Johnson praises Hall electee Larkin

Johnson praises Hall electee Larkin

CINCINNATI -- Davey Johnson managed Barry Larkin for three years, from 1993-95, when the current Nationals manager was leading the Reds. Larkin won the National League MVP in 1995, when he hit .319 and stole 51 bases in leading the Reds to the Central Division title and an appearance in the NL Championship Series.

This summer, Larkin will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

"I've been asked the question 'Who's the best player I've ever managed?' and my answer is always Barry Larkin," said Johnson. "He's a complete player. He played one of the leading positions on the field, as far as I'm concerned, at shortstop. He could hit anywhere from one to three [in the lineup]. He stole bases whenever you needed him. He was great defensively, and led by example.

"He had a great year for me -- MVP -- and I can't think of another person better to be inducted into the Hall of Fame than Barry Larkin. I've managed a lot of great ones, but what he did and the way he played, he was arguably the best player I managed."

Larkin played 19 seasons for the Reds, his hometown team. He spent four seasons in Washington as a special assistant to former general manager Jim Bowden.