Barry Larkin, a Cincinnati kid who became a 12-time All-Star shortstop and won a World Series with his hometown Reds, was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in results announced on Monday.
The three-time Gold Glove Award winner and 1995 National League Most Valuable Player was the lone player inducted in his third year of eligibility. He received 86.4 percent of the votes cast by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, eclipsing the 75 percent needed for entry.
"I am so humbled by the experience and so excited about being the newest member of the Hall of Fame," Larkin, now a baseball analyst, said on a conference call.
Although he is now a member of baseball's greatest club, Larkin said he always considered himself a complementary player.
"My approach to the game was about how do I help this team win as opposed to how do I get my numbers," he said. "That, in my opinion, is what I am most proud of."
Larkin, taken fourth overall in the 1985 draft, hit .295 during a 19-year Major League Baseball career spent with the Reds before retiring after the 2004 season at age 40.
He received 495 votes from the 573 ballots that were casts, the Hall of Fame said in a statement.
He admitted he may have never become the baseball player that he was without a move by the late University of Michigan American football coach Bo Schembechler.
The coach held him out of football during his first year at Michigan, allowing him to fully concentrate on baseball, according to Larkin.
"It was an eye-opener because I got so much better," the infielder said. "(Until then) I was a better football player than a baseball player."
He becomes the 297 person elected to the Hall.
Among the notable players finishing outside the 430 votes required for election this year were five-time All-Star pitcher Jack Morris and four-time All-Star first baseman Jeff Bagwell.
Larkin and former Chicago Cubs third baseman Ron Santo will be inducted into the Hall, based in Cooperstown, New York, during a ceremony on July 22.
Santo was elected to the Hall posthumously last month by its Golden Era Committee, which is charged with honoring overlooked players and executives from 1947-72.
Santo, who died in 2010 at 70 from complications of bladder cancer, was a nine-time All-Star who belted 342 home runs and won five Gold Glove awards during a 15-year MLB career and became a beloved Cubs broadcaster after his playing days.
(Reporting By Gene Cherry in Salvo North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue)