Barry Larkin Was The Top Dawg NL Shortstop of The 90s

Barry Larkin Was The Top Dawg NL Shortstop of The 90s

Barry Larkin wanted to be a shortstop ever since he was a kid watching his idol, Ozzie Smith, on television. Growing up in the Cincinnati suburbs, Larkin wanted to play for the legendary Cincinnati Reds, replace Dave Concepcion at short and become the greatest shortstop in Reds history. He accomplished that and then some.

 

Barry Larkin Elevated The Shortstop Position

Barry Larkin Elevated The Shortstop Position

By Devon POV Mason | Contributor 

Barry Larkin wanted to be a shortstop ever since he was a kid watching his idol, Ozzie Smith, on television. Growing up in the Cincinnati suburbs, Larkin wanted to play for the legendary Cincinnati Reds and replace Dave Concepcion at short.

He says his dream was to replace Concepcion and then become the greatest shortstop in Reds history.

Via baseballhall.org:

“Born April 28, 1964, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Larkin was an honor student and athletic star at Cincinnati’s Moeller High School and enrolled at the University of Michigan with the idea of playing both baseball and football.

But when legendary UM football coach Bo Schembechler advised Larkin to redshirt his freshman year, Larkin’s path to Cooperstown began.”

 

After college, Larkin played on the 1984 US Olympic Team. When he got to the Reds, he eventually replaced Concepcion.

Larkin also wanted to wear No.1 to honor his idol Ozzie, but the equipment manager told Larkin the number was retired and permanently reserved for Fred Hutchinson.

Larkin had no idea who Hutchinson was, but he asked for No.11 to reinforce how much he admired and idolized “The Wizard of Ozzie”

 

Barry eventually wrestled the Gold Glove away from Ozzie, won an MVP Award, and had his number retired by the Reds also.

Of the great shortstops, Larkin possibly has the best compilation of skills: He could run as fast as teammate Eric Davis, he possessed the strongest arm among the shortstops of his generation —  and only Ozzie was better with the web.

 

 

A multi-faceted batter, Larkin concentrated on hitting for average, stealing bases and setting the table. But he was capable of going deep when the situation called for it. He stole 51 bases in 141 games, while winning the NL MVP in 1995, but for some reason was criticized for not driving in enough runs, so he came back the following season and banged all his critics in the head with 33 home run and 36 steals at the age of 32.

The Injury Bug

It’s hard to discuss Larkin without mentioning his injury-riddled history. He was placed on the disabled list fourteen times in his career. He only had 6 seasons where he didn’t spend time on the DL.

Those injuries  (legs, thumbs, knee, shoulders, and even his toe), sidelined him for 450 career games. That alone probably cost him another 450-500 hits with his batting prowess. The talent was always evident, but despite his HOF swag, and championship pedigree, he always faced criticism, and was even referred to as “Mr. Glass.”

He had to continuously prove himself and relied on a strong will to overcome setbacks.

Cooperstown Worthy 

Larkin was a 12-time All-Star, including his final season when he was still a valuable player. Despite his frequent absence from the lineup, Larkin was always a great teammate and team leader.

He was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2012, following a career also garnered him an  MVP (1995), World Series Title (1990), three Gold Glove Awards and nine Silver Slugger Awards.

 

 

He was simply a stud up the middle and one of the finest examples of MLBbro excellence at the shortstop position.

Tim Anderson Bobblehead Doll Celebrates The Reemergence of Swag Culture In MLB

Tim Anderson Bobblehead Doll Celebrates The Reemergence of Swag Culture In MLB

Tim Anderson is the coolest Bro in the game. And here’s proof.

On Saturday, his White Sox will give away his bat flip bobblehead which captured the most iconic moments of his career.

This isn’t the first time Chi-Town’s Sox honored the former batting champion with his own bobblehead doll. 

 

However, this one represents the true essence of  Anderson and his cultural impact on the sport. 

With a runner on second, two outs, full count in a tied game in the fourth inning, the stage was set for one of the more generational-changing moments in recent baseball history. 

Anderson stood in the box and absolutely exploded on Royals’ pitcher Brad Keller’s fastball and sent it to the stands in deep left field.  He knew it was gone immediately and as he stared the ball down, he backpedaled and threw his bat down the third baseline.

 

 

This moment may be light to some, but baseball players usually decide to quietly celebrate their on-the-field success, suppressing bursts of emotion that may be boiling inside of them. leaving them as they rounded the bases.  

Not Anderson. Not then and not now.  Since then, many in the league have followed his lead. Home run celebrations seem to be a competition now.  From golf carts in the dugouts to huge gold chains and dance routines. 

 

 

Don’t get it twisted, and never forget, Anderson is the Bat-Flip OG.

The bat flip bobblehead was originally supposed to be released May 30, 2020, in a game against the Minnesota Twins but was postponed due to Covid.

This year, White Sox fans will get to grab their TA bobblehead this Saturday as he will match up against one of the game’s best center fielders in MLBbro Cedric Mullins and his Baltimore Orioles.  Anderson and Mullins currently sit 26th and 27th in batting average at .296 and .294 respectively.

T.A. has been one of the top all-around ballers this season.  He ranks second in fielding percentage for all American League shortstops and is third in batting average for shortstops across the league — and No. 1 in sauce. 

 

 

Anderson has already caught a few victims with the bat flip this season.  He has five home runs through the first three months, his biggest being a grand slam off fellow MLBbro Triston Mckenzie.  He also caught Twins’ pitcher Michael Pineda lacking when he blasted his first pitch of the game for a leadoff home run.

Anderson and his White Sox have a huge interleague test this week when the St. Louis Cardinals and Black Ace hopeful Jack Flaherty fly to the Chi.

JP Crawford Is More Than Just A Flashy Web

JP Crawford Is More Than Just A Flashy Web

J.P. Crawford is making a strong case to win back-to-back Gold Glove Awards with a stellar start defensively to this season.

But don’t sleep on Crawford’s bat; he is currently having a career year at the plate and has reached base safely in 25 of his last 28 games.

Last season, Crawford became just the second Black shortstop in American League history to win a Gold Glove, joining Yankee legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, who won the award five times.

 

 

During the first quarter of the 2021 season, Crawford has been on guard with his glove.  Dating back to April 11th, he has gone 27 straight games without committing an error.

He only has two this season which is good enough for third place in the league, trailing Freddy Galvis, who has one, and MLB Bro White Sox Bat Flipper Tim Anderson, who has yet to commit an error this year.

 

Crawford, however, has played in all 34 games for Seattle this season, while Anderson has missed a few, so we’ll see if T.A. can keep at this pace.


Crawford is also tied for first with 23 turned double plays thus far.

It’s no surprise J.P. has found success defensively, but this season he has answered many people’s questions about his offense with his performance at the plate.

He batted leadoff on Sunday and finished with another multi-hit game, going 2-for-5 and scored a run.  It was his second multi-hit game of the series.

On Friday, he recorded the ninth three-hit game of his career –  including a two-run homer in the fourth inning in a Mariners’ victory.


We have seen Crawford’s batting average climb each year since his rookie campaign with the Phillies and this year continues that trend.

He is batting .264 with 12 RBI and 15 runs scored in 2021.  He has been using the entire field and putting the ball in play as much as possible during his current hot streak to make up for not slugging multiple homers.


Saturday night, Crawford put a ground ball in play with runners on the corners in the first inning that allowed reigning Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis to dive into home and score.

Later,  he would go on to nearly tie the game after hitting a flare to center with two strikes in the ninth, but a great play saw Lewis thrown out at home.

Seattle has been tested throughout this  year as they have had to play the second-hardest schedule in all of baseball.

J.P. has been a mainstay in the lineup in the middle of the defense through it all as he has yet to miss a game.

He’ll need to continue to lockdown on defense and steadily improve his bat in order to keep the Mariners in contention for what appears to be a wide open American League West.

 

 

 

Marcus Semien Is Getting His Roll On At The Plate

Marcus Semien Is Getting His Roll On At The Plate

This season at the plate, Marcus Semien is getting his roll on.

The Toronto Blue Jays have their eyes on making the postseason again after an early-round exit to the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2020 AL Wild Card Series.

During the offseason, the team made a few moves, one of which was acquiring the power-hitting infielder. 

 

So far, Semien has put a smile on the faces of Blue Jays fans with his production throughout the season. Through the first  30 games, the 30-year old posted a .254 batting average with seven home runs and 16 RBIs. 

Let’s be real here, not too many players are seeing the ball like Semien is. On May 6, the Blue Jays took on Semien’s former ballclub, the Oakland A’s and boy did he have a game.

He went 4-for-6 with a home run, a double, and three runs scored helping the Blue Jays to a 10-4 win. 

This man has been locked in at the plate. He’s driven in a run in 12 of his last 13 games and registered four multi-hit games during that span.

 

Take a look at these stats in his last 13 games: .367 batting, three home runs, nine RBI and a 1.049 OPS.

Oh and let’s not forget that, going into Friday’s action, he was riding a six-game hitting streak to top it all off.

In an article from MLB.com, Semien talked about his success at the plate. “I feel good. I’m able to not think about mechanics as much,” Semien said. “I just think about the approach and what I’m looking for. That’s a good place to be. That’s where a lot of players want to be all the time, but sometimes it’s not there.”

His performance at the plate is rubbing off on his fellow teammates and that’s something he loves to see.

“Hitting is contagious,” Semien said. “When the whole lineup is struggling, you want to be that guy to get everybody going. That’s baseball, though. Some nights it’s there, some nights it’s not.”

Our MLBBro is playing some of the best baseball we have witnessed so far this season.

Semien has had some success during his career, especially during his time with the A’s.

During the 2018 season, he batted .255 with 15 home runs and 14 stolen bases. He was one of the best defensive players that year leading the league in assists with 459.

 


In a close race for the Gold Glove Award at the shortstop position, Semien was one of three finalists, losing out to Andrelton Simmons of the Los Angeles Angels. 

The following season, Semien turned up even more as he improved his batting average, hitting .285, with a career-high 33 home runs. He also led the majors with 747 plate appearances. 

 

At the end of the 2019 season, Semien was named to the inaugural All-MLB Second Team at shortstop and he finished third in the voting for American League MVP.

 

The Blue Jays are very fortunate that Semien agreed to move to second for Bo Bichette, a much less accomplished shortstop.

That kind of veteran leadership will be important for the Blue Jays late in the season, and if he keeps hitting how he is now, Semien will probably take some hardware home with him when the season concludes.