Nothing But Balls
Sports From a Different Perspective…

It Should Have Been Griffey

Growing up, I remember staying at my Grandma’s house and looking for my Uncle’s old baseball cards. One day, through my travels, I found a little publication called the The Home Run Book published by one of the baseball card companies. The book profiled the top home run hitters in baseball history. Having devoured it wholly. I learned who came after Willie Mays on the all time list. With 586 homes runs it was Frank Robinson. However, that era has been completely shattered and the stability that the book created no longer exists.With his 587th home run, Ken Griffey Jr. surpassed Frank Robinson, another great player that was overshadowed in his time. Junior in the summer of 1998 was second in that chase for a long time. McGwire (I am not here to talk about the past) led the chase nearly wire to wire, but there was another horse in the race other than Sammy (no speak English) Sosa. Up until Sosa had that amazing June, hitting 20 homers in a month, Griffey was second. By the end of the year he finished with 56, an astounding number if it were not that year.

At this point in Barry Bonds career, he had significantly less home runs than Griffey did. Then he went on a serious tear, becoming the toughest out in baseball. Now he is five away from the record and all the controversy and bad vibes surround the greatest record in sports. All of this would not make any difference if Griffey did not get injured three years in a row.

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(Because of Bonds failure to throw out the gimpy Sid Bream in the ’91 NLCS, I think he should not have been player of the decade.)

Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey were named co-player of the decade in the 90’s, and in my opinion Griffey should hold that honor singularly. Between 2001 and 2004 these two superstars went in two different directions. In 2001, Bonds went on to hit 73 home runs and became the best power hitter in baseball. How this occurred, I do not know and it does not matter at this point, but Griffey would have remained close in the chase, while being younger, if it was not for his hamstring.

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(If it were not for catches like this maybe Griffey would be breaking Hank Aaron’s record.)

Griffey was traded to his home town Cincinnati Reds in 2000, and managed to have a decent but below expectation season. Despite this he clubbed 40 homers and was near the top of the league. In 2001 through 2004 however, a series of injuries, many hamstring related, kept the kid out of the those years. Each of which Bonds hit 45 plus round trippers. Ever since this stretch Junior has not been the same. Some blame playing center field on the unforgiving surface in the King-dome for his injury problems which have led to the downturn in production.

The Sweetest swing in baseball is finally coming back into form this year. Both Bonds and Griffey made the starting National League outfield this year, mostly as a lifetime achievement award in my opinion. While not at the top of his game any more he has 24 dingers on pace for 40 or more.

Assuming in those three years Junior hit 40 each year that would be 120 more homers putting him past Mays and only a few behind Babe Ruth. Also, only being 37 years old he could possibly have four more years or more when he returned to Seattle in 2010 to take over the position that Edgar Martinez perfected for so many years. Bonds would have been done and Griffey could keep going. While there still is a chance that the Kid could obtain the record, in all likelihood it will not happen, staining the game forever.

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5 Responses to “It Should Have Been Griffey”

  1. jr was by far the best hitter of all time. his swing was perfect his hands and bat were so quick. i just cant get out why he would leave the city he grew up in for the reds??? dont get it.

    • He’s got ties to the Cincinnati. He grew up there and his father played for the Reds when they won World Series in 75 and 76.

      Griffey used to live in the same neighborhood in Orlando as golfer Payne Stewart. After Stewart’s death in a plane crash on October 25, 1999, Griffey started expressing a desire to live closer to his relatives in his hometown of Cincinnati. Not only did Griffey want to live closer but he wanted to be able to raise his kids, Trey and Taryn (Tevin wasn’t born at this time).

      He was a family man. Get it now?

  2. To Donovan Snow i agree with the perfect swing. Junior is loved here in Cincinnati more than you know. I dont know why people think he isnt and he didnt leave the city he grew up in for Cinncinnati because he went to Moeller High School which is a Catholic high school in Cincinnati

  3. Jr. became a man in Seattle… believe that. Take note, Cincy doesnt appreciate him like Seattle does. We love him and i hope he comes back. Hez 10 years older than me, hez the only hero i have. He came into the league when i was 8 and left when i was 19. I cried when he left. Hes the best player of all time in my opinion. Other than Mays, i dont know if therz another that was as good as Jr. He hit for power and batted over .300 until just recently, he had an arm, and won 10 gold gloves. Game over. Hez been hurt at the end of his career, but if people saw him they knew he was great. I hope he comes home to Seattle, where we love him no matter what. I might be wrong, but we bought out SafeCo to see him after 9 years. We still miss him and the whole world wants him back in Seattle, take a look at ESPN. Its like every player that was great, MJ in Chicago or Tyson killin fools before prison. People want to taste that feeling again. The feeling that you are watching greatness, that you can say i was there to see him there. If you doubt what im saying just think about how many people would go to a game where MJ would play. Lets say the Bulls had an exhibition against some euro team and MJ was gonna play for the Bulls one last time. Tell me you pay 10,000 to see that. Just Imagine.

  4. YUPP. I CRIED A LIL BIT WHEN HE LEFT TOO. USED TO IMMITATE HIS SWING WHEN I BATTED! HAHA. I WAS AT THE GAME WHEN HE BROKE HIS HAND IN CENTER FIELD. I ALMOST CRAPPED MYSELF. I WANTED TO LEAVE AFTER THAT. PS. YES I CRIED. BUT JUST A LIL BIT.


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