Barry Larkin Is Your Lone 2012 Hall of Fame Inductee
Again, the debate rages on about who should be in the MLB Hall of Fame.
If I had a chance to cast a ballot, only two players would receive my vote: Rafael Palmeiro and Barry Larkin.
I have seen multiple posts and articles with writers saying they would vote for Barry Larkin, Alan Trammel and Jack Morris.
It seems as though nowadays we are so enamored with numbers—WAR, eqA, ERA+—that the focus is lost on what the Hall of Fame is.
The numbers are important, but a decision can be made without creating a diagram.
The Hall of Fame is for the best baseball players in history. If there is any debate about whether the player is good enough, he shouldn’t be inducted.
In most cases you don’t need to see the numbers to figure out the caliber and worthiness of a player. Most baseball minds are aware of this.
Around this time of year, it’s almost as if we throw names out there for the sake of argument, simply to see what reaction we can get.
A lot of baseball is about feel, and in this case Barry Larkin feels like a Hall of Famer. So does Rafael Palmeiro.
I say this because Larkin was, aside from Ozzie Smith, the best shortstop in the National League during his time, while Alan Trammell—whose numbers are comparable—was not the best shortstop in the American League.
Common sense says Robin Yount, Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Fernandez were on par or better than Trammell.
If Trammell gets serious consideration, so does Fernandez.
It sounds as though I contradict myself, but it's simple: Larkin was the best in the National League for almost 20 years, with numbers that match up favorably with many inductees.
Trammell was at a disadvantage playing in the American League with players who were better, and it doesn’t help that Larkin’s numbers surpass Trammell's in many categories.
My vote for Palmeiro doesn’t go without knowing that I’ll take a lot of heat, but he played in an era that will forever be tainted. Players used enhancers, steroids, whatever else to gain an advantage over the competition.
Palmeiro cheated and was caught.
However, that era is full of players that were assumed to be cheating or were caught and are coming up for their shots at the Hall—Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, Roger Clemens and the Barry Bonds.
All of these players were the best of the best and will be in the Hall one day, regardless of what they did or didn’t do.
Jack Morris was the best pitcher of his decade, but when compared to his Hall counterparts, his numbers are not up to snuff. The question to ask is, was the 1980s short on pitching?
Larkin’s statistics are comparable to Luke Appling, Pee Wee Reese, Phil Rizzuto and better than those of the likes of Ozzie Smith.
Palmeiro will not get enough votes. (He's still taking his lumps.)
But Larkin will.
Trammell has been on the ballot for over 10 years, and nothing has changed. His numbers have not gotten any better.
Morris is pushing over a decade and has finally crept up to 50 percent.
We seem to make things more difficult than we should, when all it takes is hearing a name: It makes sense or it doesn’t.
Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective
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