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.

Mariners lose on walk-off wild pitch

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2019 has not been kind to the Seattle Mariners. After starting the year 13-2, the club has gone 41-71 since, earning last place in the AL West. To give credit where credit is due, however, the Mariners were on something of a roll, entering Wednesday afternoon’s series road trip finale against the Rays on a four-game winning streak. However, the M’s lost Wednesday’s contest in very depressing fashion.

Entering the top of the ninth inning, the Mariners trailed the Rays 5-3, but a solo homer by Daniel Vogelbach and a two-run triple by Mallex Smith sent them into the bottom half of the ninth leading 6-5. Manager Scott Servais sent Matt Magill — acquired from the Twins exactly one month ago — to the mound to close out the game.

Kevin Kiermaier greeted Magill rudely, starting the inning by swatting a game-tying solo home run to center field. Magill would then allow a single to Willy Adames and a double to Michael Brosseau before intentionally walking Ji-Man Choi to load the bases with no outs. Tommy Pham worked the count to 1-2 when Magill spiked a breaking ball in the dirt that catcher Omar Narváez had little hope of corralling. The ball skipped away and the Rays walked off 7-6 winners on a wild pitch, a very on-brand sentence for the 2019 Mariners.