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This week, Barry Larkin became the first member of the 1990 World Series champion Reds to be elected to the Hall of Fame. That continues a remarkable streak.
Why Cal Ripken and Derek Jeter aren't a good argument against Barry Larkin's Hall of Fame candidacy.
Jack Morris will be the top holdover on next year's Hall of Fame ballot, which bodes well for his candidacy. But what about all those superstars who will join Morris on the ballot?
Alan Trammell didn't make the Hall of Fame on Monday, but another shortstop did. What's the difference between the two?
In honor of Barry Larkin having been voted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, below please find a few things you might not have known about Barry Larkin. These are not all of the things you might not have known about Barry Larkin. They are just some of them. Onward!
Barry Larkin has a brother, named Stephen. Stephen Larkin also played for the Cincinnati Reds. Stephen finished with a career batting average of .333, which is better than Barry's.
Of course, Stephen played in one game and went 1-for-3. Cincinnati's infield in that one game, to close out the 1998 regular season:
1B: S Larkin
2B: B Boone
SS: B Larkin
3B: A Boone
I didn't include the catcher because to hell with the catcher.
Barry Larkin was drafted by the Reds in the second round in 1982. He didn't sign. He was drafted by the Reds again in 1985, this time fourth overall.
Barry Larkin was born in Cincinnati. He went to high school in Cincinnati. He was drafted by Cincinnati, and only ever played for Cincinnati. But in July 2000, he came very close to playing for New York. Cincinnati Enquirer:
Barry Larkin has declined a trade to the New York Mets and will remain with the Reds for the rest of the 2000 season, Reds General Manager Jim Bowden said late Saturday night.
Word has it that the Reds would have received Alex Escobar and two pitchers. Alex Escobar would later end up playing for Cleveland, which is almost Cincinnati.
Barry Larkin has a daughter named Brielle D'Shea, who was named after Shea Stadium. (Barry Larkin liked Shea Stadium.)
So maybe that's kind of an exaggeration - there's no mention of the word "sandwich", and I'm pretty sure that at some point Barry Larkin made a sandwich - but over at The Hardball Times, Chris Jaffe is nothing if not thorough in reviewing the career of the newest Hall of Famer. From 1986 through 2004, there are factoids followed by factoids, and if you look, over there, in the corner, there are more factoids.
A randomly-selected sample:
July 6, 1988: Larkin gets hit by a pitch twice in one game. The same thing happened to him just 15 days earlier, but it never happens to him again.
Oct. 16, 1990: World Series Game One: Larkin draws a walk and scores a run, as the Reds rough up the AL champion A’s, 7-0, to win the first game of the series.
June 23, 1998: Larkin, at 34 years of age, legs out two triples in one game. He’ll end the year with 10 triples, the only time he ever gets more than six in one season.
And there's way more. So if you're interested in reading a lot about Barry Larkin and past editions of the Cincinnati Reds, go read what Jaffe wrote for you to read.
Disgruntled over the Hall of Fame voting? Can't get enough Hall of Fame chatter and debate? Head on over to the Baseball Writers' Association of America's website, where they've collected and linked to a plethora of articles in which writers explain their ballots. For example, there's Ken Gurnick:
Ballot: Morris, Smith
Set nerd-lasers to "rage!"
Morris not only was a consummate big-game ace, he did it for nearly two decades and was a 20-game winner three times. Smith, who retired as the career saves leader but has since been passed, gets my vote for his early dominance, career-long consistency and durability.
Well, that's tame. He doesn't thumb his nose at anyone or bait the masses with scathing invective. He just ... votes for Jack Morris, Lee Smith, and no one else. Huh.
If this were two months ago, that totally would have had an #OccupyCooperstown hashtag. Well, if it were satire, that is.
In which your humble scribe devises a mechanism that should allow nearly every Hall of Fame voter, even most of the skeptics, to support Jeff Bagwell's candidacy in good conscience.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America has voted Barry Larkin into the Hall of Fame. A year ago - Larkin's second year on the ballot - the shortstop received 62.1 percent of the votes. This time around, he received 86.4 percent of the votes. That's a huge, huge jump - the biggest jump out of all the holdovers.
What about the rest of them, though? How did their 2012 results compare to their 2011 results? I have constructed a simple table, for your convenience. Here you are:
|Player||2011 (%)||2012 (%)||Change|
Mark McGwire was the only holdover to lose support, and he barely lost any support. All of the rest of them gained, with Bagwell, Morris, Trammell and Raines gaining in the double digits, along with Larkin.
Of course, next year's going to be something of a mess. We know that. We can prepare for that. But things are looking good for Bagwell and Morris. Raines, too. Trammell has a ways to go in a short amount of time - this was his 11th year on the ballot - but that's an encouraging gain for him.
You've heard that Barry Larkin has been voted into the MLB Hall of Fame. You've heard that Barry Larkin is the only player to be voted into the MLB Hall of Fame this year by the BBWAA. Larkin picked up 86.4 percent of the vote, good enough for a dramatic improvement over 2011, and good enough for induction.
What about the rest of the ballot, though? The rest of the results are shown below, courtesy of the BBWAA website. Note that BBWAA stands for Baseball Writers' Association of America, and not Baseball Website developers' Association of America. If you can believe me, the site actually used to be worse. Now it's something I could show to somebody. This sentence makes sense if you know what it used to look like.
|Barry Larkin||495 (86.4%)||3|
|Jack Morris||382 (66.7%)||13|
|Jeff Bagwell||321 (56.0%)||2|
|Lee Smith||290 (50.6%)||10|
|Tim Raines||279 (48.7%)||5|
|Alan Trammell||211 (36.8%)||11|
|Edgar Martinez||209 (36.5%)||3|
|Fred McGriff||137 (23.9%)||3|
|Larry Walker||131 (22.9%)||2|
|Mark McGwire||112 (19.5%)||6|
|Don Mattingly||102 (17.8%)||12|
|Dale Murphy||83 (14.5%)||14|
|Rafael Palmeiro||72 (12.6%)||2|
|Bernie Williams||55 (9.6%)||1|
|Juan Gonzalez||23 (4.0%)||2|
|Vinny Castilla||6 (1.0%)||1|
|Tim Salmon||5 (0.9%)||1|
|Bill Mueller||4 (0.7%)||1|
|Brad Radke||2 (0.3%)||1|
|Javy Lopez||1 (0.2%)||1|
|Eric Young||1 (0.2%)||1|
|Jeromy Burnitz||0 (0%)||1|
|Brian Jordan||0 (0%)||1|
|Terry Mulholland||0 (0%)||1|
|Phil Nevin||0 (0%)||1|
|Ruben Sierra||0 (0%)||1|
|Tony Womack||0 (0%)||1|
All of those players below 5 percent will be removed from the ballot going forward. I could've sworn Jeromy Burnitz was still a free agent, so I learned something today.
Barry Larkin, the lifetime Cincinnati Reds shortstop and 12-time All-Star, was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday, securing 86% of the vote from the Baseball Writer's Association of America. He was the only player elected in the 2011 class, with former Tigers pitcher Jack Morris just falling short.
Larkin was the fourth-overall pick in 1985, which is widely considered the greatest amateur draft in baseball history. After a nondescript debut in the Eastern League as a 21-year-old, he only spent one more season in the minors before becoming the Reds' starting shortstop for 19 straight seasons. Only 24 players in the history of baseball have played more games for just one franchise in their careers.
An aside: one of those players was Dave Concepcion, who was the Reds' shortstop from 1970 until Larkin's emergence in 1987, which means that the Reds had two different shortstops over a 35-season stretch. The last starting shortstop before that was Woody Woodward, and whenever the Reds would try to alter the plans of the universe, the universe would respond:
Larkin was a part of the 1990 Reds, the last Cincinnati team to win the World Series. He won the NL MVP in 1995, though it's possible that the best year of his career was the following year, when he hit a career-high 33 home runs and stole 36 bases. He finished his career with 2340 hits and a .295/.371/.444 line in 2180 games for the Reds.
Morris received 67% of the total vote, a large increase over the 53.5% he received in 2011. This is the 13th year that Morris has been on the ballot, however, so he'll need more of a push over the next two seasons if he's to make it without the help of the Golden Era Committee.
Jeff Bagwell received 56% of the total vote, which wasn't good enough for election with this class, but a strong indicator that he'll merit strong consideration in the future. He's currently the career WAR leader for all eligible players who aren't in the Hall.
Lee Smith was the only other former player to be named on a majority of the ballots, getting 51%. He was followed by Tim Raines (49%), Alan Trammell (37%), Edgar Martinez (37%), Fred McGriff (24%), Larry Walker (23%), and Mark McGwire (20%).
One of the odd things about the Hall of Fame is that nobody seems to have a different idea of what the Hall of Fame should be. Should it be reserved for players like Willie Mays and Ty Cobb? The best of the best? Or should the doors be thrown open to any player as good as (say) Freddie Lindstrom and Travis Jackson, in the Hall of Fame already?
Granted, most people are somewhere in the middle. That’s where I am. Right down the middle, actually. If there are 20 shortstops in the Hall of Fame, I want my candidate to be better than 10 of them. Or close.
But this “big Hall / small Hall” debate just keeps coming up. Or maybe it’s actually not a “big Hall” but a bigger Hall that most people really want. That’s where Dave Cameron is, for sure.
Since I think there are a bunch of guys who aren’t in the Hall of Fame and should be, I suppose I’m on Dave’s side. But I think there are a lot of guys who are in who shouldn’t be. So really, the message isn’t that we need a bigger Hall of Fame. What we need is a better Hall of Fame.
And good luck with that one.
Over at the New York Times, Tyler Kepner writes about how the Hall of Fame and the Baseball Writers Association of America is wrestling with the issue of performance-enhancing drugs and the Hall of Fame. Kepner breaks down the glut of current and future candidates into four categories:
And in that latter category, he breaks the candidates down into subcategories: based on suspicion, based on admission, based on evidence, and based on admission/evidence/playing career.
The names might be open for debate -- I'd be surprised if Mike Piazza were kept out, for example, even if a few writers want to throw him in the water and see if he floats -- but it's an interesting way to break down future candidates.
The only thing we know for sure is that it's going to get a whole lot more messy and convoluted next year. This year was a quiet, civil discussion at the Algonquin Roundtable compared to next year.
The Baseball Writers Association of America will announce the results of their Hall-of-Fame balloting on Monday, and there have been some whispers that this might be the first year since 1996 without a player getting inducted. Is that a possibility?
Probably not. Over at Baseball Think Factory, the indefatigable Repoz has collected the results of 134 different ballots so far, and at his last count, Larkin received a vote on 89.6% of the ballots -- even accounting for sample-size concerns, that total hints that he should be well over the 75% required for election. Jim Bowden is, uh, confident that Larkin will get in:
"I'd be shocked if Barry doesn't get in this year," says Jim Bowden, Larkin's general manager with the Reds. "If he doesn't get in, I'm going to resign from all of my jobs. That's how confident I am."
Maybe he meant re-sign. Those hyphens can really make a difference. And if you're interested in whether or not the ballots released early can act as some sort of statistical indicator of the final balloting, here's the spreadsheet for you. It sure looks like there's some significance to the results of the voluntarily released ballots.
Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell, and Tim Raines are also creeping closer to 75% with each passing year, and there's an outside shot that they'll get in this time. Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, and Edgar Martinez are on the fringes of the vote, and if any of them get over a simple majority of the votes, it would be a minor upset.
First-time candidate Bernie Williams isn't just failing to get a lot of support -- he's in danger of getting even the 5% required to remain on the ballot next year, which is somewhat surprising for a five-time All Star who won four different World Series with the New York Yankees.
The award will be announced at noon PT/3:00 p.m. ET on the BBWAA's official Twitter account -- @officialBBWAA.
Mark McGwire hasn't fared well on previous Hall of Fame ballots, and isn't going to fare well this time around, either. But one writer thinks he's actually the most deserving candidate on the ballot.
Whatever you might think about Jeff Bagwell and his contemporaries, may we agree that it's appropriate to keep thinking about them?
No, no. It's okay. One more article about Jack Morris and the Hall of Fame won't hurt you.
The Hall of Fame voting process is almost irretrievably broken. Here's one way to fix it.
For a player to be on a Hall-of-Fame ballot, he needs to have played for ten years, and he needs to have been retired for five years. There are other stipulations, but those are the main ones.
That group is then whittled down by an ominous and mysterious screening committee, which means that some players don't even make the ballot. For example, Tony Womack is on the ballot, while Edgardo Alfonzo is not. This probably means that The Screening Committee is just the name of Womack's zydeco band.
Over at The Platoon Advantage, there's a look at the guys who didn't even make the ballot. This eliminates the chance of even a pity ballot, like the one or two that Vinny Castilla is receiving. TPA rounds up the lot of them:
Jeff Nelson: At a thin, lanky 6'8", Nelson had a really spectacularly unique delivery, standing straighter than most pitchers do and kind of flinging the ball semi-sidearmed like some people throw a frisbee, which is what gave him his great, intimidating slider.
Say, any post that gives me an excuse to post Nelson's minor-league stats is a good post to me.
|1984||17||2 Teams||2 Lgs||Rk||3.86||14.0||9||9||8||5.8||5.1|
|1986||19||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A-Rk||6.87||73.1||84||87||38||10.7||4.7|
|1990||23||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A+-AA||4.53||103.1||112||43||63||3.7||5.5|
|1991||24||2 Teams||2 Lgs||AAA-AA||2.67||60.2||62||24||60||3.6||8.9|
Anyone who can overcome that kind of walk rate as a teenager should at least get one vote for the Hall of Fame, even if it's just as an inspiration to other teenagers.
Eddie Mathews and Carl Hubbell weren't first-ballot Hall of Famers. This is your yearly reminder that the Hall of Fame isn't quite what you think it is.
The Hall of Fame has two serious issues, both of them related to Jeff Bagwell. Until the BBWAA comes up with a smart collective policy about hitters from the Steroid Era, everyone's going to suffer.
It's tempting to write that the Hall of Fame inductees will be announced on Monday, January 9, but we don't know if there will be any. Whatever the announcement is, it will come via live television and stream. From an MLB Network press release:
he results of the 2012 National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot will be announced on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com on Monday, January 9 at 3:00 p.m. ET as part of a two-hour announcement show beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Featuring National Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson, coverage will include interviews with any electees and be anchored by Matt Vasgersian with MLB Network’s Bob Costas, Greg Amsinger, Brian Kenny and Harold Reynolds, Hall of Fame award-winning baseball writer Peter Gammons, and Hall of Fame voters Jon Heyman, Ken Rosenthal and Tom Verducci.
It would be somewhat amusing for the folks on TV to have a drum roll that's followed by ... no one! But it's looking likely that Barry Larkin, at the very least, will be inducted this year.
Here's hoping that everyone's enjoyed these spirited discussions about Alan Trammell and Jeff Bagwell. Next year, it isn't going to be so quaint.
Edgar Martinez probably isn't going to make the Hall of Fame this year either. That's a shame, but there's one argument against him that's particularly annoying.
As we noted, 2011 Spink Award winner Bill Conlin has been accused of child molestation. Which is a sticky thing for the BBWAA and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, since Conlin’s Spink Award means his photo is prominently displayed in an exhibit not far from the actual Hall of Fame plaques. Andrew Keh in The New York Times:
Craig Muder, a spokesman for the Hall of Fame, said the organization would not comment on Conlin or his future inclusion in the exhibit, which is designed to remain until a new Spink recipient is installed next summer. Muder noted, though, that recipients of the Spink award were not actual members of the Hall.
Hey, if it’s in the Times it must be true.
Prediction: Something is done with that exhibit before Memorial Day, when the tourists start showing up in Cooperstown again. Some things just won’t do.
Tim McCarver, national icon and treasure, was honored with the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence.
Bert Blyleven and Ron Santo, long deserving of Hall of Fame induction, are now in. Who should be next on the list of deserving candidates?
Ron Santo is in the Hall of Fame after all, as the Golden Era Committee inducted him on Monday.
Ron Santo, who has been among the top 10 third basemen in history since his retirement from the game in 1974, has been elected posthumously to baseball's Hall of Fame.
Early next month, 16 men will go into a room and try to get behind a Hall of Fame candidate or two. Which should they choose? And will they?
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