Barry Larkin and Ron Santo, who became synonymous with the teams that originally drafted them, will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Larkin played his entire 19-year career with the Cincinnati Reds, and Santo, who died in 2010, played 14 of his 15 big league seasons with the Chicago Cubs. In his final season, 1974, Santo played across town for the Chicago White Sox.
Larkin nearly ended up in another uniform, too — the Dodgers’.
In 1999, the Dodgers and Reds were so close to a deal that would have brought Larkin to Los Angeles that he was actually given a uniform.
It happened when the Reds were in L.A. for a series.
“The clubhouse kid comes over to me and gives me a jersey with ‘Larkin’ on the back, and it was a Dodger jersey,” Larkin, who retired at age 40 after the 2004 season, told the Associated Press. “I asked him, ‘What is that? Do you have somebody named Larkin in your franchise?’ He said, ‘No. It’s for you. We were that close to a deal and they had told us to make up the jersey because the press conference was going to take place in a couple of days and they wanted to make sure that we were prepared for it.’”
Said Larkin: “I had no idea. I had no clue.”