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Weekly MLB Report: Ron Santo and Barry Larkin Lead Hall of Fame Class of 2012

Barry Larkin
Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. welcomed its 2012 class on Sunday, while pennant races tightened in the Central division of both leagues. Here’s what’s happening in Major League Baseball:

Ron Santo and Barry Larkin Inducted Into the Hall of Fame

Barry Larkin and the late Ron Santo were the only players inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York on Sunday. Larkin, who played his entire 19-year career with the Reds, was the only player elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Santo, whose plaque was accepted by his wife Vicki, was chosen by baseball’s Golden Era Committee

A 12-time National League All-Star shortstop, Larkin was the cornerstone of the Reds’ franchise from 1986 to 2004. He was the NL Most Valuable Player in 1995. A nine-time Silver Slugger Award winner, Larkin was a member of the Cincinnati team that won the 1990 World Series.

A nine-time NL All-Star third-baseman, Santo had 342 homers and 1,331 RBIs during his career from 1960 to 1974 with the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox. A well liked Cubs broadcaster, Santo suffered from diabetes, enduring leg amputations and other treatments. He died of bladder cancer in December of 2010, a year and one month prior to becoming the 16th third baseman elected to the hall.

On Saturday, former player and long-time analyst Tim McCarver was given the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters, while Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun was presented with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for sports writing.

Cabrera’s 300th Homer Helps Tigers Sweep White Sox Out of First Place; Reds, Pirates and Cardinals Stay Hot

Miguel Cabrera hit two home runs on Sunday, including the 300th of his career, and the Detroit Tigers (52-44) completed a three-game sweep of the White Sox (50-45), knocking Chicago out of first place in the American League Central. Detroit now leads Chicago by 1.5 games.

In the National League Central, the three teams at the top of the division finished the weekend on winning streaks. The division-leading Cincinnati Reds (55-40) won their fourth straight game by beating the Brewers, 2-1, on Sunday. Bolstered by the hot hitting of Pedro Alvarez, the second-place Pittsburgh Pirates (54-40) completed a sweep of the Miami Marlins, which gave them five straight victories. Defending champ St. Louis (50-45) beat the Chicago Cubs behind Lance Lynn to extend their win streak to four.

Play of the Week: Ben Revere, Minnesota Twins

Minnesota Twins’ outfielder Ben Revere has made his share of spectacular plays in the outfield this season. On Monday night, Revere robbed Baltimore’s Adam Jones on this incredible diving catch.

Upcoming Series to Watch: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants

The top two teams in the National League West renew their longstanding rivalry during a three-game series in San Francisco this weekend. After sputtering earlier this season, the Giants (53-42) have been more consistent lately while overtaking Los Angeles in the division. San Francisco ace Tim Lincecum also has turned his dismal season around, allowing just two earned runs in his last 15 innings. Winners of four-in-a-row through Sunday, the Dodgers (52-44) finally have outfielders Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier healthy and back in the starting lineup.

Fantasy Player to Add: Chris Young, Arizona Diamondbacks

While teammate Jason Kubel has slugged his way up the NL home run charts by hitting six homers in five games, Arizona outfielder Chris Young is probably the more attainable fantasy pick-up. Young is 5-for-15 over his last four games with four doubles, a home run and six RBIs. As pitchers consider pitching more carefully to Kubel, Young should get added RBI opportunities.

Fantasy Player to Drop: Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox

Over his past three starts, Jon Lester’s earned run average is a staggering 15.32. The Boston Red Sox hurler is not pitching like an ace, as he yielded four home runs to Toronto batters on Sunday. Lester’s next start is scheduled against the Yankees on July 28. Given New York’s powerful lineup, it’s a good time to sit Lester on your fantasy bench.

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