BY GREG KLEIN
The only thing that has changed for Barry Larkin is his contact list. “People said it would change my life,” former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Larkin said of his election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, during his Class of 2012 orientation tour Saturday.
“I don’t think it has changed my life, but it has changed who is calling me. I’ll get home and there will be a message from Richard (Goose) Gossage. Rod Carew called and I asked him, ‘Mr. Carew, what do I call you?’ He said, ‘Call me Rod,’ and I thought, ‘No way.’ Or my son says, ‘Dad, Hank Aaron just called you.’
“Joe Morgan was one of the first guys to talk to me, and he said, ‘I just want to welcome you to the greatest collection of athletes in the history of sports,’ “ Larkin continued. “And that’s what it is, isn’t it?”
Larkin toured the shrine for the first time with his wife, Lisa, as the couple shared the prelude to his July 22 induction with more than a dozen media members and hundreds of weekend visitors.
“This is amazing. This is a great privilege,” said Brooklyn resident Carl Hens, 70, who was in town to visit his son and dropped by the Hall. “Barry Larkin was one of my favorite players ever. We were just talking about him on our way here.”
Erik Strohl, the Hall’s senior curator of exhibitions and collections, gave the Larkins a tour that lasted more than two hours. Strohl pointed out artifacts, pulled memorabilia from Larkin’s Cincinnati Reds and narrated the history of the Negro leagues and the first professional team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings.
The trio lingered in the Babe Ruth section, discussed highlights of Larkin’s 19-year career with the Reds, and laughed at the limitations of early baseball equipment.
“Barry, what do you think about playing with a glove like that?” Strohl asked while pointing to Sal Maglie’s glove from his 1956 no-hitter, one that must have barely covered the pitcher’s hand.
“I think I’d have a problem with it.
And look at those shoes,” Larkin said of Pee Wee Reese’s cleats _ which looked like dress shoes _ from the same era. “I can’t imagine running with those.”
Strohl later turned to the bat Dave Concepcion used to hit a tworun homer en route to MVP honors in the 1982 All-Star Game. “I know he was one of your idols, right?” Larkin, 43, nodded.
They moved on to a display honoring the Red’s “Big Red Machine,” which won four pennants and two World Series titles in the 1970s. “Now these were the guys,” Larkin said. “It is great to see these guys get back together because they just start talking (trash) to each other. They all start in on Joe Morgan, because he came over from the Houston Astros.
They’re like, ‘We made you, man.’ “J.B. Now there’s the guy,” Larkin continued while looking at Johnny Bench’s bat from the 1975 World Series. “He was always stirring something up.”
The Baseball Writers’ Association of America voted Larkin into the Hall in his third year of eligibility. His career numbers include a .295 batting average, 12 All-Star Game appearances, three Gold Gloves at shortstop, 12 Silver Sluggers and the 1995 NL MVP Award. Larkin also reflected on the Reds’ 1990 World Series title, which Cincinnati won with a sweep of the Oakland A’s.
“I just remember the last out,” he said. “It was a foul ball down the first-base line and as Benzo (Todd Benzinger) caught it, I remember thinking, ‘We’re actually going to win this thing.’ Not we could win, or you know, we’re going to win, but we really won. Because before that, I had my doubts.”
The A’s were managed by Tony LaRussa, who led the St. Louis Cardinals to the World Series title last season, and featured Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley that season, along with heavy hitters Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco.
“We won a lot of games that season we shouldn’t have,” Larkin said. “So I don’t think we did anything different than what we knew we could do. We were young enough and naive enough to just be confident.”
Down in the archives of the Hall, a place most visitors will never see, Larkin and his wife donned snowwhite gloves and handled some of the artifacts. Strohl had set up a table of Reds’ history for them, including a signed ball from the 1990 World Series. “We have one of those,” Lisa Larkin said.
Another part of the display was Tom Browning’s cap from his 1990 perfect game _ in which Larkin scored the only run _ and the batting helmet Ken Griffey wore during his 400th home run.
“You see this right here?” he said, pointing to a large scuff mark on the front of the helmet. “You know what that mark is from? That’s from the at-bat before he hit the home run, when he popped up and he slammed it down in disgust.”
As Larkin laughed, Strohl said: “I’ll have to add that to the ledger.” “Well, I’m not sure if that’s really what it was,” Larkin said. “But if it were mine, that’s what it would be.”
The tour ended in the Plaque Gallery, with Strohl pointing out exactly where Larkin’s plaque will be in relation to the other legends of baseball. “I guess there are no bad spots in here,” Lisa Larkin said.
Strohl answered: “That’s right.”
2012 Hall of Famer tours Cooperstown shrine with wife
BY GREG KLEIN
- Local Sports
MCS softball clinches East title
Kaley Chase and Natasha Skillen hit two-run doubles during a seven-run fourth inning that carried visiting Milford to a 10-7 softball victory at Richfield Springs on Wednesday that clinched the Tri-Valley League East Division title for the Wildcats.Continued ...
MCS baseball clinches Tri-Valley East
Kevin Musser did a little bit of everything for the Milford baseball team last Thursday. Make that the Tri-Valley League East Division champion Milford baseball team, who won its first league title since 1997.Continued ...
Cooperstown softball wins first CSC title
The Cooperstown softball team has reached its goal, it will have a banner of its own to hang at Red Bursey Gymnasium.Continued ...
Harmon, Ratliff win titles at Yellowjacket Invitational
Oneonta High's boys held off Holland Patent and Sidney while the host school's girls cruised to victory Friday night in the Yellowjacket Invitational at OHS. The boys compiled 76 points -- four better than Holland Patent and six ahead of Sidney. Cooperstown finished tenth of 16 teams with 21 points. Milford finished eleventh with 11 points. OHS girls had 139 points to beat runner-up B-G/A by 70. Cooperstown finished fourth of 16 teams with 49 points. Milford finished sixth with 33 points.Continued ...
CCS tennis wins division title in CSC East, finishes season 9-1
Cooperstown's tennis team won a division title in the first week of May and finished the season 9-1 in division play. Cooperstown clinched the Center State Conference East Division with a 4-1 win at the Clark Sports Center on May 6 over Sauquoit Valley.Continued ...
Please Click Here
CV-S boys tie for track title at Kyle Hysack Invitational.Continued ...
- Please Click Here
- Thursday, May 9, 2013
Milford holds off Roxbury for tournament title
Roxbury threatened to give the Wildcats their first loss of the season Saturday and take the Milford Booster Club Tournament softball title, but Milford made strong defensive plays in each of the final three innings to preserve a 6-5 win.Continued ...
C'town girls beat Hamilton for second time
Hamilton tried to make sure Maggie Hall didn't beat them again in softball on Friday, but Hall still found a way. After being intentionally walked for the third time, Hall eluded Kendall Rusch's tag on Ellen Vibbard's bases loaded grounder down the third-base line to score the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning of Cooperstown's 5-2 home win.Continued ...
Oneonta sweeps Don Howard Invitational
Oneonta High's boys and girls cruised to victories in the Don Howard Invitational on Saturday at Cooperstown.Continued ...
CCS names six athletes, two teams to HOF
Six individuals and two teams will be inducted into the Cooperstown Central School's Athletic Hall of Fame on Sept. 28.Continued ...
Cooperstown tennis continues to win. Hannah Saggese has big day on the track for Milford. Dustin Collins wins three events for CV-S. Cooperstown baseball returns to Doubleday Field with a win over Sidney.Continued ...
Hall of Fame releases results from survey
Ninety-seven percent of the American public believes that negative health effects exist from using steroids, yet only 19 percent believe that steroid use is a big problem among high school students, according to a national study announced in New York City last week.Continued ...
Scouts honored with opening of museum's Diamond Mines exhibit
Hall of Fame executive Branch Rickey once described the role of a scout as having the ability to â€œassay the gold content in a handful of ore.â€� Today, the long and storied history of those same miners, always on the lookout for the next diamond in the rough, is told at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.Continued ...
- Thursday, May 2, 2013
Edmonds wins Big South track title in 5k for Liberty
Two weeks after breaking the 14-minute barrier at the Stanford Invitational, Edmonds won a Big South Conference title and finished second in another event. He won the 5k on April 20 with a time of 14:26.14, more than two seconds ahead of teammate Josh MacDonald. On April 18, he finished second in the 10k.Continued ...
Cring has perfect game
Four days after throwing a no-hitter against Westmoreland, Cooperstown senior Nicole Cring pitched a perfect game against Morrisville-Eaton.Continued ...
- Sports Briefs
Henderson steals roster spot for Classic
Rickey Henderson will be up and running in Cooperstown on May 25.Continued ...
Freshman coming up big for CCS baseball
Freshman pitcher Ray Cabrera struck out six batters over four innings, getting a win in relief during Cooperstown's 12-4 home win over Morrisville-Eaton on Friday.Continued ...
Wildcats remain unbeaten
Addy Lawson doubled and scored, and Kaley Chase homered during a four-run ninth inning that lifted unbeaten Milford to a 7-3 Tri-Valley League softball victory at Schenevus on Tuesday.Continued ...
- MCS softball clinches East title