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CINNATI -- Aside from the standard hype that a duel between the Reds and the Cardinals might garner, this weekend will be a little extra special for the city as the Reds have dubbed it "Barry Larkin Weekend" at Great American Ball Park.
Larkin, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame last month, will be featured in a weekend of events, headlined by his No. 11 jersey retired Saturday afternoon.
"I'm going to feel so honored and proud," Larkin said. "When I got the call, the first thing that did come to my mind was sharing this with the people in Cincinnati. I'm the first native of Cincinnati to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, so it's a pretty significant thing. I want to share in that with the people here, because they were such a big part of my success."
The 12-time All-Star began giving back on Thursday night, with a meet-and-greet with Reds fans at the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, which was decked out with Larkin highlights, pictures and apparel.
Lines of Larkin's biggest fans soaked in the revamped gallery before getting the chance to meet and take a picture with the Hall of Famer.
"He was one of the first players that I actually knew who he was, so it's pretty cool," lifelong Larkin fan Eric Meyer said after meeting "The Captain" on Thursday. "I remember coming down to Riverfront Stadium and watching him down there. It was cool to get to meet him. It's a big deal for Cincinnati. The Reds are doing great and having him get in the Hall of Fame is just unreal."
The festivities continue on Friday night, with each fan receiving a commemorative Larkin print upon entry to the game. The whole Larkin family gets involved as his daughter Cymber will sing the national anthem before the opening pitch.
Friday night will be capped off with Larkin running the postgame fireworks show at Great American Ball Park with his favorite songs.
"It's always exciting to come back home," Larkin said. "It's a way for me to share my individual success with the people here in Cincinnati, which I felt was such a driving force behind my success here. It's just apropos that there's a chance to do this. This is a great culmination to a great summer."
On Saturday, Larkin officially has his number retired in front of an already sold-out crowd.
"He deserves it. I mean, he's the best shortstop in my lifetime and the best shortstop in Reds history," said Joe Menninger, who could make a very strong case for being Larkin's biggest fan. "My favorite team was the 1990 team. I remember coming to the World Series with my dad and now seeing my favorite player in the Hall of Fame, it's just so cool. I love it. I'll tell you what, [he's] definitely the best."
Former players and teammates, including Joe Morgan, Dave Parker, Buddy Bell, Eric Davis, Mariano Duncan, Rob Dibble, Billy Doran, Ron Oester and Bret Boone, are all slated to attend Saturday's ceremony to honor Larkin, whose No. 11 will forever be remembered in Cincinnati.
"To be up on the walls with all the guys I idolize is a fabulous thing," Larkin said. "It's just amazing. It's absolutely amazing. The fact that my number is going to be up there is just fantastic."