Thurm: Barry Larkin, great shortstop, great player

From SABR member Wendy Thurm at FanGraphs on July 20, 2012:

On Sunday, Barry Larkin will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Larkin was the star shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds from 1986 through 2004. It is said that he revolutionized the shortstop position, particularly in the National League, by combining steady hitting, power, speed and excellent defense. Among players who played shortstop their entire careers, Larkin compiled 2,340 hits, ranking him fourth; he hit 198 home runs, ranking him second behind Derek Jeter; and he stole 379 bases, ranking his sixth.

He was a twelve-time All-Star, and won nine Silver Slugger Awards and three Gold Glove Awards. In 1995, he was voted as the National League’s Most Valuable Player.


I watched him play. Many of you likely watched him play. He had tremendous range and a strong arm.  He made the routine plays and the not-so-routine ones. And he made those plays, on the brutally hot and unforgiving artificial turf in use in Riverfront Stadium and other ballparks in the 1980s and 90s. He made some plays that defied imagination, until you remembered that Larkin entered the University of Michigan as a two-sport star: a shortstop and a defensive back.  And he made those spectacular plays into his late 30s.

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Originally published: July 20, 2012. Last Updated: July 20, 2012.