Batting practice ends for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos and Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin heads off the field, walking alongside one of the young prospects in the Cincinnati Reds organization.
One can only wonder what the conversation topic is between a legend and a player who hopes to one day be a legend.
Perhaps they are talking about how great the weather is on a sun-splashed spring afternoon. Or maybe their discussion is a little more serious, one that details the ins and outs of what it takes to make a successful climb to Major League Baseball.
Larkin is in his third season as a roving hitting instructor for the Reds. While his job title implies he is there to teach players about thriving at the plate, he does so much more.
“One reason I am here is to share my experiences with guys so that they don’t have to go through some of the trial and error I had to go through as a player,” Larkin said. “Our organization has done a good job of bringing back former players to help re-establish the legacy of winning. When I talk to guys, I tell them about how we were able to win and the pitfalls they can avoid to be successful.”
Larkin retired as one of the greatest of all time in 2004. He spent his entire 19-year Major League career in his hometown of Cincinnati, winning a World Series with the Reds in 1990.
With more than 2,300 hits and a career batting average of .295, the 12-time all-star and 1995 National League MVP knows a thing or two about what it takes to succeed at the highest level and never hesitates to give hitters pointers.
“I tell guys in order to play in the big leagues, you have to hit the fastball,” Larkin said. “We want them to take a more aggressive approach at the plate and hold them accountable for it. We want them to execute and apply the things we ask them to do in spring training. An aggressive mentality is one of those things.”
Read the full article in the June 1 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online at navarrepress.com for as little as $38 per year.