This weekend, the Baseball Hall of Fame will open its doors to former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin.
Larkin’s story is an amazing one. Like Pete Rose, Larkin played his high school baseball in Cincinnati. Rose played at Western Hills. Larkin played at Moeller.
He then had a great collegiate career at Michigan and the Wolverines retired his number.
Larkin played for the Reds from 1986-2004 and helped lead the team an upset win over Oakland in the 1990 World Series. He made the all-star game 12 times and was the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1995.
For many baseball fans in our state, Larkin was a reminder of the era when multiple Hall of Fame caliber players played for the Reds. He was a reminder of the glory days of the 70’s when names such as Rose, Bench, Morgan and Concepcion played for the Big Red Machine. That team also had a Hall of Fame manager in Sparky Anderson.
Since that time, Cincinnati Reds fans have been hungry for a Hall of Fame caliber player. They thought Eric Davis would be that guy, but he was derailed by injury issues. The same thing happened to Ken Griffey, Jr. who had his best years in Seattle.
Larkin was a superstar that Reds fans could hang their hat on. He was someone to be proud of. He had a long, consistent career. He was a hometown guy, a perennial all star, a World Champion and now a Hall of Famer. You can’t do more than that.
As a result, Reds fans are flocking to Cooperstown this weekend. They no longer take that trip for granted.