Sunday, August 11, 2013

Ken Griffey Jr...One of the Best

With the recent induction to the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame of Ken Griffey Jr., talk about where he stands all-time has started generating speed. This is no different on Facebook. My friend Mike tagged me in the following post related to Ken Griffey Jr.:
I love hearing people argue how A-Rod could have been the greatest baseball player ever or how Albert Pujols might become that. People of today's generation need to YouTube or Google Ken Griffey Jr. and see what the greatest baseball player ever actually looked like.
Now this got me thinking on Ken Griffey Jr. As I have mentioned in the past, his dad Ken Griffey Sr., was one of my (and my mom's favorite players) growing up. His son hit the scene in 1989 and took the Baseball world by storm in an era where we still hadn't had 24/7 sports coverage (I still remembering catching up on late nights on the weekends with the George Michael Sports Machine). Surprsingly now, Junior finished third in the 1989 American League Rookie of the Year award behind Gregg Olsen and Tom "Flash" Gordon. Junior would continue to develop into a helluva player that I found was pissing me off more and more as a Yankees fan.

Its well known that Junior has a dislike of the New York Yankees going back to his childhood days when he was yelled at by former Yankees Manager Billy Martin while his dad played for the Yankees and it seemed to be his motivating factor when playing against my team. That all came to a head (at least for me) in Game Five of the 1995 ALDS when he came around and scored the winning run to advance the Mariners in their first ever playoff series win. His big toothy grin under the pile of Mariners teammates pissed me off to no end but as history states the Yankees got the last laugh since they won three World Series in the years that Griffey finished playing in Seattle. So there Junior, take that. LOL.


Personal feelings aside, there's no denying that Junior is one of the best players of all-time. I won't say greatest but he's up there. Similar to how people say about Ted Williams in regard to his time missed due to his service to his country, imagine the numbers that Junior could have finished with if he had not missed a considerable time to injury. Where Junior averaged 140 games from 1989-1999 with Seattle, he averaged 110 games while in Cincinnati from 2000-2008. That's a decent amount of time lost per season. At first his injuries were due to playing with reckless abandon as we see Bryce Harper do with the Washington Nationals. Later it seemed that his injuries in Cincinnati had to do with a lack of conditioning. Still a line like the following is amazing (Courtesy of Baseball Reference.com):


Add to that one AL MVP (1997), six top-ten finishes in MVP voting, thirteen All-Star appearances, ten Gold Glove awards and seven Silver Sluggers awards. Definitely not shabby and good for a first-ballot entry to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown as a Hall of Famer in 2016.

Congrats Junior and thank you for everything you gave the game...even that big toothy grin under that pile in 1995. The game is better because of it.

Sisco Kid