"Here's the windup, fastball, hit deep to right, this could be it! Way back there! Holy cow, he did it! Sixty-one for Maris! And look at the fight for that ball out there! Holy cow, what a shot! Another standing ovation for Maris, and they're still fighting for that ball out there, climbing over each other's backs. One of the greatest sights I've ever seen here at Yankee Stadium!"
- some guy saying something about someone doing something in 1961
I don't know if it is because I didn't watch baseball in the 40s and 50s or perhaps I'm just jaded (likely)...but is it THAT big of a deal that Phil Rizzuto died? If you watched ANY television last night, you saw that Rizzuto died and the world was in mourning. I'm pretty sure I even heard that flags were to be lowered.
I mean...the guy is a Hall of Fame player and all, but I can't figure out why or how.
His stats are underwhelming by Hall standards...273 avg., 1588 hits and only a .968 fielding percentage. Granted, he had one MVP award, but c'mon...so did Barry Larkin.
Which leads me to...Barry Larkin!
Is Larkin a Hall of Famer? Ask anyone just north of Covington, Kentucky (yes, that's a random shout out) and they'd say "ayup". Ask anyone else and they'd be left scratching their heads.
Me?!? I say "yes".
BUT...it has to be done soon before Omar, A-Rod, Jeter and the like start banging on Cooperstown's doors. The case for Larkin goes like so...295 avg., 2340 hits, 198 homers and a .975 fielding percentage.
Oh, he also has that one MVP award and a World Series ring.
Compare his stats to Ozzie Smith and Pee Wee Reese and they are comparable if not better. Ozzie's average was thirty points lower but had 120 more hits (he also played in 400 more games than Larkin...getting close to 1400 more at bats). Fielding average (the key to Ozzie's greatness)...978. Larkin came in at .975.
Wait, you mean to tell me that Barry Larkin DWARFED the "Wizard of Oz (or was it Ahs)"?!?
For git and shiggles, I went to Baseball Reference to see where some other notables rank compared to Larkin. Omar Vizquel rating was 119 (they say a rating of 100 means you are a shoe-in)...Larkin came in at 118. So does Jeff Kent.
Hmmm...that gives me an idea.