Earlier in the week, I filled out my Hall of Fame ballot here at The Ghost of Moonlight Graham. If I had a vote, I would put Bert Blyleven, Roberto Alomar, Edgar Martinez and Tim Raines in the 2011 class of the HOF.
One guy I left out was Cincinnati Reds’ shortstop Barry Larkin and I have been getting asked why since that post came out. So let me take this time to explain why.
Larkin is on the ballot for his second year and received 51.6 percent of the vote his first time around. Getting over 50 percent of the vote on his first try probably means that Larkin will get into the Hall within the next five-to-10 years.
I must be in the severe minority when it comes to Larkin, but I just never saw him as a HOF type player. Yes, Larkin had a .295/.371/.444 slash line with 198 HR’s, 441 doubles and 379 SB’s in his 19-year career. He also won the NL MVP award in 1995, won nine Silver Slugger awards and was always considered one of the top shortstops in the National League.
While this might be great, the first thing I think of when I think of Larkin is a solid SS, who was hurt all the time. The guy played 19 years in the Major Leagues and played in over 150 games just four times. Cal Ripken he was not.
I also don’t put much stock into the whole “best shortstops in the NL” argument. Saying you were better than the likes of Jay Bell, Jeff Blauser, Royce Clayton, Walt Weiss, Ozzie Smith (severe back end of his career) and Jose Offerman doesn’t impress me.
By the way, those were just some of the legendary shortstops that made All-Star Games in the 90′s.
When it comes to the HOF, here is my other issue with voting for Larkin. Was he even better than Alan Trammell?
Trammell has been on the ballot for nine years now and he has only received 22.4 percent of the vote. Why the love for Larkin and no love for Trammell? I can’t figure it out.
Trammell hit .285/.352/.415 with 185 HR’s, 412 doubles and 236 SB’s in his 20-year career. And while Trammell never won an MVP award like Larkin did, his 1987 season trumps any season Larkin had. Trammell hit .343/402/.551 with 28 HR’s and 21 SB’s. He finished second in the MVP voting to George Bell that season.
Like Larkin, Trammell was a player who spent a lot of days on the disabled list. In his 20-year career, Trammell played in over 150 games only three times.
Now, I am sure you are saying to yourself that everything I have written so far says that Larkin had a more productive career than Trammell. Before you make that call, take a look at this comparison courtesy of WARGraphs (Fangraphs’ new WAR comparison graphs).
So after looking that this graph, I don’t see how one guy can well be on his way to the HOF and one guy be a non-factor when it comes to the HOF. Trammell’s cumulative WAR by age was higher than Larkin’s throughout both of their careers. That’s a big plus for Trammell in the Trammell vs. Larkin debate.
Maybe both players deserve to get in and maybe they don’t. But remember, if you are going to be one of those people who vote for Larkin, then you need to vote for Trammell as well.
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