Barry Larkin, Ron Santo inducted into the Hall of Fame

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It was Hall of Fame day yesterday and two new members joined the club: Barry Larkin and Ron Santo.

Larkin’s daughter sang the National Anthem and it brought tears to his eyes. Ron Santo’s widow, Vicki Santo, gave the acceptance speech in her late husband’s honor and it nearly did the same for everyone else.  At the end of the day, two worthy additions to the Hall took their proper place.

Larkin — who, from the podium yesterday said that his induction was “unbelievable – un-stinking believable!” — hit .295 for his career and over .300 nine times. He had surprising power for a shortstop who came up when he did and stole nearly 400 bases while playing rock solid defense. He led his team to a World Series championship one year and won an MVP in another and was a 12-time All-Star.

For his part, Santo was one of the best and one of the most underrated third basemen of his era.  He hit .277/.362/.464 over 15 seasons in what was mostly an extreme pitcher’s era while hitting 342 home runs and 1331 RBI.

Also honored yesterday: Tim McCarver received the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting, and Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun was given the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for sports writing.

Oh, and Larkin inspired a loud cheer and a round of applause when he mentioned Pete Rose. Which was fun.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.