Barry Larkin joins Ron Santo in the Hall of Fame's 2012 class. (Getty)In his prime, the only real question about Barry Larkin was his durability. Would he be healthy enough, and would his career last long enough, in order for him to make the Hall of Fame?
On Monday, he got the call from Cooperstown.
On his Hall third ballot since retiring in 2004, Larkin achieved baseball immortality by getting 86.4 percent of the vote. He got 62.1 percent a year ago, with 75 percent necessary to win. Larkin, who played his entire 19-season career with the Cincinnati Reds, is the 22nd shortstop in Hall history.
In an interview on the MLB Network, Larkin said "it was almost an out-of-body experience" to learn he had been selected. But it was his physical body that had everyone questioning how long he would last. He managed to play in at least 150 games in a season only four times. Only seven times did he play in at least 140 games. But he was able to overcome periodic injuries. After all, here he is — a Hall of Famer.
Former Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins pitcher Jack Morris fell short with 66.7 percent of the vote (after getting 53.5 percent a year ago), but appears in decent shape to be elected next season. Former Houston Astros slugger Jeff Bagwell, who probably would have made the Hall already if not for a dubious association with steroids, saw his percentage jump from 41.7 percent to 56.
Former Montreal Expos great Tim Raines had his best showing to date, jumping from 37.5 percent to 48.7. Someday, probably, all of these players will reach Cooperstown. Alan Trammell's chances improved too, after he jumped from 24.3 percent to 36.8; perhaps Larkin's election will get more voters to focus on Trammell's also-worthy career as a shortstop. Here's a link with the full list of results, including those for Larry Walker, Edgar Martinez and Mark McGwire.
But this day belongs to Larkin, a Cincinnati kid who grew up to play with the hometown team, dominating on both sides of the ball and winning a World Series in 1990.
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