Hall Of Famer Barry Larkin Admits His Own Son Didn't Play Baseball Past Age 6

Barry Larkin has been in the Hall of Fame for a decade now after a lengthy, highly decorated career with the Cincinnati Reds.

His accomplishments include a World Series in 1990, MVP award and multiple Gold Gloves and Silver Slugger awards.

Yet, even he struggled to keep his son interested in baseball past a very young age.

Larkin discussed during an interview with Fox News:

"The reality was all of his buddies were playing basketball and football. That’s where he migrated. He wanted to play where his friends were and where he was comfortable. That’s just the reality of it."

Another Hall of Fame player, legendary New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, agreed with Larkin's assessment about other sports.

He also spoke to Fox News about baseball's challenges compared to the NFL or NBA:

"There’s a process to play baseball, and there is a system in going through the minor league system and going through all that stuff. Boys start thinking ‘OK, I have this ability to play baseball or basketball or football. If I’m pursuing football, I can play in the NFL quicker than if I start playing baseball"

Rivera continued: "Or basketball — if I’m talented enough, I can be drafted, and I can be playing NBA basketball within a year or two. The boys trying to navigate through that, and the ones that are playing baseball is because they really, really, really have passion for the game of baseball, and they stay with baseball."

According to Rivera, Latin players have overwhelmingly picked baseball because they're familiar with it: "We don’t know how to play football," the all-time great closer said. "Basketball is taking a little bit more, and soccer is taking a little bit more of that chunk of it. But they see baseball like, ‘We’re gonna go through the system, and we’re gonna take our time. And we’re gonna go to the big leagues.’ That’s why you see a lot of players from Latin countries versus African American players, because they figure we have talent enough to be able to play this sport, and I will be making money quicker than baseball."

Larkin and Rivera Team Up

The two former stars have recently combined to start a professional baseball league in South Asia to try and increase participation in countries like India.

Larkin told Fox News that he and Rivera can bring their vast experience to young players in hopes that they can increase the level of instruction there:

"I think, sporadically, there is baseball being played in these different countries. The question is what is the information, who's teaching them, what information are they getting?" Larkin added. "So, obviously, what Mariano and I bring is very, very high-level curriculum that's able to be dumbed down for whatever effort level it is. That really is the biggest thing."

He was also asked about one of the storylines brought up around the World Series, namely the lack of U.S. born black players participating.

"It’s poignant, the fact that there is not one African American participating in the World Series," Larkin lamented. "I think it is great that it was pointed out, and Major League Baseball, to their credit, is doing stuff to address that. But, obviously, it’s a participation – just a numbers game. More minorities that will participate, more specifically African American players that will participate, there’s gonna be a greater chance that they will be playing on a team that could possibly play in a World Series. 

Larkin is right that if more African American players play in MLB, there will be more chances to make World Series rosters.

But there are black players in the World Series, they just don't happen to be born in the United States.


Not to mention that multiple U.S. born black players didn't make the rosters for various different reasons.

Larkin's own son provides an example of the inherent challenges involved too. Far from some grand policy flaw of MLB's causing a lack of black players, some of it is unavoidable societal dynamics.

When the son of a Hall of Famer loses interest that quickly, you know there's a lot of work to be done.

Written by
Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, author, and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, traveling, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog. Follow him on Twitter @ianmSC