It was a long time coming, but the Reds announced Tuesday that they’d retire Barry Larkin’s No. 11 in a pregame ceremony on Aug. 25.
Larkin will join former Reds players Johnny Bench (No. 5), Joe Morgan (No. 8), David Concepcion (No. 13), Tex Kluszewski (No. 18), Frank Robinson (No. 20) and Tony Perez (No. 24) in having his number retired. The team also retired numbers for managers Fred Hutchinson (No. 1) and Sparky Anderson (No. 10).
Larkin was a 12-time All-Star and a one-time MVP who spent his entire 19-year career with the Reds, so it was odd that they waited so long to put his number up with the team’s other greats. That the move comes the same month of his Hall of Fame enshrinement probably isn’t a coincidence. However, the Reds aren’t one of those teams that only retire the numbers of Hall of Famers; neither Kluszewski nor Concepcion has made it to Cooperstown.
It was announced earlier this month that 53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro signed a contract with the Cleburne Railroaders of the independent American Association, joining his son, former minor leaguer Patrick Palmeiro. The four-time All-Star went 0-for-8 to begin his stint with the club before launching a solo homer in the fifth inning last night. Check it out below.
If we’re being technical here, that was his first home run since July 30, 2005. He hit the homer off 28-year-old Trey McNutt, former prospect with the Cubs and Padres. Palmeiro made his major league debut in 1986, three years before McNutt was born.
Palmeiro told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic last December that he was thinking about a comeback, but he understandably didn’t garner any serious consideration from MLB teams. This comeback attempt might not lead anywhere, but hey, he gets to show that he can still mash while hitting in the same lineup with his son. Palmeiro did that once before with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in 2015, though it was just a one-game thing. As for the Railroaders, the national media attention can only help them.
Palmeiro is one of just six players in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, but he’s been a disgraced figure in the game since a failed drug test for performance-enhancing drugs in 2005. He dropped off the Hall of Fame ballot in 2014.