Lots of praise for Larkin

Here are a bevy of quotes, via the Reds, that praised the career of Barry Larkin:

Johnny Bench, inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989
“It certainly is a deserving honor for the Cincinnati native and Reds shortstop. Barry distinguished himself as a tremendous leader and a dominating player. Winning a World Series and an MVP plus Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards puts him among the elite players in Reds history. I’m very happy for his family and look forward to being with him in July on the stage in Cooperstown. Congratulations to a class act, on and off the field.”

Joe Morgan, inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990
“Barry Larkin’s election to the Baseball Hall Of Fame comes at a time when statistics are as important as the eye test, and Barry passes both tests. When you watched him play you knew he was a special player.”

Tony Perez, Larkin’s teammate in 1986, inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000
“I’m very happy Barry got in. Now he’s with us, another guy in the family. I’ve seen him play and do great things for the Cincinnati Reds organization and the team. He was a great player, very deserving to belong in the Hall of Fame.”
Cal Ripken, inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007
“For 19 years Barry represented the Cincinnati Reds and the game of baseball so well both on and off the field. When I think of Barry I think of a steady, smart and terrific all-around player both at shortstop and at the plate. I wish we had played in the same league, but we were in 11 All-Star Games together and I always enjoyed being around him and talking baseball.”

Marty Brennaman, recipient of the Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award for broadcast excellence in 2000
“Barry was a great all-around talent. Maybe he was overlooked by some people, as ridiculous as that might sound now, because he never patted himself on the back. He just went out and beat the other team every way he could, with speed, defense, at the plate with surprising power and quiet leadership. Barry Larkin is a Hall of Famer.”

Walt Jocketty, Reds President of Baseball Operations and General Manager
“The entire Reds family couldn’t be more proud of Barry. Every night, he could beat an opponent with his bat, his speed, his arm, his defense or his intelligence. He truly was one of the great all-around players of his era.”

Dusty Baker, Reds manager
“Barry not only was one of the most talented and gifted players, but he was one of the most intelligent on and off the field. He had great speed but had the ability to slow down the game, so he made very few mistakes. He is one of the few players who maximized the ability he was born with. Barry could do it all. He is the six-tool player all the scouts are looking for now, one with all the baseball skills plus intellect.”

Lou Piniella, manager of the Reds’ 1990 World Series championship team
“I congratulate Barry on a truly remarkable career. He was very professional, very dedicated, very committed to winning and a great leader. An outstanding individual both on and off the field, Barry remains one of my favorite players I ever managed.”

Bobby Cox, former Major League manager
“To me, Barry Larkin was a ‘dream’ player. He was an outstanding leader who had great physical skills. When you look at his all-around talent and ability in the field, at the plate and on the bases, he might very well have been one of the top two or three shortstops of all-time. He really has all the credentials you think of when you talk about Hall of Fame players. If there had been a draft each year for clubs to build their team from scratch, Barry would have been the first or second pick each year over the course of his career. He was just so well rounded and had all the skills.”

Eric Davis, Larkin’s teammate from 1986-1991 and 1996, elected to Reds Hall of Fame in 2005
“Barry was the most complete shortstop in the National League during his era. He could do everything. His knowledge of the game was second to none, he took pride in being an all-around player, and he did whatever it took to win a game. Barry was the most unselfish star player I ever played with. We would not have won the 1990 World Series without him. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.”

Tom Browning, Larkin’s teammate from 1986-1994, elected to Reds Hall of Fame in 2006
“Barry was the one guy you could rely on getting the job done. Offensively, he could hit first, second or third as well as anybody in the game. Defensively, he was the best during his time but often was overshadowed by Ozzie Smith. As good as he was as a player, he was a better teammate.”

Chris Sabo, Larkin’s teammate from 1988-1993 and 1996, elected to the Reds Hall of Fame in 2010
“Barry was the best baseball player overall I ever played with, no question. He had all five tools and used them all at an All-Star level. When I played with Barry, he was the best shortstop in the National League, bar none. In my opinion, he was a no-brainer first ballot Hall of Fame player. Barry made my life easy because he covered so much ground in the hole at shortstop, and I could cheat toward the third base line. He made me, as a third baseman, look better defensively than I actually was.”

Sean Casey, Larkin’s teammate from 1998-2004, elected to Reds Hall of Fame in 2012
“Barry Larkin was, hands down, the greatest pure athlete I ever played with. He was also my mentor and a great friend. I can’t tell you how many times early in my career Lark would pull me aside and try to explain a situation to me to make me a better player. He was a class act all the way in everything he did. He’s a Hall of Fame shortstop, and I can say it because I saw it first hand for seven years. I’m so grateful I got a chance to play with and learn from one of the greatest shortstops ever. Lark taught me so many lessons about the game that I passed along to so many guys I played with. Along with his baseball skills, Lark was such a great leader in the clubhouse.”

Ken Griffey Jr., Larkin’s teammate from 2000-2004
“I honestly can say Barry was the smartest player I ever played with. I am happy not only for him but for the guys who played with him, he made his teammates better. He had a combination of speed and power that changed the way teams started drafting shortstops. As the first 30/30 shortstop, Barry paved the way for guys like Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra. I am  just as excited and happy for his family, because I’ve known the Larkins since 1982. He’s always been like an older brother to me.”

Aaron Boone, Larkin’s teammate from 1997-2003
“Getting to play next to Lark in the infield for so long was one of the highlights of my career. He took me under his wing the day I got to the big leagues, and we share a special friendship to this day. The Hall of Fame is a better place today with the addition of Barry Larkin.”

Paul O’Neill, Larkin’s teammate from 1986-1992
“Looking back on my career in both Cincinnati and with the Yankees, I knew I was on the field every day with two shortstops who would be Hall of Fame players, Barry Larkin and Derek Jeter. Obviously, I felt very fortunate to play with such great players, who are also outstanding people. I’m thrilled about this honor for Lark.”

Brandon Phillips, Reds All-Star second baseman
“Barry was my idol, and if it weren’t for him I wouldn’t be pursuing my dream and playing baseball right now. Congratulations to him, the Reds and his hometown of Cincinnati. Getting elected to the Hall of Fame is a tremendous honor.”

Craig Biggio, played against Larkin for the Astros from 1988-2004
“Barry was a complete player. I had the chance to compete against him a lot since we were in the same division, and he could beat you in many different ways. He could beat you with his bat, on the basepaths and with his glove. He was an excellent shortstop, and he was a smart, intelligent player, which is very important. Barry was a big reason that they had success over there.”

John Smoltz, pitched against Larkin for the Braves from 1988-2004
“Barry was one of the most disciplined and complete players I ever played against. There wasn’t anything he could not do on the field.”

Tom Glavine, pitched against Larkin for the Braves and Mets from 1987-2004
““Barry was such a great competitor. He really changed the shortstop position in our generation because he was an all-around player. He was really a true five-tool player, with everything he could do to beat you.”

Gene Bennett, Reds scout who recommended and signed Larkin in 1985
“Barry was a great player with great character who represented the Reds on and off the field with style, presence and a lifelong commitment to a team that was his first love. My part-time scout, Harry Steinride, and I watched Barry play a lot. We drafted him after his senior year at Moeller High School, but he and his family made the decision that he would attend the University of Michigan. We continued to follow him closely, got to know his parents very well and signed him after he became eligible again. I have always had the greatest respect for Barry and his family. I told his mother that ‘she was my best scout.’ Barry not only was a great player, he is a great individual. Now he’s going to the Hall of Fame, where he has always belonged.”

Jack Lind, Larkin’s first professional manager, at Class AA Vermont in 1985
“Barry Larkin is one of the finest young men I was privileged to manage in minor league baseball. He came to AA in Vermont mid-1985 and made that adjustment to pro ball from major college baseball. The following season in AAA, he showed more improvement in one season than many thought possible, garnering American Association Rookie of the Year and MVP awards. Both were well deserved. Then he was promoted to the Reds, never to look back. My well wishes and congratulations to Barry on his HOF career.”

Mike Cameron, Larkin’s coach at Moeller High School in Cincinnati
“Barry had physical skills far superior to the average high school athlete not only in baseball, but football as well. He would make plays in the field that left you shaking your head and saying, ‘How did he do that?’ He was an exceptional player, and I knew he would end up playing in the Major Leagues.”

4 Comments

Thank you for sharing this. It is great to see what other greats say about Barry Larkin

Mark,this is a good item about Barry and he is very deserving of this honor. If you will ,look into why Dave Concepcion is not even getting a sniff. His #s are as good or in some cases better than Ozzie Smith,but he gets no love at all. Why?

Reading these quotes honestly gave me some chills. What a great way to cap a great career of a well respected human being, let alone a great baseball player/

Pingback: Reds Blogosphere reacts to Barry Larkin in Hall of Fame « Reds Country

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