Former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame after a 19-year career that included the 1995 National League Most Valuable Player award.
A 12-time All-Star, Larkin received 86 percent of the 573 ballots submitted by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. He was inducted today into the Cooperstown, New York-based Hall of Fame along with Ron Santo, the late Chicago Cubs third baseman who was elected with 15 votes from the 16 members of the Golden Era Committee late last year.
Larkin thanked his parents and former teammates including Pete Rose, Eric Davies, Dave Parker, Buddy Bell and Dave Concepcion in his speech.
“My inclusion in the Hall of Fame is the ultimate validation,” Larkin said. “I want to thank you all for helping me along the way.”
Larkin, who was on the ballot for the third year, garnered 62 percent of votes in 2011, a year after receiving 52 percent. Nominees need at least 75 percent approval for induction and this is the fourth time in seven years that only one player was voted into the hall by the writers’ association.
In a career spent entirely with the Reds, Larkin had 2,340 hits, 198 home runs and stole 379 bases to go with a .295 batting average. In 1990, he batted .353 to help the Reds win the World Series. Larkin, 48, joins former catcher Johnny Bench as the only two players who spent their entire careers with the Reds to be elected.
“I am so looking forward to being part of that elite team, reaching baseball immortality,” Larkin said in January after he was elected. “I am so phenomenally proud.”
Santo, a nine-time All-Star who battled diabetes throughout his career, died in December 2010 at the age of 70. He had 342 home runs and won five Gold Gloves for his defense while playing for the Chicago Cubs and White Sox from 1960 through 1974.
“This is not a sad day,” Vicki Santo said in her acceptance speech on behalf of her late husband. “This is a very happy day. It’s an incredible day for an incredible man, a man who lived an extraordinary life to its fullest.”
Former New York Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams, who was on the ballot for the first time, received 10 percent of the vote, while 20-year veteran Ruben Sierra drew no votes and was removed from the list.
Jack Morris received 67 percent, while Jeff Bagwell (56 percent), Lee Smith (51 percent), Tim Raines (49 percent), Edgar Martinez (37 percent), Alan Trammell (37 percent), Fred McGriff (24 percent), Larry Walker (23 percent) and Mark McGwire (20 percent) also came up short.
Next year’s class of new candidates will include Barry Bonds, the major league career home run leader and seven-time NL MVP, and Roger Clemens, a 300-game winner and record seven-time recipient of his league’ of his league’s Cy Young Award as the best pitcher.
Bonds was convicted of obstructing a federal investigation into steroid use in baseball and Clemens last month was found not guilty of lying to Congress about his use of performance-enhancing drugs.