Editor’s note: ESPN2 will televise the Baseball Tonight Hall of Fame Special today at 3 p.m. ET, following the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA)’s 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame election announcement.
On the eve of what is perhaps the most historic Baseball Hall of Fame vote ever — signifying the first year that the “steroid era” players are eligible — ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst and Hall of Famer Barry Larkin provided an in-depth description about his fateful day last January and the final moments before finding out he would be headed to Cooperstown and baseball immortality.
Larkin on last year’s Baseball Hall of Fame announcement
“My wife and I decided we were going to stay home and wait to hear the news. My first two years on the ballot there was a bit of anxiety, but last year I knew I was trending towards the 75 percent threshold and I had heard from some baseball writers that I was probably going to get in, but I still didn’t really believe it. However, I was actually very calm about it.
“I remember having the ESPN camera crew at my house and that I would get a call at 1:30 p.m. if I was going to be inducted — 90 minutes before the announcement. Then 1:30 p.m. comes and goes and I get a call from my agent saying the announcement is delayed. I thought that was odd because now working at ESPN, I know how much preparation goes into the production of a show. Then, 2:30 p.m. comes and goes. I go from the kitchen to the family room to turn on the television to see the announcement, because at this point I’m thinking there’s no way in the world this call is going to come.
“Then, 2:50 p.m. comes and goes and I walk back to the kitchen. Finally at 2:54 p.m. I see my phone ring and I pick it up. I was asked how my day was, and I thought it was a prank phone call to be quite honest.
“Then, the person eventually identified himself, and said he was going to make my day a little bit brighter. That’s when SportsCenter caught my reaction. I was told I had received 86 percent of the vote. It was fantastic. I just felt like 86 percent of those 600 writers felt I was one of the best players in the history of the game — that’s pretty awesome.”