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Larkin brothers continue to influence the world of sports in Cincinnati

By John Wilmhoff
On January 17, 2012

It was announced Jan. 9 that former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame this summer in Cooperstown, NY.

For me and probably many other students here at Xavier, Larkin was a childhood hero. I can vaguely remember going to Reds games when I was so young that I wasn't even required to have a ticket to enter Riverfront Stadium and Barry Larkin was the shortstop in those games. He was a part of my earliest memories of the Reds and he remained the Reds' shortstop until I was almost out of high school. When I played baseball as a kid, #11 was the most coveted number to wear and shortstop was the position that everyone wanted to play because of Barry Larkin. 

Larkin's enshrinement into the Hall of Fame this summer will mark the first Cincinnati athlete of our generation to be honored amongst the all-time greats of his sport. The Cincinnati native and Moeller High School graduate spent all 18 of his Major League seasons with his hometown Reds, winning a World Series Championship in 1990, an MVP Award in 1995, nine Silver Slugger Awards and three Gold Glove Awards.

The impact that Barry has had on his sport, his team, his hometown and with the Reds is undeniable. Every bit as equal to Barry's impact with the Reds, however, is the impact that his younger brother, Byron Larkin, has made on the Xavier basketball program. It's hard to imagine the Reds in the 90's without Barry Larkin, and it's hard to imagine what Xavier basketball would look like today without Byron Larkin.

Overall, Cincinnati sports would be very different and much less accomplished without the Larkin brothers. Byron Larkin played at Xavier from 1984-88 and is the all-time leading scorer at XU. Byron put Xavier on the map by guiding the Musketeers to their first ever NCAA Tournament win in 1987, was the first player to have his jersey retired at XU and was inducted into the Xavier Hall of Fame in 1994. Byron started 115 consecutive games for the Musketeers and led XU in scoring in all four of his seasons. There hasn't been any single player that has had an impact on Xavier basketball more than Byron Larkin.

After all these years, he's remained close to the program as a radio broadcaster for the Musketeers. Without him, Xavier basketball would not be what it is today. Because Byron came to Xavier before the basketball team had accomplished much at all, his impact was even larger than Barry's with the Reds, who followed greats before him like Pete Rose and Johnny Bench. The glory days of Xavier basketball were just beginning when Byron Larkin arrived on campus. 

At this point it is still unclear who will introduce Barry Larkin when he is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer. Barry has said that he hasn't thought much about it yet, but Byron has indeed given it some thought and would love to introduce his older brother in Cooperstown. I, for one, would have chills to see the Xavier Hall of Famer introduce one of my all-time favorites into Baseball's Hall of Fame. With each of the Larkin brothers on baseball's center stage on July 22nd in Cooperstown , Xavier, the Reds and the city of Cincinnati will all have something to be very proud about.

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