I will be first to admit that before 1992 I thought of Griffey as nothing more than a wanna-be superstar living under my idol, Jose Canseco’s shadow. After all, in ’92 Ken had already played in 4 seasons and never even cracked 30 home runs. Everything changed in 1993 when Griffey Jr. hit 45 home runs, one more than Jose had ever hit and all by the age of 23. The next season he hit another 40, another feat Jose could never seem to do (have more than one great season in a row).
The most amazing numbers came from ’96-’00 when Griffey Jr. averaged 45 home runs a year including back to back 56 home run seasons. It’s hard to find anyone that could average that many home runs in 5 back to back seasons who isn’t on the known-Juicers list. Griffey Jr. was in 6th gear on his way to 500, 600, 700, and probably 800 home runs and then it all came crashing down.
Unfortunately, from ’02-’07 he has not been able to play a full season. It seems Jose and Griffey are much alike after all. Once age caught up with them so did the D.L Bug and just as it was almost guaranteed Jose would drop a ball in the outfield if you didn’t D.H him, Griffey Jr. is almost certain to get hurt some point in the long 162-game season these days.
Early in 2008 Ken will hit his 600th home run, a feat not many others have reached. On that day I will mourn. I will mourn because I know that he will not get much higher than 650 and that is a tragedy because in a better world Ken would be pushing 800 home runs in ’08 and carrying baseball’s all-time Home Run Crown.