Posted 7/22/12 at 10:45 AM

All charm and smiles, Barry Larkin hits the green in Cooperstown

Barry Larkin had the honor of being the first person to tee off at the first hole after the shotgun start at the Hall of Fame Golf Tournament.

“It went 340 right down the middle of the fairway!” Larkin called.

The rest of his foursome and the media gathered nearby laughed. After Larkin teed off, he was asked about his chances in the golf tournament.

“Well, I don’t know how [my opponents] are, but as you can see, I don’t have a scorecard, so I’m going to be under par today for sure!”

But this weekend won’t be all jokes for Larkin. Being inducted into the most hallowed halls in baseball is something the 19-year Reds veteran takes very seriously.

“When I was here about a month ago, I was really impressed with the place. It was my first time at the Hall of Fame,” Larkin said. “I didn’t expect it to be as thorough as it was. This time it’s a little more tangible because all of the Hall of Famers are here. It’s a little more, I guess, just a little more emotional this time.”

What is Larkin’s favorite part of the proceedings?

“Much like the 1990 World Series, [it’s] being able to celebrate it with the people from Cincinnati,” he said. “The fans were a big part of my success and they’ve been very supportive. So I felt a good way to give back to them is to create something a little special for them, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Meggie Zahneis, winner of the 2011 Breaking Barriers essay contest, earned the job of youth correspondent for in the fall of '11. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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