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Barry Larkin

Barry Louis Larkin (born April 28, 1964 in Cincinnati, Ohio) is a former Major League Baseball player. He attended Moeller High School in suburban Cincinnati, graduating in 1982. Larkin was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds of the National League in the second round of the Amateur Baseball draft, and was offered a football scholarship at the University of Notre Dame and football and baseball scholarships at University of Michigan. He chose to play baseball only at Michigan, and was again drafted by the Reds in 1985, this time in the first round (4th overall). Larkin played shortstop for the Reds from 1986 to 2004 and was one of the pivotal players on the 1990 Reds' World Series winning club.
After arriving in the majors, Larkin battled fellow prospect Kurt Stillwell for the starting shortstop spot but soon established himself as the logical heir to Dave Concepción's notable legacy. A member of the 1984 Baseball Olympic team, Larkin has long been considered one of the best shortstops in the game. After starting with Cincinnati in 1986, over the next several seasons he not only improved his overall play, but also grew into the role of team leader, being named the Reds' captain before the 1997 season (the first player to hold the honor since Concepción's retirement). Also, he learned Spanish in order to build a rapport with his Hispanic teammates. Larkin won the Gold Glove Award from 1994-96, was the NL's MVP in 1995, and has been a 12-time All-Star: in the 1988-91, 1993-97, 1999, 2000, and 2004 seasons. He became the first major league shortstop to join the 30-30 club when he had 33 home runs and 36 stolen bases in 1996.
In his 18-year career with Cincinnati, Larkin batted for a .295 batting average, with 198 home runs, 960 runs batted in, 1329 runs scored and 379 stolen bases. Baseball historian and expert Bill James has called Larkin one of the greatest shortstops of all time, ranking him #6 all time in his New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. However, his Hall of Fame candidacy is one of the most highly debated topics in many baseball-history circles. Larkin called off a planned retirement ceremony scheduled for October 2, 2004 because he was not sure if he would retire. He did indeed retire, and is now working in the Washington Nationals organization. The Reds have not issued his #11 jersey in the past two seasons, and it is virtually taken for granted that it will be formally retired.

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