Braves praise new Hall-of-Famer Larkin

The Braves are still two years away from beginning their big push to Cooperstown, but two of those likely bound for that 2014 Hall-of-Fame Class – former Braves manager Bobby Cox and pitcher Tom Glavine – gave rave reviews for the newest member of Baseball’s Hall of Fame: Barry Larkin.

The former Reds shortstop appeared on 86 percent of the ballots, well above the 75 percent required by the Baseball Writers Association, earning entrance in his third year eligible. The announcement was made Monday.

Larkin will be inducted July 22 along with the late Cubs third baseman Ron Santo, who was voted in by the “Golden Age” Committee, Frick Award winner broadcaster Tim McCarver and Spink award winner Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun.

“To me, Barry Larkin was a dream player,’” Cox said in a collection of statements released by the Reds Monday afternoon. “He was an outstanding leader who had great physical skills. When you look at his all-around talent and ability in the field, at the plate and on the bases, he might very well have been one of the top two or three shortstops of all-time. He really has all the credentials you think of when you talk about Hall of Fame players.

“If there had been a draft each year for clubs to build their team from scratch, Barry would have been the first or second pick each year over the course of his career,” Cox continued. “He was just so well-rounded and had all the skills.”

John Smoltz, who played against Larkin from 1988-2004 as a Brave, called him one of the most complete players he ever competed against. Glavine said Larkin was a pioneer at the position.

“He really changed the shortstop position in our generation because he was an all-around player,” Glavine said. “He was really a true five-tool player, with everything he could do to beat you.”

Glavine, Cox, Greg Maddux and Braves executive John Schuerholz are all eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time in 2014. Both Glavine and Maddux, as 300-game winners, could be first-ballot entrants. Smoltz will be eligible for the first time in 2015.

Larkin, a 12-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glover, won the NL MVP in 1995. He hit .295 with 198 homers, 960 RBIs and 379 stolen bases while playing his entire career with his hometown Reds.

Larkin’s appearance on 495 of a possible 573 ballots represented a 24.3 percent jump from 2011, the largest increase in one year since 1948. That might give some confidence to former Brave Fred McGriff, who like Dale Murphy, garnered enough votes to stay on the ballot but not nearly enough for induction. McGriff appeared on 23.9 percent of the ballots, up from 17.9 a year ago, while Murphy appeared on only 14.5 percent.

“You feel bad for those guys,” Chipper Jones said Monday. “They were icons of your organization, teammates. It’s really shocking to me that Murphy hasn’t gotten in yet because there for quite a while in the ‘80s, he was the premier player….It was tooth and nail between him and (Mike) Schmidt for a long time for MVP and home run races.”

Murphy has only one year remaining on the writers’ ballot, then his fate will be up to the Veterans Committee, which is now subdivided into the Pre-Integration, Golden and Expansion Era Committees.

Four former Braves eligible for the first time did not receive enough votes to remain on the ballot – Javy Lopez, Brian Jordan, Vinny Castilla and Terry Mulholland.

Larkin made a point to credit Georgia Tech coach Danny Hall, who coached Larkin as an assistant at the University of Michigan, when he was asked to name some of the biggest influences on his career during Monday’s teleconference.

“I remember drawing an imaginary line down the middle of your body and catching the ball in the left side, the glove side of the imaginary line from Danny Hall,” said Larkin, who credited his Michigan coaches with helping him with the fundamentals as well as the mental side of the game.

34 comments Add your comment

JoshTown

January 9th, 2012
6:53 pm

Great praise for Larkin. Can’t wait for the braves to start representing in ‘14.

BravesfaninWis

January 9th, 2012
7:08 pm

Yes he was a great player and person and deserves to be in the HOF.

Now how about the Braves stop praising a retired player and actually make some moves to improve their own team? Its pretty sad when everything either not related to the Braves (Larkin) or tragedy (Kathy Porter) make the most headlines for a team that failed so miserably at the end of the season. Whoever pays money to watch this team next season is a fool. They don’t care what we fans think, all they care about is getting our money.

Steve McP

January 9th, 2012
7:16 pm

“Both Glavine and Maddux, as 300-game winners, could be first-ballot entrants”

Anyone that does not vote for Maddux should lose their voting rights.

Dawgdad (The Original)

January 9th, 2012
8:08 pm

Larkin was a great guy and deserved this, just do not understand why Alan Trammell does not get more votes. His stats and Larkins are not that far apart.

Mike Dawg

January 9th, 2012
8:14 pm

Dale Murphy should be put in the FAME, just because in these days of player not signing autographs Murphy always had time for kids and fans . Once in chattanooga he signed my daughters autograph and then gave her a ball . this was in the minor leagues let him in and KEEP BARRY BONDS and ALL THE STERIODS USERS OUT .

STRETCH

January 9th, 2012
8:18 pm

ONCE AGAIN….NO NEWS FROM THE BRAVES FRONT OFFICE…WHAT A JOKE!

KB

January 9th, 2012
9:19 pm

The Braves organization needs to do a better job of campaigning for McGriff. It’s a crime, dog.

don

January 9th, 2012
9:25 pm

Larkin is a good choice. The voters showed respect for the history of the game by not making wholesale inductions. Morris, Bagwell,Raines McGriff, and others are lower borderline at very best. You don’t water down greatness with borderline performers. Maddux and Glavine are obvious first ballot choices in 2014. Three hundred game winners are automatics. The drug users should be kept out forever..

Largo

January 9th, 2012
11:34 pm

Good for Larkin, however, I’m also interested in the braves doing “something” about making the team better. The NL East gets better and the team that fell apart last year doesn’t make ANY moves. I know money is tight but if you have to move a front line (pitcher) prospect,. do it. You can’t drive in runs with a bunch of pitchers.

TennBravesFan

January 10th, 2012
1:50 am

Congrats to Larkin, but really is a shame Murphy gets no more credit than he does. For example, both players had roughly 7950 official AB’s in their career and Murphy had 300 more RBI’s and 200 more HR’s. Additionally, Murphy won 5 gold gloves to Larkin’s 3, and Murphy had 2 MVPs to Larkin’s 1, with Murphy finishing in the top 10 in MVP voting 4 times while Larkin did it twice. Finally, Murphy had 3733 total bases to Larkin’s 3527. I agree Larkin is a Hall of Famer, but how can a guy with Murphy’s resume only get 18% of the votes?

Orange Brave f/k/a Billy Jack's BBQ & Shrimp

January 10th, 2012
9:05 am

Congrats to Larkin, but the HOF is goofy. A guy like Bobby Doerr gets in due to the Northeastern press pushing for his entry several years ago and yet a guy like Murph doesn’t come close (yet).

The HOF has become “watered down” in my opinion. I have all the respect for any players in the big’s, but the HOF, IMHO, should be reserved for guys w/ 300 wins, 3,000 hits, 500 dingers, etc. They should have a special wing/room for phenomanal accomplishments (i.e. Maris hitting 60 HR’s) to take the pressure off having to induct players who do remarkable things, but don’t have long and productive careers.

I predict MLB addresses the performance enhancement issue. They should as it will markedly influence the voting the next several years.

Just my 2 cents worth. your mileage will vary.

Bob the Blogger

January 10th, 2012
9:33 am

TennBrave – that’s a good point, because they both played very demanding defensive positions. Look how the Braves have struggled to find a good CF the last few years.

I never thought of Murphy as a HOFer until I looked at his numbers as a center fielder. If Murphy had been a left fielder, first baseman, or DH, his numbers wouldn’t be as impressive, but how many center fielders hit 398 home runs and won 2 MVPs while playing exceptional defense?

mpimentel

January 10th, 2012
11:08 am

fred mcgriff really deserve it go into the HOF

LawDawg

January 10th, 2012
2:37 pm

Tim McCarver is a fu**ing hall of famer?!?! Seriously? That guy is the worst thing about baseball and makes the playoffs/WS unwatchable.

urban redneck

January 10th, 2012
3:39 pm

CRIME DAWG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ken Stallings

January 10th, 2012
5:01 pm

Once again, the voters show how ridiculously stingy they are with their ballots! With all the deserving candidates on the ballot, for just one to earn election is pathetic! No one can argue with Larkin’s selection (OK, may that one fellow here who thinks Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson are undeserving, or marginal inductees!).

Fred McGriff deserves to be in, and should be a lot higher in his vote tally. And another thing, it is time to end this nonsense that so many voters have that they won’t vote for a player one year, but turn around and vote for him the next. That’s the foolishness that left one of the best second basemen in baseball history, Roberto Alomar, out of the hall his first year! Aside from Joe Morgan, Alomar is considered the best second baseman in the history of the sport!

Orange Brave f/k/a Billy Jack's BBQ & Shrimp

January 10th, 2012
5:38 pm

Agreed Ken Stallings, re-read my post. They are goofy and just plain weird. Almost like the beauty queen who refused to attend the prom.

I don’t know, but the Crime Dawg should be a shoo in.

chris

January 10th, 2012
8:13 pm

McGriff and Murph deserve it too but kudos to Barry L…class act, and a great player..he handled his retirement well too and well deserved.. but CRIME DAWG deserves to be there too! As well as Murph

BoatDoc

January 11th, 2012
8:50 am

DOB: Any professional explanation for why the Crime Dog received almost double the votes of Murphy? Congratulations to Larkin and Santo’s family – too bad the Hall couldn’t see fit to induct Ron Santo before his too-soon passing.

Coach (2012 Fredi's beisbol fandango)

January 11th, 2012
9:13 am

It was an absolute privilege to watch Barry Larkins career. Best of luck to whatever Barry does, now and in the future.

don

January 11th, 2012
9:36 am

Larkin probably deserved election. None of the others had resumes warranting election. We don’t need social promotion in thye H of F.

Ken Stallings

January 11th, 2012
11:20 am

Don,

With respect, your views of the Baseball Hall of Fame are extreme. Jeff Bagwell, Jack Morris, Fred McGriff, Larry Walker, and Lee Smith were all on the ballot! Perhaps you are a voter — it certainly seems your absurdly high standards for induction echo the views of the current voters.

In my view, the new baseball commissioner should do something truly radical — he should fire the media from their privilege of voting for the Hall of Fame! In my view, the writers have abused it.

mpimentel

January 11th, 2012
1:46 pm

I know they played different positions, but who was better gary carter or fred mcgriff?…c’mon fred was a real bating menance for more than a decade…only because he felt short of the overrated 500 hrs. don’t deserve it…and by the way the mvp in 1995 should have been dante bichette from colorado and not mr.larkin…I have my issues with murph’s case but I saw the crime dog hiting into the gaps so so so many times man, really…

Choppinmama

January 11th, 2012
7:45 pm

Tim McCarver is in due to all the sportscasters’ alliances, which translates into the “I’ll vote for you now, you vote for me later” agreements.

Except for you, DOB. When you used to vote, I’m sure it was all merit-based. No tit-for-tat votes for our Blogmeister. ;)

Choppinmama

January 11th, 2012
7:47 pm

Did you ever wonder about the phrase “tit-for-tat”? Did some feminine writer coin that phrase one day when her bosom got tangled up in her lace-making?

Phrases that make you go “hmmmmmm”

Ronald Millsaps

January 11th, 2012
10:58 pm

How does Murphy not get in the first time around? He was probably the best player in the eighties, was extremely versatile, won two MVPs, played an outstanding center field, and was a great role model. His career average wasn’t great, but most of the lack of voting has to do with the team’s record during his career. I’d like to remind these people, if they ever learned it, that one player alone cannot give a team a great record.

How did Dominique and Isiah not make the Hall of Fame their first outings? How many Russian judges are out there?

Ronald Millsaps

January 11th, 2012
11:19 pm

“mike dawg”— You sound like that lady who wrote that article ignorantly complaining about players not signing for her son on his birthday.

If you were in a debate class and used that statement as your main supporting argument— which you just did— people would look at you as if you’re crazy, unless the room were filled with people like the aforementioned lady.

Fans just don’t get it. Autographs are not tied directly to the game; they’re peripheral at most. One lady wanted Eddie Perez’s autograph, saw he was busy, and selfishly barked, “MISTER PE-REZZZZZZZ—–ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ” over and over. He finally came and signed, probably just to shut her up.

One Cardinals fan talked about being in Oakland and not getting an autograph by Griffey. He ignorantly said he and others booed “The Kid” each time he came up to bat, as if the legendary outfielder were an antagonist and as if the booing really were effective in such an instance. The fan also had an extreme punk of a son but somehow thought players should drop everything for him. Honestly, 99.9% of fans don’t deserve autographs.

This type of commentary is like that of a certain former Shakespeare professor, a self-appointed baseball genius, who actually argues Murphy’s 398, not 400, homers against him. Said professor also said steroids were perfectly fine for players to use as long as they were willing to accept the consequences. WHAT????? I do believe he overlooks the fact that steroids subtract from an even playing field.

Said professor also had quite the prejudice against Christianity and tried to tell me I was wrong for promoting the former and not the humanistic nonsense of a Mother Teresa. This argument surfaced when I called him to task on his prejudiced venom against Tim Tebow. Anyway, I love refuting liars and propaganda-spewers.

Unfortunately, many other “educators” and, for that matter, HOF voters, are just like him.

Captain Obvious

January 12th, 2012
1:30 pm

I’ve never understood the argument that because a player plays a certain position, then we only compare him to other players that play that position. That would make sense if we were putting a team together to go play a game, but we’re not. Barry Larkin is not one of the greatest players of all time. Neither is Jim Bunning, Bruce Sutter, Goose Gossage, Gary Carter, Kirby Puckett, et al.

Think about Little League. Where does everyone put their worst player? Right Field? So, following the current logic for Hall of Fame voting, then you’d be taking the worst player on everyone’s team (everyone’s Right Fielder) and then saying, “Hmm, who is the best worst player in the league?” Ok, let’s put that guy in the Hall of Fame. “But, he’s not that good” Yeah, but he was a Right Fielder. One of the best Right Fielders of all time. Blah.

At no point would I rather have Barry Larkin or any of these other guys above on my team than Murphy.

Not once during any of their careers did I imagine they would be in the Hall and Murphy would be excluded.

don

January 12th, 2012
1:30 pm

Ken, if you fire the media, who votes? Iunderstand your position. However, I believe that you will agree that the Hall has a material number of less than outstanding members and that guys like Dawson, Rice, Carter, etc. (Morris, Raines, McGriff, etc.) only dilute its greatness

Therefore, as a compromise, how about dividing the inductees into the Gold Group (Ruth, Wagner, Cobb, Johnson, Mathewson, Alexander, Gehrig, Hornsby, Foxx, Mantle, Mays, Spahn, Aaron, Speaker, Williams, Musial, Terry, F. Robinson, Grove, Bench, DiMaggio, etc.), the Silver Group (Brock, Carew, Traynor, Brown, Schalk, Dickey, Hubbell, Medwick, etc.,) and the Bronze Group (Kell, Averill, Lombardi, Fingers, Hunter, Tinker, Evers, Chance, Doerr, Lindstrom, Herman, Hafey, Perez, Cepeda, Rizzuto, Gordon, etc.).

By the way, Maddux would have to go in with the Gold Group, Glavine and Smoltz with the Silver Group).

Ronald Millsaps

January 12th, 2012
2:48 pm

“captain”– Excellent 1:30 post. Truth is absolute, not relative–to a position or anything else.

Larkin’s being a commentator helps his chances of attaining votes; the name is fresh in the minds of voters.

Gary Carter was excellent, though. He’s a pompous jerk but was pretty blamed good.

Ken Stallings

January 12th, 2012
8:48 pm

Don,

Gold — the real precious metal — is not as exclusive as the Baseball Hall of Fame! So, no, I don’t agree with your tiered argument either.

The truth that we fundamentally disagree on, and yet I think objective facts stand firmly in support of my view of it, is that the Baseball Hall of Fame is by far the most stingy and elite hall of fame in major professional sports.

The problem is that this has skewed the view of what kind of career earns induction.

Of all the worthy candidates on this year’s ballot, for only one to be selected is simply inexcusable.

Captain Obvious

January 13th, 2012
12:14 pm

I’d like to see the BBWAA raise the “minimum” voting percentage each year. 5% is ridiculous. There is no reason for someone to “hang on” to the ballot for 15 years if they are never getting in. I love Murphy and can argue all day long that he should get in, but the fact is that he is not going to make it. So drop him (and anyone else under 20%) off the ballot and send him to the Veterans Committee for a final decision and then be done with it.

It’s not right to string someone along for the rest of their life and dangle the Hall in front of them each January as a possibility when it’s just not going to happen. Has anyone ever eventually been elected by the BBWAA at 75% after initially gaining less than 20% of the vote?

Captain Obvious

January 13th, 2012
12:40 pm

After some quick research, it didn’t take long to discover that Mr. Blyleven was below 20% through 2000 election results, then started gaining some traction.

I guess, if anything, that just goes to show how completely subjective Hall of Fame voters are. Just think, 12-13 years ago, there were more people who thought Murphy was a Hall of Famer than there were who voted for Blyleven. Then, Blyleven completely shot up in the fickle minds of voters.

That defies all logic.

don

January 15th, 2012
4:24 pm

I believe the Hall should be exclusive rather than inclusive. Too many of the standards that have made our country, and the game of baseball, great are being watered down. Both the country and baseball have suffered and lost status and respect because of it. Standards need to be maintained rather than lowered. Electing mediocrity to the Hall lessens the institution. Nearly all of those on the ballot this past year were, in regard to greatness, mediocre at best.

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