CINCINNATI -- After a series of goodbyes that started in
September, the Cincinnati Reds cut final ties with shortstop Barry
Larkin on Tuesday.
The Reds declined to offer their team captain salary arbitration
after a 19-year career with his hometown team.
Larkin, 40, had planned to retire after the 2004 season, but
batted .289 in 111 games, with eight home runs and 44 RBI, and
felt he played well enough to ask for one more contract.
Larkin was willing to accept a utility role, but the Reds said
they were not interested.
General manager Dan O'Brien told Larkin by telephone in October
that he would not be offered a contract.
Larkin won the NL Most Valuable Player award in 1995, the last
time the Reds made the playoffs. As captain, he was the
acknowledged leader in the clubhouse and frequent spokesman for the
Larkin is second on the Reds' career list in hits, trailing Pete
Rose. He's also second in doubles, runs and stolen bases.