Larkin was never my favorite player during my fandom. I always enjoyed the smaller guys who lacked the amazing talent and athletic ability that Larkin possessed. Yes, I enjoyed the Nick Esasky’s and Hal Morris’s more.
But I always knew Larkin was one of the best shortstops in the history of the game. And it was always a pleasure to watch him. I definitely took special notice of him anytime I caught a Reds game in person in his last few years. It was something special to see Larkin on the field with Ken Griffey Jr and know I was watching two future Hall of Famers.
And Larkin is a Hall of Famer. A no-doubt-about-it one for me. He was overlooked in the small-market of Cincinnati, but he was amazing, balancing excellent defense with excellent offense. He contributed mightily to the 1990 World Series win and the playoff appearance in 1995, when he won the National League MVP.
There’s been a lot written about Larkin, by many who knew him better and watched him play more than I did–I missed 1995, having given up on baseball after the horrendous strike–and it’s really cool to see the Reds get some positive attention.
I’ll raise a glass to Larkin for his induction into the Hall. And I’ll hope he can return to the Reds sometime in the future and pass on his knowledge.