The Baseball Writers' Association of America announced it's entries into the MLB Hall of Fame yesterday and they gave themselves a break this year because there was only one name to be called, and that was former Cincinnati Reds great Barry Larkin.
Larkin, a standout shortstop who played his entire career with the Reds from 1986 to 2004, was voted in with 86% of the votes on his third year of illegibility. A player needs at least 75% to make it into the Hall. Larkin, currently an ESPN analyst, was just 75 votes short the previous year and though he hoped this year would cover that gap, he was still shocked by the news of his upcoming induction.
"I was absolutely floored," he told ESPN when asked about his reaction upon receiving the call. "I'm just so, so proud."
For his career, Larkin hit .295 with 198 home runs, 960 RBIs, 2,340 hits and 379 stolen bases. A 12-time All-Star, he won the 1995 NL MVP award, three Gold Gloves and the 1990 World Series. In 1996, he became the first shortstop to have 30 homers and 30 steals in a season.
Overall, this was a feat that was well deserved and one that has left the former player both humbled and awed.
"It's baseball immortality. It's the pinnacle. It's like winning the World Series," Larkin told ESPN of his election.
The Hall of Fame induction will be held on July 22 in Cooperstown. Larkin will be inducted along with the late Ron Santo, elected last month by the Golden Era Committee.
Notable players on this list who didn't receive the necessary 75% vote are as follows: Jeff Bagwell (56%), Tim Raines (48%), Mark McGuire (19%) and Don Mattingly (17%).
McGuire, an admitted steroids user, has seen his percentage fall over the past two years and with it, his hope of getting in. The steroids issue is an obvious cloud that hangs over the voters and one that will be brought further into the light next year as Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens are all eligible for consideration.
Some other notable names on next years ballot is Curt Schilling, Mike Piazza, and Craig Biggio.
Photo credit – AP