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  1. “He hit 198 home runs, putting him behind only Derek Jeter for most home runs by a shortstop in his career.”

    I’m not following what’s meant here. Several guys have it more home runs at shortstop. A-rod, for example, hit over 300 with the Ms and Rangers where he played SS almost exclusively.

    Comment by DJG — July 20, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

  2. It means: among players who played shortstop their entire careers.

    Comment by Wendy Thurm — July 20, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

  3. And Ripken, Banks …

    Comment by Duh — July 20, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

  4. in that case, your word usage is very misleading.

    Comment by Sleight of Hand Pro — July 20, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

  5. I’ve changed the wording of the first para. to make my point clearer.

    Comment by Wendy Thurm — July 20, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

  6. You may also want to change Golden Gloves to Gold Gloves since he was not a boxer. Although I bet he could have been a good one with quick hands and legs alike.

    Comment by jj — July 20, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

  7. Oh, OK. Seems like a strange qualifier, to me — because somebody like Ripken played a few extra years at third, his “shortstop career” doesn’t count in a comparison with Larkin and Jeter? That doesn’t really make much sense.

    Anyway, just nitpicking… Good article overall.

    Comment by DJG — July 20, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

  8. Larkin played 2 games at 2nd in 1986, not sure he should be on the exclusive SS home run list.

    Comment by DMI — July 20, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

  9. It’s an odd, arbitrary qualification, “for their entire careers.”

    As far as which hitters have hit the most HR while officially playing at SS during that PA per retrosheet (1950-2011):

    A-Rod 347
    Ripken 345
    Tejada 291
    Banks 261
    Jeter 258
    Larkin 194

    Comment by JDanger — July 20, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

  10. It was interesting to read a Larkin piece that went beyond just the 30/30 1996 season. That’s for giving us a different perspective.

    Comment by Mac — July 20, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

  11. It’s pretty balls when all the comments make it look like an editor’s meeting. Poor Wendy…

    Comment by Mungo McGillicuddy — July 20, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

  12. One semi-random tidbit about him: Didn’t he get traded to the Mets in 2000 for Alex Escobar, but he rejected the trade? If the trade went through, things could have been pretty different.

    For one thing, maybe the Mets beat the Yankees in the Subway Series (I vaguely remember Mike Bordick making a few crucial miscues in the field that series, and being an automatic out every time he stepped up to the plate). Adding a 2000 World Series would make his resume even stronger.

    Also, if the Mets made that trade, they wouldn’t have been able to trade Escobar for Alomar. Does Alomar crash and burn if he doesn’t get traded to the Mets?

    Comment by vivalajeter — July 20, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

  13. Its a shame he couldn’t stay healthy. Probably would have had 3,000 hits.

    Am I the only person that would have taken a healthy Larkin over Jeter?

    Comment by SF 55 for life — July 20, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

  14. Good post, although I don’t think having similar first half / second half splits tells us anything about how good a player someone was.

    Comment by Detroit Michael — July 20, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

  15. Barry deserves a better article than this.

    Comment by wendy sucks — July 20, 2012 @ 4:45 pm

  16. Banks was not primarily a shortstop. He played more games at 1B than at SS.

    Comment by JimNYC — July 20, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

  17. You’re probably not, since I’ve heard many people make that argument, although it’s incorrect and basically irrelevant since Larkin’s defining attribute was his constant presence on the DL.

    Comment by JimNYC — July 20, 2012 @ 4:49 pm

  18. I had the great pleasure of seeing him play numerous times over the years. Don’t know that I’ve ever seen a shortstop who was better at going back for pop-ups hit over his head into the outfield.

    Comment by Kirk A. — July 20, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

  19. defining attribute? are you butthurt or something?

    Comment by SF 55 for life — July 20, 2012 @ 10:52 pm

  20. I watched Larkin play over the years as well as all other NL shortstops. For some reason his play never jumped out at me. I saw him have good games and other games where I didn’t notice him much. Looking at his stats, he never led the league in any major category. In ’95 he was 2nd in SB and in 98 he was 2nd in triples. Dunno, he always looked to be a good player to me, but never great. In his entire career, he was NL player of the week four times, and player of the month only once. He was on a good hitting Reds team for most of his career, so pitchers always pitched to him. He won 3 gold gloves during his career.

    If I had a vote for the HOF I wouldn’t have voted for him. Nice SS? Yes. One of the greatest ever to have played the game? Absolutely not.

    Comment by Tom — July 21, 2012 @ 12:37 am

  21. just cause-

    Larkin, 9057 PA, 70.1 fWAR, 67.1 rWAR
    Trammel, 9376 PA, 69.5 fWAR, 67.1 rWAR

    Comment by whatever — July 21, 2012 @ 11:14 am

  22. oh yeah-

    Derek Jeter, 11578 PA, 75.9 fWAR, 67.9 rWAR
    lou whittaker, 9967 PA, 74.3 fWAR, 71.4 rWAR

    Comment by whatever — July 21, 2012 @ 11:35 am

  23. It’s still a pretty arbitary and meaningless measurement. Larkin was a great player. His accomplishments don’t require exaggeration.

    Comment by AF — July 21, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

  24. Yes, this is not it – enjoyed article, but there is only:

    – Home Runs by position.

    -Home Runs.

    Tejada has him by 97 Hrs.


    Sorry, Fangraphs – the circular, faulty WAR stat kinda can’t be more exposed than here, where Larkin has More WAR than Rickey and also Robbie Alomar…Steve Finley, okay…

    Comment by rubesandbabes — July 21, 2012 @ 7:43 pm

  25. Viva internet?

    Comment by rubesandbabes — July 21, 2012 @ 7:52 pm

  26. Excellent article! I always thought my favorite player of all-time (Jeter) was much more similar to an inferior-fielding, Larkin look-alike with an analagous skillset as opposed to the cliche Compariosn to Cal Ripken.

    Comment by dannyrainge — July 22, 2012 @ 12:42 am

  27. Just to be clear I am saying Jeter is inferior fielding-wise to Larking not the other way around.

    Oh and comparison*

    Comment by dannyrainge — July 22, 2012 @ 12:45 am

  28. It’s not meaningless and arbitrary. Staying at short has tremendous value, and usually the big bats aren’t athletic enough to stay there. It certainly is not an important determinant of career value, but it’s an interesting way to view his unique value and career.

    Comment by ValueArb — July 22, 2012 @ 11:17 pm

  29. Yes, Jeter was more durable. Averaging 150 games out of 162 is better than 130 out of 157.

    But when on the field, Larkin was much better than Jeter. Similar offense, but far better defender.

    Comment by ValueArb — July 23, 2012 @ 1:31 am

  30. Good thing you didn’t have a vote because your eyes deceived you. Barry Larkin made his greatness look effortless. It wasn’t just your eyes that were oblivious to the fact that a great defensive short stop who was also one of the better hitters and base runners in the league is obviously MVP caliber player, obviously awards voters were too.

    Comment by ValueArb — July 23, 2012 @ 1:36 am

  31. BTW: BsR was only calculated from 2002. Jeter gets credit for 18 in 10 years, Larkin 8 in his 3 career ending years. It seems clear that Larkin, instead of losing 10 runs to Jeter in this category, was many runs better, as is his relative WAR.

    Comment by ValueArb — July 23, 2012 @ 11:45 am

  32. You’re doing it wrong

    Comment by adohaj — July 23, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

  33. A few key point to make. First thing to point out is that Larkin was more deserving of the gold glove award several of the years that it was given defacto to Ozzie Smith. Hats off to Ozzie, but he was a little past his prime when Barry hit his. Second point to make is that sometimes stats are a poor way to compare players. For instance, Barry was very good at moving runners over with the productive out. The productive out isn’t statistically immune same as a sacrifice. I watched Barry go 0-4 in one game, but all of those at bats moved runners along and runs scored in each of those innings. He also was very good at working pitch counts, allowing base runners opportunity to steal, guys in the dugout to see more of the opposing pitcher’s repitoire, and making pitchers work harder. Right now is a good time to revisit the brutal field conditions of those cookie cutter stadiums that he played his entire career, except for the last few years that grass was installed in Riverfront Stadium. Field level temps regularly hit 3 digits and the surface was unforgiving. It’s difficult to compare the entirety of Larkin’s career to those of other contemporary shortstops that played almost exclusively on grass like Ripkin and Jeter. Both great shortstops in their own right. But as one commenter said already, Larkin made it look easy.

    Comment by redsfan99 — April 11, 2015 @ 3:34 am

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