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This Day in Reds History: Larkin lassoes MVP award

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On this day in Reds history, Barry Larkin was named NL MVP.

Matthew Stockman

On this day in 1875, former Red Johnny Kling was born in Kansas City, MO.

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On this day in 1896, the Reds sent righty Chauncey Fisher, shortstop Germany Smith, and $1,000 to the Brooklyn Bridegrooms (Dodgers) for shortstop Tommy Corcoran.

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On this day in 1995, the BBWAA named Barry Larkin as the NL MVP. Did you know that Larkin didn't lead the league in a single offensive category in 1995? How often has the MVP not led the league in something? I honestly don't know. Willie Stargell didn't do so in 1979 when he was co-MVP with Keith Hernandez, but that was a weak selection. (Hernandez led the league in runs, doubles, and batting average.) I'm not criticizing the selection of Larkin, but I would think MVP seasons without any black ink are rare.

Larkin, amazingly enough, never led the league in any offensive category. It's actually not that uncommon for Hall of Fame-type players to have very low black ink totals in the expansion era. Carlos Beltran, who I think is a first-rate player, has led the league in games played once and in nothing else. I don't think David Wright* is a Hall of Famer yet, but he is an MVP-type talent, and he has never led the league in a notable statistical category. (He has led the league in sacrifice flies twice.) Chase Utley** led the league in runs in 2006 and hit by pitch on three occasions, though the latter is not a glamour stat.

*When you think about it, David Wright has many similarities with Barry Larkin. Both are good at all aspects of the game -- hitting, fielding, and baserunning. Both have always been known as stand-up guys. Both were/are the face of their respective franchises. It looks as if Wright could retire as a Met, which would make him a one-franchise player like Larkin.

**How great is Chase Utley? His career OPS+ is 126. Brandon Phillips' single-season best OPS+ is 118.

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On this day in 1996, the Reds signed utility player Lenny Harris.

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The finest muffins earned the point yesterday. Hugh Nicol holds the major league record for stolen bases in a season, though the rules at the time allowed a player to earn a steal by taking the extra base on another player's hit.

Barry Larkin posted a 134 OPS+ in 1995, which was good for third among Cincinnati's regulars. Who led the team with a 155 OPS+?

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