The Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) has announced that Cincinnati Reds icon Barry Larkin has been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on the 2012 ballot. I can remember watching him play and have always thought he was one of the best shortstops to play the game in modern times. I also always thought he was a class act, a quiet guy who went out there and did his job, game after game. I like how Larkin was born and raised in Cincinnati, then made it to the big leagues and played for his home-town team for his entire career. In these days of free agency and players being traded and bought and sold, it’s nice to see some loyalty.
The Hall of Fame voting is done by members of the BBWAA, who are professional, working sports writers from different cities around the country. To be eligible to vote, a member must have ten or more years on the job as a writer. The writers vote for their selection and then the ballots are tabulated by the accounting firm of Ernst & Young, just like the Academy Awards ballots.
The list of candidates is made up by a screening committee of the BBWAA who go through the eligible players to create the ballot. Previously eligible players who get 5% of the votes are automatically included. To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, players must have played for at least ten years in a period beginning 20 years before and ending five years before election.
To win induction, a player needs to appear on 75% of the ballots cast. In 2012, a total of 573 ballots were cast, meaning the winner had to get 430 votes to win. Interestingly, nine blank ballots were also handed in, which did count in the voting. Players can remain on the ballot for 15 years as long as they get at least 5% of the votes each year. Larkin had the most votes with 86.4% or 495 votes. This was a 24.3% jump over 2011. Larkin won election after his third year appearing on the ballot.
Playing for the Reds from 1986-2004, Larkin was a 12-time All-Star award winner, a nine-time Silver Slugger and a three-time Gold Glove winning infielder. He batted .295 with 960 RBIs and was the first shortstop to join the 30-30 club, in 1996.
The late Ron Santo will also be inducted after his election by the BBWAA’s Golden Era Committee. The committee was formed to recognize past players who had dropped out of eligibility. Tim McCarver, former catcher and current broadcaster, who was an important part of my Philadelphia Phillies experience as a kid, will received the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting. The players will all be honored at the induction ceremony, July 22 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
Freddy Sherman grew up in Philadelphia, which didn’t make being a Los Angeles Dodgers fan easy. He has lived in Los Angeles for twenty years, now able to follow the Dodgers openly and attends games frequently. You can follow him on Twitter –@thefredsherman.
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