Larkin, Santo Inducted as Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2012 on Sunday in Cooperstown

An estimated 18,000 fans join 44 returning Hall of Fame Members for Induction Day

July 22, 2012
Hall of Famer Barry Larkin and Vicki Santo, Ron Santo's widow, taking in each moment during the Induction Ceremony. (Milo Stewart, Jr./NBHOF Library)

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. The tableau of Reds red and Cubs blue worn by an estimated 18,000 fans on site Sunday made for a perfectly American celebration of the careers and lives of Barry Larkin and Ron Santo at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s 2012 Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown. 

Baseball’s most exclusive club welcomed its newest members, with the biggest names the game has ever known right there to see it. Forty-four Hall of Famers returned to the stage in Cooperstown on Sunday to welcome this year’s inductees, in front of a cheering crowd and a nation of supporters watching from home live on MLB Network. 

“This is unbelievable…Un-stinking believable!” shouted the normally reserved Larkin at the start of his acceptance speech.

Larkin spent his entire 19-year big league career with the Cincinnati Reds, and his exuberant response to the moment brought the crowd to its feet with applause. Later in his speech, Larkin was overcome with emotion while thanking his family – his cheeks glistening from tears throughout his time on the Clark Sports Center stage. 

The late Ron Santo was also inducted on Sunday, and his widow Vicki delivered a touching speech on his behalf. Vicki Santo urged the fans to celebrate Ron’s life – and to work for a cure for diabetes, the disease that Ron Santo battled for nearly his entire life. 

“This is not a sad day. This is a very happy day,” Vicki Santo said. “This is an incredible day for an incredible man. He had a wonderful life, and he was born to play baseball.” 

On a perfect summer day in Cooperstown, the highlights were numerous: 

**The 2012 Award Winners were honored on the Induction Ceremony stage, as J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner Bob Elliott (honored for writing) and Ford C. Frick Award winner Tim McCarver (honored for broadcasting) acknowledged the crowd. The Award Winners accepted their honors and delivered their speeches on Saturday during the second annual Hall of Fame Awards Presentation at Doubleday Field. 

**Former teammates and those representing the clubs of the inductees were on hand at the Induction Ceremony, including Cincinnati Reds owner Robert Castellini and general manager Walt Jocketty; former Reds players and Larkin’s teammates Tom Browning, Eric Davis and Dave Parker; Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and many members of the Cubs front office, along with former Cubs and Ron Santo’s teammates Glenn Beckert and Randy Hundley. Others on hand for Sunday’s celebration included former major leaguer Todd Zeile and actor Charlie Sheen.   

**Fans Hall of Famer Johnny Bench thrilled Reds and Cubs fans alike as he a Cubs jersey and did a spot-on impression of former Cubs broadcaster of Harry Caray before singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” 

**Cymber Larkin, an international recording artist who performs under the name CymCoLe, and the daughter of Barry Larkin, sang a soulful and moving rendition of the National Anthem.

**During the introduction of returning Hall of Famers, thunderous standing ovations came for Ferguson Jenkins, Ernie Banks, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez and Johnny Bench, among others. Forty-four Hall of Famers, not including the Class of 2012, returned to Cooperstown to watch the Induction Ceremony. 

Transcripts of the Induction Ceremony speeches of Barry Larkin and Vicki Santo, Ron Santo’s widow, are available online at www.baseballhall.org

The 2012 Hall of Fame Weekend concludes Monday with a Voices of the Game – Inductee Memories event at 10:30 a.m. at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown. This event will feature a discussion with Class of 2012 member Barry Larkin along with his Hall of Fame friends Tony Pérez and Billy Williams and is open to participants in the Hall of Fame’s Membership Program. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children, and are available at the Hall of Fame. For information on becoming a Member, please visit us online at www.baseballhall.org

The National Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2013 Induction Weekend will take place July 26-29, with the Induction Ceremony scheduled for July 28.    

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is open seven days a week year round, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. The Museum observes summer hours of 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. from Memorial Day Weekend until the day before Labor Day. From Labor Day until Memorial Day Weekend, the Museum observes daily regular hours of 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Ticket prices are $19.50 for adults (13 and over), $12 for seniors (65 and over) and for those holding current memberships in the VFW, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion and AMVets organizations, and $7 for juniors (ages 7-12). Members are always admitted free of charge and there is no charge for children 6 years of age or younger.  For more information, visit our Web site at baseballhall.org or call 888-HALL-OF-FAME (888-425-5633) or 607-547-7200.