COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 22: Barry Larkin gives his speech at Clark Sports Center during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 22, 2012 in Cooperstown, New York. Larkin played his entire 19 year major league career with the Cincinnati Reds, compiling a .295 average, 2,340 hits, 1,329 runs, 198 home runs, 960 runs batted in and stole 379 bases. He was named to 12 All-Star games and was the 1995 National League MVP. Larkin was also a member of the 1990 World Series championship team. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Hide Caption

Barry Larkin: Drug cheats do not belong in Hall of Fame

a a a a
Share this story

NEW YORK (AP) — Barry Larkin wants to keep baseball's most exclusive club clean.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame last summer after a 19-year career with the Cincinnati Reds, Larkin told The Associated Press in a phone interview Wednesday that players who cheat shouldn't receive baseball's highest individual honor.

"I think if you cheated, no, you don't deserve it because I know how difficult it was for me to get there and how difficult it was for me just to compete on an everyday basis," Larkin said. "I think if you cheated I think you made a decision and I don't think you belong."

Larkin was in New York to sign items that will be auctioned off as part of Steiner Sports' 25th anniversary. All the proceeds of the online auction will go to charities that are supporting families affected by Superstorm Sandy.

The 1995 NL MVP was speaking about a month ahead of the voting results for next year's Hall class. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa are all up for selection for the first time.

Ultimately, Larkin thinks the players who used performance enhancers will be kept out of Cooperstown just as Pete Rose has been denied admission because he is banned for life for gambling on the sport.

"I look at what has happened with Pete Rose. Pete Rose is not a Hall of Fame player, banned from baseball. But if you go up to the Hall of Fame all of his records, his bats, everything in is represented in the Hall of Fame — 4,256 (hits)," Larkin said. "I see a very similar thing happening with guys that are associated with or been accused of using steroids. I think they will recognize their accomplishments but I don't think those players will be admitted to the Hall of Fame."

Larkin spent nearly his entire career playing in the Steroids Era. And he doesn't want to jump to conclusions about the stars he played against. The three-time Gold Glove shortstop would like to see baseball offer definitive guidance on who has done performance enhancers and who has not before admonishing them.

"There can't be this hearsay. If you can prove it, then that's what it is," said Larkin, who will manage Brazil in March's World Baseball Classic. "If you can't prove it you're innocent until proven guilty."

These days, the 12-time All-Star discusses the dangers of steroid use with many of the young players he helps support through his Barry Larkin Charitable Foundation.

With a team in New Jersey, the Jersey City Reds, and two more on the way, one in Orlando — where he currently lives — and another in his hometown of Cincinnati, Larkin has ample opportunity to dissuade young athletes from using illegal substances.

"We talk about not cheating, we talk about shortcuts," Larkin said. "These kids are impressionable. They're very aware."

Copyright Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More Reds News
What baseball team has the cheapest beer?
What baseball team has the cheapest beer?

With the summer heat coming, many baseball fans will be reaching for their favorite brew to keep cool. However, Cincinnati Reds fans may be…

Reds ease by struggling Pirates 4-1
Reds ease by struggling Pirates 4-1

Johnny Cueto tossed his second three-hitter against the Pittsburgh in a week and the Cincinnati Reds eased past the struggling Pirates 4-1 on…

Davis slam leads Pirates over Reds 6-5
Davis slam leads Pirates over Reds 6-5

Seeing Ike Davis hit a grand slam against the Reds Monday night was like deja vu all over again.

Reditorial Cartoon: Roller coaster first 3 weeks
Reditorial Cartoon: Roller coaster first 3 weeks

The highs, the lows, the "what the hecks?!" of being a Reds fan so far during the 2014 season.

Homer Bailey, Reds win again at Wrigley, 8-2
Homer Bailey, Reds win again at Wrigley, 8-2

Homer Bailey pitched six scoreless innings at friendly Wrigley Field for his first win of the season and Jay Bruce homered and…

Cingrani, Reds struggle in 8-4 loss to Cubs
Cingrani, Reds struggle in 8-4 loss to Cubs

Darwin Barney and Welington Castillo hit two-run homers and Mike Olt added a solo shot as the Chicago Cubs broke out of…

Alfredo Simon leads Reds over reeling Cubs 4-1
Alfredo Simon leads Reds over reeling Cubs 4-1

Alfredo Simon lowered his ERA to 0.86, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Chicago Cubs 4-1 Friday for their 16th win in their last 17…

Phillips exits Reds' game because of back spasms
Phillips exits Reds' game because of back spasms

Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips left Friday's game against the Chicago Cubs because of back spasms.

Reds' Chapman cleared to throw batting practice
Reds' Chapman cleared to throw batting practice

Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman has been cleared to throw batting practice for the first time since he was hit in the face…

Reds put worst start in two decades behind them
Reds put worst start in two decades behind them

Although the Reds are three games under .500, Cincinnati's season is just getting started.