Thursday, October 3, 2013

My Top 50 Players On Cardboard-#39 Barry Larkin

My Top 50 Players On Cardboard
#39
Barry Larkin

1987 Fleer Barry Larkin






































Hobby Impact-
Larkin seems like he missed out a little bit by beginning his career in the prime of Ozzie Smith's career. It seems like a lot of people warmed up to Barry Larkin cards after he had been playing for a decade, but he still pulls a lot of weight with his cards.  First, his rookie cards have good company in the 1987 sets which also feature other bigs stars of the nineties like Maddux and Bonds.  Not the most expensive card in those sets, but definitely important to have a good clean copy of the Larkin card if you want to claim your set is truly complete.

His autographs sell very well.  Larkin has been a little bit stingier with his autographs then many of the stars from his era which has pushed the price and competition on bidding and pricing.  Older inserts of Larkin also sell very well and often pusher high because of demand and popularity.  Whatever Beckett says you can throw it out the window at times with Larkin cards.  While Larkin was slow to warm-up nationally, Reds fans have always viewed him as the best player from his generation of the team and they do not miss out on many of his cards.

On The Field Impact-
As stated before, Larkin was the best player on the Reds for a long run.  Sure, the Reds had Eric Davis at the beginning of his career and the team had Ken Griffey Jr. towards the end of his career, but Larkin was always better than the other good players on the Reds.  Strictly looking at awards, Larkin put up an MVP award in 1995, won a couple of Gold Gloves (would have won more without Ozzie), and also claimed roughly ten Silver Slugger Awards.

Larkin was always a really good shortstop defensively, but was also a top tier offensive player for a middle infielder.  In my opinion, a better defender than a player like Derek Jeter and a better hitter than Ozzie Smith.  Although, I would argue that he is probably much closer to Jeter offensively than most people would probably admit.  Larkin's highest OPS+ season of 155 is higher than any season posted by Derek Jeter.  In fact, for his career Jeter and Larkin are within a point of each other in that statistical category.  The separator between the two for me however, is the fact that Larkin has a higher career dWAR than Jeter who has a negative rating for his career.

The JAWS rating system puts him as the thirteenth best shortstop of all-time immediately behind Jeter and several spots behind Ozzie Smith.  Here's a look at Larkin in action:



Favorite Card:
Larkin has had some pretty cool cards over the years.  A part of me wants to put a card like his 1987 Topps in this space, but everyone has seen that.  Not interesting.  So, I will go with a bit of a dark horse.

1995 Emotion Barry Larkin


I've always rather liked this card.  The Emotion set was released once or twice in the mid 90s and featured close up, almost studio like, pictures of players with a descriptive word.  Cool picture of Larkin in his prime with the red Reds jersey, not black.

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