Last year: received 62.1% of the vote
This is an easy one for me. In a lot of respects, Barry Larkin was baseball for me as a kid. He was one of, if not the best player on my favorite team for the majority of my formative years. Larkin was drafted by the Reds the year after I was born, and retired when I was twenty years old. Players spending their entire career with the same team is a rarity in the era of free agency, and even more rare when the player is a homegrown talent. Along with Pete Rose, Larkin is somewhat of a folk hero in Cincinnati, but it seems to me that he is slightly underrated outside of the Queen City.
Larkin spent the first half of his career overshadowed by Ozzie Smith's defensive wizardry (and gymnastic feats), and the second half of his career in an era when shortstops were showing impressive power. But, Larkin quietly went about his business and showed baseball fans that a slick fielding shortstop could also effectively swing the bat. During his peak (from 1988-2000) he had 8 seasons of +5 War, 11 All-star appearances, 9 Silver Slugger awards, 3 Gold gloves, an MVP award and a World Series ring.
Larkin was a true five-tool player, and it seems that the fact that he was so well rounded has actually hurt his candidacy for Cooperstown. There was not one thing Larkin did that made him stand out, which made him easier to overlook. He had great range, a great arm, could hit for both power and average, and he could steal a few bases. But, it was the sum of all these attributes that made him the great player that he was. Consider career WAR totals for modern era shortstops that played the majority of their career at short and you can see that Larkin is in some impressive company:
Alex Rodriguez - 112.5
Cal Ripken, Jr. - 99.7
Luke Appling - 84.7
Joe Cronin - 75.4
Derek Jeter - 74.4
Arky Vaughan - 74.3
Robin Yount* - 74.1
Barry Larkin - 70.6
Ozzie Smith - 70.3
Lou Boudreau - 69.8
Pee Wee Reese - 69.7
The two active players here (Jeter and A-Rod) are both presumptive shoo-ins to make it to Cooperstown, though by the time Rodriguez's contract with the Yankees is up he will not have the majority of his games at short. Everyone else on this list, with the exception of Larkin is already in the Hall of Fame. The consensus opinion seems to be that Larkin will join his peers this year and be enshrined among the greatest shortstops of all time. Personally, I couldn't be happier about it.
*Robin Yount very narrowly makes the cut on this list with only 51.79% of his games played at SS.