weather or not he is a 1st ballot HOF'er or not.

marcshoe
01-03-2007, 12:29 AM
Andres Galarraga, Edgar Martinez, Robin Ventura.

Martinez will get a lot of attention with the DH debate.

Would Sosa become eligible in 2010 as well if he stays retired?

Cyclone792
01-03-2007, 12:47 AM
Yep, one of the keys to help Larkin is to hope there's few "better" choices in the minds of Hall voters and also hope there's no debatable choices also on the ballot. The fewer of each, the better for Larkin, I think.

Edgar Martinez is the problem wildcard for Barry Larkin in 2010 since he'll garner attention with the DH argument. Martinez was a heckuva hitter, though his career started late and prevented him from putting up eye-popping career counting stats. Combine that factor with the DH, and he'll create quite a bit of controversy, which will unfortunately take away from attention that Larkin deserves.

Also, Tim Raines becomes eligible in 2008, and he's another underrated player. Raines is a deserving Hall of Famer, IMO, and deserves to be elected right away in 2008. Unfortunately for Larkin, it wouldn't surprise me if Raines is still on the ballot and debatable in 2010 when Larkin becomes eligible.

In 2009, Rickey Henderson should be a slam dunk to make it. The next best eligible player is probably Mark Grace, who was a fine player, but shouldn't be a serious Hall of Fame candidate. If Sosa stays retired, then he's eligible in 2011, which would be Larkin's second year of eligibility.

I want to see a couple things happen between now and 2010 when Larkin becomes eligible.

First, Blyleven needs to be elected so the sabermetric community can focus on someone else (read: hopefully Larkin). The sabermetric community has been a major asset in gaining attention to Blyleven's credentials, and it'd help Barry if they focused their efforts on him.

Second, Alan Trammell needs votes and needs support. Trammell absolutely deserves to be in the Hall of Fame on his own merit, IMO, but the more support he gets, the better the outlook for Larkin. I very much doubt Trammell will be elected by 2010, if ever, but if his vote total can spike upward, it'd really help Larkin.

Finally, all the new deserving players on the ballot between now and 2010 just need to go ahead and get in before 2010. This means guys like Raines and Henderson hopefully are elected when they become eligible and are no longer a name on the list that takes attention away from Larkin.

About a year ago, I put up a post that compared Larkin historically to every other great shortstop the game has ever seen, and I also outlined some of the positive/negatives surrounding whether or not the BBWAA will vote him in. Since some of the Larkin comparisons involve active players such as a Derek Jeter, I'll probably update it sometime in the next few days, or perhaps when the 2007 vote is released and we know Trammell's support.

Gwynn and Ripken will make it this season, and McGwire will grab attention as a player who won't make it. Blyleven deserves it, and guys such as Jim Rice are also gaining votes. But I care about what kind of support Alan Trammell receives more than anything else, because it's Trammell's support that has an impact on what kind of support to expect for Larkin.

paintmered
01-03-2007, 12:48 AM
Andres Galarraga, Edgar Martinez, Robin Ventura.

Martinez will get a lot of attention with the DH debate.

Would Sosa become eligible in 2010 as well if he stays retired?

That's not a particularly strong class. I think Edgar Martinez deserves a look. Sosa will lose a chunk of votes due to steroid suspicion.

I think Larkin is certainly HOF worthy, but not playing in a major-market will limit his first ballot to around 60-65%.

Chip R
01-03-2007, 01:34 AM
Raines had a drug probem so that may cost him some votes. I'm not so sure having the sabremetric community behind a player is an asset to them. There may actually be a backlash from sportswriters against that player because of that. It hasn't helped Blyleven, yet. I don't know if there is any proof that some sportswriters hold that against a player but I wouldn't be surprised.

Cyclone792
01-03-2007, 02:06 AM
Raines had a drug probem so that may cost him some votes. I'm not so sure having the sabremetric community behind a player is an asset to them. There may actually be a backlash from sportswriters against that player because of that. It hasn't helped Blyleven, yet. I don't know if there is any proof that some sportswriters hold that against a player but I wouldn't be surprised.

Something has happened to Blyleven to drastically improve his support. I know the sabermetric community has been staunch supporters of him, and his vote total has improved dramatically over the years ...

1999: 14.08 percent
2000: 17.43 percent
2001: 23.50 percent
2002: 26.27 percent
2003: 29.23 percent
2004: 35.38 percent
2005: 40.90 percent
2006: 53.30 percent

Steady improvement since 1999, and a massive jump between 2003 and 2006 when he nearly doubled his support. I wouldn't be surprised to see Blyleven receive 60 percent support this year, and that'd be amazing considering he was at 14 percent in 1999. Usually when a player receives that little support, it's a foregone conclusion that he's not going to make it. Guys such as Rice and Sutter were at least in the 25-30 percent range when they first hit the ballot. Alan Trammell is down near the Blyleven levels in 1999-2000, and I hope Trammell's support over the next half dozen years follows the same path that Blyleven's support has followed.

UKFlounder
01-03-2007, 02:16 PM
I just wish Barry would have been a bit more durable and his "counting stats" (especially hits) would have been more impressive, but it is what it is and I hope Barry makes it.

savafan
01-03-2007, 02:42 PM
I wonder when the Reds are going to have that Barry Larkin day...?

redsfanmia
01-03-2007, 05:39 PM
I wonder when the Reds are going to have that Barry Larkin day...?

I would like to see #11 retired along with #13 the Reds should really play up their history because lets face it their near future doesnt look too great.

Yachtzee
01-04-2007, 10:38 PM
I would direct folks to Cyclone's brilliant write-up of Barry Larkin's place in Cooperstown (http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=42221) from a year ago. I think that Larkin was not only one of the best SS of his time, but I feel he among the top shortstops ever to play the position and should be a first ballot Hall inductee.

I think that it is important for the Reds to retire #13 this season to coincide with the renewed campaign to get Davey Concepcion into the hall. I'd also argue that the Reds should retire #11 right before Barry Larkin first becomes eligible. If anything, it will put their careers back into the spotlight so that writers will be able to discuss their merits.

Red Heeler
01-05-2007, 11:47 AM
Larkin was the NL's best shortstop for a decade. I think M2 once pointed out that Larkin was Derek Jeter before there was a Derek Jeter.

I don't think there's much of an argument against him.

At the plate, Jeter is an excellent comp. for Larkin. In the field, Larkin was far and away a better SS. Larkin's range in his prime was amazing.