In response to a request in the Hall of Fame thread Tuesday, I looked up Barry Larkin’s career numbers compared to 21 current Hall of Fame shortstops. If elected to the Hall, Larkin would rank 11th of the 22 shortstops in the number of games played.
As noted in the PDF file from the Reds, Larkin would rank in the Top 10 in most counting statistical categories, including hits, runs, doubles, homeruns, rbi, and stolen bases. These lists include total career stats for each player, not just the numbers that each player accumulated while playing shortstop.
I’ve compiled the career counting stats for Larkin and 21 hall of fame shortstops in the sortable table below. Data is from baseball-reference.com. If you point your mouse and click just to the right of any of the category headers, the table should sort for you on that category.
[table id=13 /]
Larkin would also rank in the top 10 for all the career rate stat categories, including an OPS+ better than Cal Ripken and Robin Yount. Larkin posted an OPS+ above 100 in 13 consecutive seasons.
[table id=14 /]
Jim Caple of ESPN.com wrote Wednesday on his opinions of the new HOF candidates and his intention to vote for Larkin this year.
I was already leaning toward voting for Larkin, and then I read what Jayson Stark wrote about him in “The Stark Truth,” his book about the most overrated and underrated players of all time. Stark points out that Larkin’s career batting average (.295) was 39 points higher than the average shortstop. His OPS was 137 points higher — 20 percent better — than the average shortstop. He was a great base stealer with some power (he was the first shortstop in the 30-30 club), a 12-time All-Star and a three-time Gold Glove winner despite playing in the same league as Ozzie Smith for much of his career. And he was the MVP in 1995. Sure, Larkin was hurt a lot but big deal. He still played a lot of games (2,180), and when he did, he was simply one of the best shortstops in history.
So he gets my vote.