Larkin a deserving Hall of Famer
When you look at some players numbers they just scream Hall of Fame.
You see the 500 home runs, 3,000 hits or 300 wins and you just know the player is destined for Cooperstown.
With Barry Larkin things weren't so clear.
There were 2,340 hits and a .295 career average with 198 home runs.
However, numbers don't always tell the whole story.
Over the past 20 years guys like Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Tejada, Nomar Garciappara, Derek Jeter and Cal Ripken Jr. before them made it normal for the shortstops to put up big offensive numbers.
However, when Larkin broke into the big leagues in 1986 things were different. Shortstops weren't the offensive threats they are now.
While current players like Miami's Hanley Ramirez seem capable of 40 home run, 40 stolen base seasons nearly every year, when Larkin hit 33 home runs and stole 36 bases in 1996, he became the first shortstop to ever make the 30-30 club.
When you start to compare Larkin to his contemporary's you can see why he was inducted to the Hall of Fame on Sunday.
He was a 12-time all-star, he led the Cincinnati Reds to the 1990 World Series title and he was a three-time gold glove winner. He also was a nine-time Silver Slugger award winner as the best hitter at his position, showing how he stacked up with shortstops of the era.
"Seeing him up there was great," former teammate Dave Parker said. "He always has been a first class guy, the way he handled himself."
What makes this story so much more special than many other players to go into the Hall of Fame was that Larkin was born and raised in Cincinnati and then went on to play his entire career for the Reds.
It's part of the reason that there was a sea of red filling Cooperstown on Sunday.
"It's a really interesting situation and relationship I have with the fans of Cincinnati," Larkin said during his post induction press conference. "Because I was born in Cincinnati and played there, it's always been a very unique relationship with me and the fans of Cincinnati."
Larkin finished his career in 2004, in this era where players often switch teams a half dozen times or more in their career.
It's an era where players are often out for themselves and to try and make money.
However, despite the fact that he's a Hall of Famer now, Larkin still feels like he was just another cog of those Reds teams.
"I still feel like my place in the game was that of a complimentary player," Larkin said. "I feel like my results were different based on what was expected of me."
He was the type of player that was willing to do whatever it took to win. And, the way he handled the game, brought him a number of fans, even the celebrities turned out for his induction.
"It's about time," actor Charlie Sheen said of his induction. "No one deserves this more than him."
The first sentence of the inscription on his Hall of Fame Plaque summed up what Larkin was.
"Smooth-fielding, steady-hitting shortstop whose dynamic defense and all-around play sparked his hometown Reds."
While Larkin may not have put up typical Hall of Fame numbers, his play was exactly what you would expect from a Hall of Fame player.