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Larkin named to Hall; McGwire falls short

The former Cincinnati Reds shortstop is named on 86% of ballots. Sluggers Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro fall far short of the necessary votes.

January 10, 2012|Lance Pugmire
  • Future Hall of Famer Barry Larkin makes a play against the Cardinals during the 2004 season.
Future Hall of Famer Barry Larkin makes a play against the Cardinals during… (Dilip Vishwanat / Getty…)

Barry Larkin has been elected to baseball's Hall of Fame, it was announced Monday, while tainted sluggers Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro fell far short of the votes required for induction.

Larkin played 19 seasons, all with his hometown Cincinnati Reds. A 12-time All-Star, he won the National League's most-valuable-player award in 1995 and a year later became the first shortstop with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a season.

Larkin received 495 votes and was named on 86% of the ballots -- a 24.3% jump from his 2011 numbers. A 75% vote is needed for entry.

McGwire, who briefly held baseball's single-season home run record, got 19.5% of the vote, down from 19.8% last year. He received 23.7% in 2010 -- before he admitted that he had used performance-enhancing drugs.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday, January 13, 2012 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 58 words Type of Material: Correction
Barry Larkin: An article in the Jan. 10 Sports section about the election of Barry Larkin to baseball's Hall of Fame said that he was named on 86% of the ballots, a 24.3% jump from his 2011 numbers. In fact, his acceptance by voters jumped from 62.1% to 86.4%, an increase of 24.3 percentage points, or about 39%.

Palmeiro, who had a positive PED test in 2005, saw his percentage rise to 12.6 from 11 in his second ballot appearance. He is among four players with 500 home runs and 3,000 hits. The others -- Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray -- are Hall members.

Next year, voters from the Baseball Writers Assn. of America will have several controversial choices when pitcher Roger Clemens and sluggers Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa appear on their ballots for the first time.

Allegations of PED use by seven-time Cy Young Award winner Clemens, career home run king Bonds and Sosa, who is sixth on the career home run list, create a dilemma for those who consider morality and sportsmanship in their votes.

"My feeling is that whenever there's an instance of definite proof, I'm not going to support the candidacy," said Ross Newhan, a former Los Angeles Times baseball writer who is a Hall member and voter.

"In Bonds' case, he acknowledged using a [designer steroid] cream, saying he did not realize it was a steroid. But there's so much evidence against him that he knew more, such a change in body structure," Newhan said. "There's no question he'd be an automatic qualifier [based on his pre-PED involvement numbers], but I don't buy the argument that we should forget him being a cheater over the second half of his career."

Asked if he felt the same way about Clemens, Newhan said, "Yep."

Clemens was named in baseball's 2007 Mitchell Report as a PED user in the second half of his career, while with the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Houston Astros. The right-hander used steroids and human growth hormone, according to his former personal trainer, Brian McNamee.

Both Bonds and Clemens have been embroiled in court cases for allegedly making false statements to federal officials -- Congress in Clemens' case -- about their PED use. The New York Times reported Sosa tested positive for a PED in 2003.

"I have a problem with writers who say it's not my job to be judge and jury ... it's a cop-out," writer Ken Rosenthal said on MLB Network. "Something went down here. Something that compromised the integrity of the game. Greatly. To ignore what happened would be wrong."

Debate about Larkin was limited to whether he had Hall of Fame credentials. The winner of three Gold Glove awards and nine Silver Sluggers, he had a career batting average of .295 with 198 home runs, 960 runs batted in and a .975 fielding percentage.

"It was absolutely an unbelievable ... out-of-body experience," Larkin told MLB Network of the induction telephone call.

He'll be inducted at Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 22, as will former Chicago Cub Ron Santo, the "Golden Era" veterans' committee selection; writer Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun; and broadcaster Tim McCarver.

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BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX

The Hall's newest member

Career numbers of Barry Larkin, who was voted into baseball's Hall of Fame.

*--* Years R H RBI SB AVG. 19 1,329 2,340 960 379 295 2B 3B HR BB SO OBP. 441 76 198 939 817 371 *--*

Awards: NL MVP ('95); Gold Glove award ('94-'96)

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