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Career-Long Reds Shortstop Barry Larkin Elected To Cooperstown

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin knocks down a base hit by Pittsburgh Pirates' Jack Wilson in 2004.
Al Behrman
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin knocks down a base hit by Pittsburgh Pirates' Jack Wilson in 2004.

Barry Larkin, who spent his entire career as a Cincinnati Reds shortstop, has been elected into the baseball Hall of Fame. He became the 48th hall of famer to play his entire career with one club.

Larkin received the vote of 86 percent of the Baseball Writers' Association of America in his third year on the ballott. A player needs 75 percent of the vote to be inducted.

The Hall reports:

"A Cincinnati native, Larkin played 19 seasons for the Reds and batted .295 with 2,340 hits, including 441 doubles, 76 triples and 198 home runs. He drove in 960 runs, scored 1,329, stole 379 bases and had more walks (939) than strikeouts (817). Larkin became the first shortstop to join the 30-30 club when he had 33 home runs and 36 steals in 1996."

Inan interview with MLB Network, Larkin said the induction still didn't feel real.

"I felt like it was almost an out of body experience," he said about getting the call.

Larkin isn't necessarily the kind of player you'd expect to get into Cooperstown. In the interview, he said he considered it an honor just to be on the ballott because he was a "complementary player."

But as Yahoo! Sports points out, Roberto Alomar, a great defensive second baseman, got in last year and that gave Larkin hope.

"As it should have been," adds Yahoo!. "Larkin finished his career with a .295/.371/.444 line, good for a 116 adjusted OPS — premium offensive numbers for a shortstop. And he managed 2,340 hits to go with 939 walks. Getting on base that much, with power for his position, along with 17,000 innings of good (if not always great) defense at shortstop equals a Hall of Famer."

Larkin's election also points out the the cloud hanging over major league baseball. Both Jeff Bagwell and Mark McGwire, superstars who have been dogged by questions over their use of performance enhancing drugs, failed to get into the hall. Bagwell received 56 percent of the vote, while McGwire received 19.5 percent.

Larkin will be inducted into the hall July 22 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.