Dave Parker turned out to be a visionary. Dave Concepcion didn’t.
Parker was playing right field for Cincinnati in 1984 when the Reds visited Detroit for an exhibition game against the Tigers at Tiger Stadium. Barry Larkin, a Cincinnati native, was the star shortstop at University of Michigan and tagged along with Wolverines equipment manager Jon Falk for the short trip from Ann Arbor.
Falk got Larkin a clubhouse pass. Parker, also a Cincinnatian, grabbed Larkin by the hand and walked him across the clubhouse to the locker to where Concepcion, the Reds’ shortstop, was dressing.
“Dave said, ‘This is Barry Larkin, he’s from Cincinnati and he’s going to take your job,’” Larkin recalled during Sunday’s National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum induction ceremony.
Larkin went on to become one of the greatest shortstops in baseball history and was one of two players inducted into the Hall on Sunday along with the late Ron Santo, the former Chicago Cubs’ star third baseman and legendary broadcaster.
Larkin, now an analyst for ESPN, spent his entire 19-year career with the Reds from 1986-2004, hitting .295 with 198 home runs, 960 RBIs, 2,340 hits and 379 stolen bases. He was the National League’s MVP in 1995 and was selected to 12 All-Star Games while winning nine Silver Slugger awards and three Gold Gloves.
Santo was inducted posthumously as he died Dec. 2, 2010 at age 70. Santo hit 342 homers, played in nine All-Star Games and won five Gold Gloves.