COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — This weekend’s honored guests spent time talking with baseball writers Saturday afternoon, their only scheduled time for press engagements for their induction ceremonies this weekend at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Cincinnati Reds legend Barry Larkin, as well as the children of Cubs great Ron Santo, broadcaster Tim McCarver and writer Bob Elliott were all on hand at the Clark Sports Center to give a few final bullet points about their feelings before taking the stage to immortality.
Larkin mentioned how he’s still humbled when he’s around greats like Bob Gibson and Al Kaline and how becoming a hall of famer himself has become more tangible now that this weekend has finally arrived.
“It’s very humbling,” said Larkin. “Every thing about this is humbling, to think that you are part of the Hall of Fame.”
Ron Santo Jr. and his sibilings fielded the obvious questions about how their father’s induction came after his death, which was both sad, but overall a joy since it’s the highest honor Santo always wanted for himself, his family and Cubs fans.
McCarver, who is the winner of this year’s Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting, was not shy as usual, talking about so many great moments and pastime’s in his career from calling Mets games with Ralph Kiner to playing for some of the best Cardinals teams of all-time in the late 1960s.
“That 1967 team never made mistakes, ever,” he said. “That team, of course, was led by Bob Gibson, who never made a mistake.”
Elliott, a baseball writer from Canada, was short and sweat in his answers but was humorous as he spoke about Canada’s perspective on high individual achievement. There is no higher honor in baseball writing then receiving the J.G. Taylor Spink Award.
“Like former Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson used to say, we have this inferiority complex,” he said. “You look at us too long we get worried and if you don’t look at us enough, we get even more worried. It is a patriotic country and if you’re Canadian, you’re happy [about the induction].”
The Barry Larkin File
- Played 19 seasons for the Cincinnati Reds from 1986-2004
- Led Reds to World Series title in 1990 and NLCS berth in 1995
- Made 12 all-star game appearances
- Won Roberto Clemente Award in 1993 and Lou Gehrig Award in 1994
- Won nine Silver Slugger Awards and three Gold Gloves
- Drafted by the Reds with the fourth overall pick in 1985
- Played on the 1984 U.S. Olympic Baseball team
- Played collegiately at the University of Michigan
- Grew up in Cincinnati and played for hometown team
- MLB Stats: .295 average, 2,340 hits, 1,329 runs, 379 stolen bases
The Ron Santo File
- Santo played 14 seasons with the Cubs and 1 with the White Sox
- Suffered from Type 1 diabetes throughout his career
- From 1963-1970 he averaged almost 29 homers and 106 RBI per season
- Won five straight Gold Gloves from 1964-1969
- Was selected to nine all-star teams
- In 1990, became broadcaster for the Cubs
- No. 10 was retired by the Cubs in 2003
- Santo died Dec. 2, 2010
- MLB Stats: .277 average, 342 homers, 1,331 RBI, 1,108 walks, 1,138 runs
The Tim McCarver File
- Played in big leagues from 1959-1980 for six teams, most notably the St. Louis Cardinals, for which he won World Series titles in 1964 and 1967
- Has called games locally for Phillies, Mets, Yankees and Giants
- Currently serves as FOX MLB color analyst alongside Joe Buck, a position he’s held since 1996
- Has called baseball games for all four U.S. television networks
The Bob Elliott File
- Has spent more than 30 years writing about baseball in Canada
- Has been a longtime columnist for the Toronto Sun since 1987
- Is now referred to as the “dean of a generation of Canadian sportswriters”
- Began his career as a writer for the Ottawa Citizen in 1970s
- Wrote “The Northern Game: Baseball The Canadian Way”
- Helped develop a website called the Canadian Baseball Network
- His grandfather Chaucer Elliott is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame Photo Roll
Tim McCarver and Bob Elliott.
Ron Santo’s two sons and daughter, alongside Craig Muder, the director of communications at the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Come back Sunday for more news and notes about the actual induction ceremony at Clark Sports Center. Topps will be reporting live from Cooperstown during induction weekend. To have an inside look at baseball history, check out the new Topps Pennant app today and follow us on Twitter @ToppsPennant.
-Chris R. Vaccaro