As I wrote in the print editions earlier this week, I think this Ken Griffey Jr. story has a chance to have a real sad ending. If the M’s get off to a bad start, and Griffey gets off to a bad start, this honeymoon will be over in a hurry.
But Griffey, the best player I’ve ever seen when he was in his prime, could have one of those magical years. If anybody deserves one, he does. Since leaving Seattle, he’s missed an average of 60 games a season because of injuries. If he’d have stayed healthy and Barry Bonds didn’t use banned substances steroids, Griffey would be baseball’s all-time career home-run leader.
Follow me on this. I don’t pretend to be an Einstein and math was never my favorite subject, but these numbers make sense to me.
Bonds hit 762 homers, Hank Aaron 757, Babe Ruth 714 and Willie Mays 660. Griffey’s fifth on the list with 611 — 328 in his previous 11 seasons with the Mariners. I’d suggest that he would have hit at least 40 the next four seasons in Cincinnati (he hit 81 in 379 games during what should have beent he peak years of his career; he was 30, 31, 32, and 33). If you’re playing along with this line of thinking, I predict he would have averaged 30 bombs a year the next five years. He averaged 26.2.
Add it all up and I think Griffey would be sitting at 760 right now.
More about Griffey:
Gregg Doyle of CBSSports.com has an interesting take on Junior. In his quest to be liked, Doyle writes that Griffey has done some bizarre things, and his decision to pick Seattle over Atlanta might be the most bizzare thing he’s done yet.
Like a lot of you, Jim Caple, a Seattle native who writes for ESPN.com, is a big Ken Griffey Jr. fan. Read his piece here.
Check out what they’re saying in Atlanta.
In the end, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron helped Ken Griffey Jr. makes his decision to return to the Mariners.