Saturday, March 8, 2014

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #114 BARRY LARKIN


HOME-TOWN KID MAKES GOOD.



RARE POWER-SPEED COMBO AT SHORTSTOP.



DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • It wasn't easy to stand out at shortstop in the NL during #28 Ozzie Smith's reign, but 12-time All-Star Barry Larkin managed just fine. Combining exceptional defense with middle-of-the-order offense, Larkin was an NL MVP and the first 30/30 shortstop. He won six Silver Sluggers and three Gold Gloves during his 19-year Hall of Fame career.   

DEFINING MOMENT

  • On June 28, 1991, Larkin became the first shortstop to hit five homers over a two-game span. After clubbing two the night before against the Padres, he hit three more against the Astros -- all coming off starter Jim Deshaies -- in an 8-5 victory. In the two games, he went 5-for-8 with nine RBI and five runs scored. Several good-field, no-hit shortstops throughout the league spontaneously punted their gloves into trash cans the next day. 

DEFINING SEASON

  • In '95, Larkin joined Maury Wills as the only shortstops to win a league MVP. He had a .319/.394/.492 slash line, hit 15 homers, drove in 66 and stole 51 bases. He also won his second consecutive Gold Glove.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. In '88, Larkin struck out only 24 times all season, but walked only 41 times. For his career, he struck out 817 times and walked 939.
  2. Hit 33 homers and stole 36 bases in '96 as a follow up to that MVP season.
  3. In the last game of the '98 season, Larkin was part of the first all-sibbling infield: brother Stephen Larkin at first, Bret Boone at second and Aaron Boone at third. They didn't turn any double plays nor commit any errors.
  4. Barry missed significant time during six seasons because of injuries.
  5. Hit .353 in 19 plate appearances in the Reds' sweep of the Athletics in the '90 World Series.

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