09 June, 2008

Last of a Different Breed

Six hundred. Just stop and think about it for a moment. Babe Ruth. Willie Mays. Hank Aaron. Barry Bonds. Sammy Sosa. Ken Griffey Jr. There was a time that we thought he'd reach this plateau at a much younger age, but it doesn't lessen its value any. Ken Griffey Jr. has reached hallowed ground today. Ruth, Mays, and Aaron. That was the list for so very long. Now three more have reached that grand summit, but only one of those stands free of controversy and suspicion. Ken Griffey Jr.

His numbers are absolutely staggering, especially when considering the toll injuries have had upon him over the past 7+ seasons. Even missing such significant time Griffey has managed to climb to number 6 on the all-time list and will almost certainly climb to number 5 by season's end. He ranks nineteenth all-time in RBI, forty-sixth in runs scored, eighteenth in total bases, and twenty-first in runs created.
He won the AL MVP award in 1997, he's a10 time gold glove winner (all consecutive), a 13 time all-star, holds a .289 career batting average and ranks 78th all-time in adjusted OPS+. He was the premiere star of his generation, before injuries cut him short. He led his league in home runs 4 times, and was considered the best all around player in the game during his peak years; this at a time when Barry Bonds was playing.
There can be little doubt that Ken Griffey Jr. is a first ballot Hall-of-Famer. His unique brand of enthusiasm and graceful elegance renew memories of a treasured past; while controversies swirl and spoil many great achievements in the sport.
Six hundred. It may be a while before we see it again, and even longer before we feel this good about it.

No comments: