Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 1/9/12
The state of Michigan did not get completely shut out in the Baseball Hall of Fame vote, revealed Monday afternoon. Former University of Michigan player Barry Larkin, the longtime Cincinnati Reds shortstop, was the only player elected to the Hall of Fame by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Larkin earned 86.4 percent of the vote, jumping from 62.1 percent in last year's voting, the largest one-year increase since 1948. Two stars from the Tigers' 1984 championship team, Jack Morris and Alan Trammell, had significant increases but not enough to reach the 75 percent mark for election. It appears Morris' campaign is really gaining momentum. He went from 53.5 percent last year to 66.7 percent this year. Trammell saw his percentage grow from 24.3 percent to 36.8 percent. Larkin's election actually is good news for both Morris and Trammell. In Morris' case, he's 8.3 percentage points away from the magical 75 percent mark. Larkin made more of a leap than that in one year. Of course, Morris does have that cranky reputation to contend with, despite having mellowed in recent years. The other main issue some voters have with him is his career 3.90 ERA, which Morris addressed with longtime Detroit News Tigers beat writer Tom Gage. "The constant knock is how can you put a guy in with a 3.90 ERA," Morris told Gage. "I wish someone would have told me that when I was in Double-A ball, because I could have been leading the league in ERA for many years. I don't know if I would have won as many games as I did, but I could have had a heck of an ERA. "I never worried about that, though. I went out there to win the game and if, because of that, I'm fortunate enough to get into the Hall of Fame someday, that would be wonderful. Granted, I've wanted it as much as anybody and I want it now as much as I ever have. But there are no guarantees." If you look at the statistics for Larkin, a shortstop who played at the same time as Trammell, it has been well-documented that they have similar numbers. Trammell: 2,293 games, 1,231 runs, 2,365 hits, 185 home runs, 1,003 RBI, .352 on-base percentage, .285 batting average, four Gold Gloves. Larkin: 2,180 games, 1,329 runs, 2,340 hits, 198 home runs, 960 RBI, .371 on-base percentage, .295 batting average, three Gold Gloves. Of if you prefer the currently favored WAR (wins above replacement) stat, Trammell's is 66.9 and Larkin's is 68.9. Several baseball writers who are voters published their ballots, and quite a few voted for both Trammell and Larkin, like longtime writer Mel Antonen. "Biggest injustice on the ballot with 24.3 percent of the vote last season," Antonen wrote. "He's the American League version of Larkin. "He played in the offensive shadow of Cal Ripken Jr. and the defensive shadow of Ozzie Smith. Still, Trammell defined the 1980s Detroit Tigers, won the 1984 World Series MVP and finished with more hits than Larkin. Trammell helped revolutionize the shortstop position into an offensive force. He's got four years left on the BBWAA ballot to make the Hall. Tough call on whether he will make it." Based on the way voting trends are going, Morris looks as though he has a very good chance to be elected in the next year or two. Trammell, however deserving, will need some help.
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