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November 16, 1995 - Image 15

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-16

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The Michigan Dailv - Thursdav. November 16. 1995 -15 x

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Former Wolverine named NL MVP
Larkin first shortstop in 33 years to win top National League honor

NEW YORK (AP) - Former
Michigan standout Barry Larkin was
the surprise choice as NL Most Valu-
able Player yesterday, beating out
Dante Bichette and Greg Maddux to
become the first shortstop to win the
award in 33 years.
Maddux, who won his fourth
straight Cy Young Award this week,
and Bichette, who led the league in
homeruns and RBI, were considered
the leading candidates.
But rather than pitching or power,
voters clearly looked at the all-around
contributions Larkin made on and off
the field to the NL Central champion
Cincinnati Reds and made him a con-
vincing choice.
Larkin, who hit .319 with 66 RBI
and 51 steals, is likely to win his
second straight Gold Glove next week
and was the team's clubhouse leader.
He was also the Reds' best player in
the postseason, although that perfor-
mance is not considered in the selec-
tion.
Larkin, who was on a cruise in
Mexico when the award was an-
nounced, received 11 first-place votes
and finished with 281 points. Bichette,

whose 40 homers and 128 RBI led the
Colorado Rockies to a wild-card play-
off spot, got six first-place votes and
had 251 points.
Maddux, 19-2
with a 1.63 ERA
0 , for the World
Series champion
Atlanta Braves,
got seven first-
place votes and
249 points. He is
the first pitcher
to finish as high
as third in the NL
MVP voting
Larkin since Los Ange-
les reliever Mike
Marshall in 1974.
"Ifyou look at sheer numbers, there
are guys who have more homers and
RBI," Reds second baseman Bret
Boone said. "But it's nice to see people
look at 'most valuable.' He was really
great on our team. He was our leader."
Dodgers catcher Mike Piazza was
fourth, getting three first-place votes
and 214 points. The top four finishers
were named on every ballot by mem-
bers of the Baseball Writers Associa-

tion of America. Ron Gant, Larkin's
teammate, received the only other
first-place vote.
Larkin is the first NL shortstop to
win the award since Maury Wills in
1962, the season he stole a then-record
102 bases. He is the sixth shortstop to
win the honor, joining Ernie 13anks
(1958-59), Dick Groat (1960) and
Marty Marion (1944).
Larkin is the first Reds player to be
named MVP since George Foster in
1977 and 11th overall. Joe Morgan,
Pete Rose and Johnny Bench also won
in the 1970s.
Along with leading the league in
homers and RBI, Bichette was third
in batting at .340. Some voters, how-
ever, may have discounted his big
numbers because he played in hitter-
friendly Coors Field.
Maddux, whose winning percent-
age was the best in history for starters
with at least 20 decisions, had the
highest finish for a starting pitcher
since Tom Seaver was runner-up in
1969. The last pitcher to win the NL
MVP was Bob Gibson in 1968 when
he had a 1.12 ERA, and some voters
have been reluctant to give the award

to a pitcher.
Larkin was the catalyst to the Reds'
early-season turnaround. During a 1-
8 start, Larkin called a team meeting
that many players credited toward the
push that made them division cham-
pions.
Late in the season, when the Reds
were struggling, another team meet-
ing called by Larkin spurred them on.
Larkin was a two-time first team
All-American for Michigan in 1984
and 1985 - the only time a Wolver-
ine has been given that honor twice.
He was also named Big Ten Player of
the Year twice and was named MVP
of the conference championships in
1983.
He ranks sixth on Michigan's all-
time hit list, sixth in homeruns, fifth
in stolen bases, seventh in batting
average and seventh in RBI despite
playing only three seasons in Ann
Arbor.
Larkin paced the team in batting
with a .363 average in 1984 and led
the Wolverines to a College World
Series berth in both 1983 and 1984 -
the last two appearances by a Michi-
gan team.

Former Wolverine Barry Larkin became Just the sixth shortstop to win the NL MVP.

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