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Barry Larkin Inducted Into Baseball Hall of Fame

Barry Larkin thought he would become an NFL player. He had a scholarship to Michigan coming out of high school. Legendary coach Bo Schembechler red-shirted him as a freshman.

“Occasionally, I’d call him while I was playing in the big leagues and told him that was the best decision he ever made as a football coach,” Larkin recalled. “He didn’t like that too much.”

Whether Schembechler liked it or not, he jump-started Larkin’s career on the diamond that led to his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. A shortstop with his hometown Cincinnati Reds, Larkin became an all-star in his third year and blossomed into a dominant player.

Larkin shared the Hall of Fame honors with Ron Santo, a Chicago Cubs third baseman and beloved broadcaster. It was an emotional occasion. Larkin wiped away tears before he even began his induction speech.

The current ESPN analyst thanked his parents, saying, “If we were going to do something, we were going to do it right. Growing up, you challenged me. That was so instrumental.”

Larking also thanked, in Spanish, the Latin players that also helped mold him. Then he poured on the praise for Pete Rose and Dave Concepcion, veterans that helped mold him when he was a young player.

“I wouldn’t be in the big leagues if it weren’t for Pete,” Larkin said, eliciting a stirring applause from the fans, two of whom were holding a placard inscribed with “Cincinnati’s hometown heroes, Larkin and Rose.”

“And Dave Concepcion, understanding that I was gunning for his job, understanding that I was from Cincinnati, he spent countless hours with me preparing me for the game. I idolized Davey Concepcion as a kid. Thank you, my idol. My inclusion in the Hall of Fame is the ultimate validation. I want to thank you all for helping me along the way.”

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