Monday, June 09, 2008

Griffey hits 600

Ken Griffey Jr. has made it to 600. At ESPN, Tim Kurkjian reflects on Griffey in his prime--a prime that we in Seattle had the privilege of watching. Seeing an ESPN clip of Griffey ("the Kid") homering in the Kingdome brought me back to my baseball childhood. I thought I was 13 again! (If you don't feel it, you need to look at this).

It's sad to reflect that Griffey, out of the Mariners' great three (he along with Randy Johnson and Alex Rodriguez), was the only one to really be honest about his intentions--he signed with the Reds, his hometown team, for below market value--and he's been the one to be the most screwed by the situation. While A-Rod got $250m and eventually made his way to New York, and Randy got his rings too (and some Cy Youngs), Griffey just ran into injury and disappointment. He was 30 his first season in Cincinnati (2000) and the best part of his career was over.

The Reds have just one winning season during his time--that first season, 2000--and no playoff appearances. That's certainly partially due to Griffey's injuries. He's reached 500 at-bats only twice in eight full seasons so far. Strangely, he was never seriously injured in Seattle, bar his freak wrist injury on his center-field catch in 1995. Meanwhile, Griffey's seven best seasons in park-adjusted OPS all occurred in Seattle. His best season in Cincinnati (by OPS+ standards), and the eighth-best in his career, was 2003, when he had only 166 at-bats; his best "full" season was 2005, as he managed 491 at-bats, hitting .301/.369/.576 for a 144 OPS+.

That's all there is to this reflection... congratulations to Junior, and may there be many more left.

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