Griffey a rarity in a cynical age

My thoughts on Ken Griffey who retired last week:

As I read through some of articles about Griffey’s retirement, I noticed many had an inset of the top ten homerun hitters of all time.  Griffey lands fifth on that list with 630… a notable accomplishment indeed.  But as I read through the list, it occurred to me how rare Griffey really was.  This top ten list is scandal-ridden.  If some of these players weren’t involved in some scandal or suspected of wrong-doing, others were out-and-out jerks.

Rank Player HR
1 Barry Bonds 762
2 Hank Aaron 755
3 Babe Ruth 714
4 Willie Mays 660
5 Ken Griffey 630
6 Sammy Sosa 609
7 Alex Rodriguez 591
8 Frank Robinson 586
9 Mark McGwire 583
10 Harmon Killebrew 573

 

There are exceptions.  Hank Aaron, of course.  As far as I know, Harmon Killebrew was just guilty of having thick arms.  And Frank Robinson did have the gun thing in 1961 but I think I’ll give him a pass.

True, some players’ “scandals” are pretty minor by today’s standards.  But in the day, MLB took Willie Mays and his casino dealings very seriously.  

And yeah, I’m putting Babe Ruth in the jerk category. 

Point being, there aren’t many players like Ken Griffey Jr let alone players of his caliber.  And when things went a little south for Junior, he didn’t resort to methods outside the game to embellish his talents. 

Indeed, the worst we can say about Griffey is that he took a nap during a game.  Embarrassing.  I submit it is embarrassing certainly not of Griffey but for the media and those who enabled that circus.  For a man who gave his life to the game the way he did, he deserved a few winks. 

I’ll close this out by posting a few quotes about Junior sent to me by dear reader DonS.  These quotes are by respected members of the baseball community who are most qualified to speak on the topic of Ken Griffey Junior. 

“To play with him is a treasure I will keep deep in my heart,  I have played 19 years in professional baseball and I can say he was one of my best teammates and my best friend.”

-Ichiro Suzuki

“It’s like winning the lottery of baseball,  You get to play with one of the greatest.”

-Chone Figgins

“Junior was one of the finest young men I’ve ever had the opportunity to manage,  When we were in Seattle together, I believe he was the best player in baseball and it was truly an honor to be his manager.”

-Lou Piniella

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