Larkin's HOF chances?

I took a read around the Internets today as I wrote a preview story about the Hall of Fame ballot reveal on Wednesday as it pertains to Barry Larkin.

Several BBWAA members with Hall of Fame votes revealed their picks. Based on what I saw, Larkin could fall a little short of the required 75 percent.

In Larkin’s favor were writers like ESPN’s Jayson Stark, FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, Hal McCoy and another Hall of Fame writer, Tracy Ringolsby. So were Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman and Ken Davidoff of Newsday.

“Barry Larkin is one of the greatest shortstops who ever lived. Period,” Stark wrote. “Barry Larkin is a Hall of Famer. An easy Hall of Famer.”

“OK, so Larkin didn’t revolutionize the position the way Ripken and Ozzie Smith did, ” Rosenthal wrote. “And none of his achievements was as historic as Ripken’s consecutive-games streak. His 10 career trips to the disabled list also deprived him of greater counting stats. Shouldn’t matter. Larkin was a more complete player than Smith and perhaps even Ripken.”

From Scott Miller of CBSSports.com:

“In Larkin’s case, for example, his on-base percentage plus slugging percentage (OPS) was .815, as opposed to the NL shortstop league average during Larkin’s career of .678. The only two shortstops throughout the past 30 years whose OPS was that much higher than everyone else at his position was Alex Rodriguez and Nomar Garciaparra. I’m not sure enough people appreciate this aspect of Larkin, and I think he’ll probably fall short in this year’s voting.”

BaseballThinkFactory.com had a leaderboard based on 88 full ballots it saw. Not looking favorable for Larkin.

88.8 – Alomar
81.8 – Blyleven
80.7 – Dawson
58.0 – Larkin

Dave Van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune said no on Larkin and also no on Bert Blyleven, Edgar Martinez, Jack Morris, Tim Raines and Alan Trammell. Van Dyck picked Roberto Alomar, Andre Dawson and Lee Smith to get in.

T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com told me he did not check Larkin’s name on his ballot.

In his story for USA Today, Mike Dodd revealed his ballot and was not in Larkin’s corner. His main reasoning, however, seemed nearly laughable.

“I’m one of those voters who believes first-ballot election is a genuine distinction and a worthy one,” Dodd wrote. “And I think Larkin falls just short of it. I’ll vote for him next year. And yes, probably [Alan] Trammell, too.”

I know voters can change their minds over the years and players’ careers can take on a different perspective with more time — that’s their privilege. But holding out on someone you think is worthy just because he shouldn’t get in during his first time on the ballot? Really? 

Can someone explain to me how Larkin’s numbers will improve from year one on the ballot to year two and beyond? The notion of a “first ballot Hall of Famer” is a bit silly. He’s either a Hall of Famer or he isn’t.

The 2010 HOF ballot will be revealed at 2 p.m. ET. MLB.com and MLB Network will carry it live.

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http://twitter.com/m_sheldon

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