Third time was the charm.
Longtime Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame after two failed tries.
Larkin's credentials are pretty impressive. Here's the Yahoo! news report on his accomplishments:
"Playing from 1986-04—all with his hometown Reds—Larkin hit .295 with 198
home runs, 960 RBIs, 2,340 hits and 379 stolen bases. A 12-time All-Star, he won
the 1995 NL MVP award, nine Silver Slugger trophies and three Gold Gloves. He
helped the Reds win the 1990 World Series and in 1996 became the first shortstop
to have 30 homers and 30 steals in a season."
What I find impressive was that, in an era where free agency reigns supreme and players switch teams at the drop of a hat, Larkin spent his entire career in one town, Cincinnati, and, he rewarded his home town with quality play for almost two decades.
Larkin reminds me of my favorite player, Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken, who was elected to the Hall in 2007. Ripken, known as "The Iron Man" for his streak of 2,632 consecutive games played, also played for just the Orioles over his 21 seasons.
It's sad, though, that Larkin was the only one elected into the Hall, since there are other players, such as Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Alan Trammell, whose careers are just as good. Of course, sluggers Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmiero, despite their impressive resumes, are tainted due to their alleged involvement in steroids, which explains their low election percentages (19.5% and 12.6%, respectively). According to sportswriters, next year will be interesting since other Steroid Era stars, namely Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, will be eligible for the ballot. It will be interesting to see how voters will treat them.
In the meantime, kudos to Barry Larkin for being recognized as one of the truly greats in baseball.