Tuesday, November 19, 2013

#110 Barry Larkin

About the Front: We are on a roll with some top-notch card photography! This is a less-common angle of a hitter. It looks like the photographer was sitting right in the on-deck circle to capture Barry Larkin as the shortstop intently waits for his pitch.

About the Back: Those are some nifty stats, but Larkin still had some of his best ball ahead of him. In the proceeding dozen years of his career, he earned three Gold Gloves, four Silver Sluggers (bringing his total to nine), made eight All-Star teams (of 12 total in his career), and was the 1995 National League MVP. So yes, he's a worthy Hall of Famer.

Triple Play:

1. Barry became the first shortstop to have 30 home runs and 30 steals in the same season in 1996 (33 HR, 36 SB).

2. Larkin managed the Brazilian team in the 2012 World Baseball Classic. They were a suprise qualifier after beating Panama, but went winless in the tournament's opening round and were eliminated.

3. His younger brother Stephen was an outfielder/first baseman who played pro ball for 12 years. The Reds called him up in September 1998, whereupon he started at first base on September 27 and batted right behind his brother in the three-hole. That was Stephen's lone major league game. Incidentally, the other two infield positions were manned by Bret and Aaron Boone, giving Cincinnati two pairs of brothers in one infield!

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I don't remember watching Larkin play much during his career, probably because he spent all of his time in the National League. I can't help but think that he was overshadowed in the early years by Ozzie Smith.

Bill James Said: "Since his first full season, 1987, Larkin has missed 21% of the Reds' games, or 34 games a year, with various injuries." If Barry had been a little luckier with injuries, he probably wouldn't have had to wait until his third year on the ballot to make the Hall of Fame. Of course, with the way baseball writers vote, who knows?

On This Date in 1993: November 19. Avert your eyes, Dodgers fans! Los Angeles looks to bolster their infield by trading for Expos second baseman Delino DeShields. In return, Montreal receives a skinny young right-handed pitcher named Pedro Martinez.

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