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Ken Griffey Jr. is retiring? Impossible!

The greatest second-generation player in the history of the Great Game -- but only the second-greatest player born in tiny Donora, Penn. -- has apparently decided to call it quits.

Once considered the inevitable successor to Hank Aaron, The Kid "stalled" at 630 dingers. Anyone ever see him play live? Share your memories, live or otherwise, of Ken Griffey Jr. here on Da Box.

Thanks for 22 wonderful seasons, Junior.

So long, Junior | 20 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mick Doherty - Wednesday, June 02 2010 @ 08:31 PM EDT (#216081) #

In his prime, one of the ten best five-tool outfielders in the history Major League Baseball. take away the injuries, he'd have been one of the ten best players, period.

 

TheyCallMeMorty - Wednesday, June 02 2010 @ 09:40 PM EDT (#216084) #
"The greatest second-generation player in the history of the Great Game."

PEDs or not Mr. Bonds might have something to say about that.
Dave Till - Thursday, June 03 2010 @ 07:13 AM EDT (#216099) #
Two Griffey-related links for your enjoyment:

- From The Onion - Nation to Ken Griffey Jr.: 'We Wish It Were You Hitting 756 Home Runs'
- Joe Posnanski's blog entry: 600 Words For Junior

Chuck - Thursday, June 03 2010 @ 07:28 AM EDT (#216100) #

The greatest second-generation player in the history of the Great Game.

Josh Roenicke's career isn't over yet.

Dave Till - Thursday, June 03 2010 @ 08:07 AM EDT (#216101) #
PEDs or not Mr. Bonds might have something to say about that.

If you use just raw stats as a measurement, Barry was a better player than Junior. But if you use "helped teams win" as a measurement - factoring in measurements such as temperament - I'm not so sure.

By the end of his career, Bonds had virtually no friends in baseball. Griffey apparently vastly improved the clubhouse chemistry in his last go-round in Seattle; he was so popular that his teammates carried him off the field on the final day of the 2009 season. And he was still in the major leagues basically because people really liked him.

If you could have either player in his prime, I'd probably consider going with Griffey. Any difference in performance between the two would be offset by the effect that Junior would have on his teammates.
Gerry - Thursday, June 03 2010 @ 09:00 AM EDT (#216102) #
My memories of Junior are seeing at least two, and maybe more, long home runs at the Dome, as it was then, when Junior was in his prime with Seattle.  Junior's swing has inspired many of todays left handed hitters, and probably a lot of guys who are in the majors now.  In his prime he was special.
Anders - Thursday, June 03 2010 @ 11:34 AM EDT (#216118) #

If you use just raw stats as a measurement, Barry was a better player than Junior. But if you use "helped teams win" as a measurement - factoring in measurements such as temperament - I'm not so sure.

If you could have either player in his prime, I'd probably consider going with Griffey. Any difference in performance between the two would be offset by the effect that Junior would have on his teammates.

With respect, this isn't even remotely close. Bonds was the best player in his league perhaps 10 times, while Griffey was at most 3 times. Make what you will of the steroids, but Bonds was great before Griffey, as great at the same time as Griffey, and phenomenal after Griffey had passed into the merely good, then poor phase of his career. I suppose defense falls in Griffey's favour, but Bonds was a better fielder than he is given credit for, and Griffey a worse one (albeit still good).

Lots of baseball players have been jerks; it doesnt mean that Enos Slaughter was a better player than Ty Cobb though. Furthermore, as nebulous as "helped teams win" is as a concept, its not even true in this case by any objective evaluation. Griffey's teams, in his career, made the playoffs twice and finished about .500 7 times, winning 90 games once. Bond's teams finished above .500 13 times, made the playoffs 7 times and won 90 games 7 times.

Not to take anything away from Jr., but Barry Bonds, warts aside, was a phenomenal and almost unmatched baseball player. And not that one should put too much stock in these things, but he had 90 WAR more in his career than Griffey, which on a per season basis was roughly the difference between Albert Pujols and Marco Scutaro last year.  


Mike Green - Thursday, June 03 2010 @ 02:23 PM EDT (#216135) #
Right. 

Let's see where Griffey fits on the all-time CFers. Cobb, Mays, Speaker, Mantle, DiMaggio were pretty clearly better.  Duke Snider and Jim Edmonds would be clearly behind him.  The sixth best centerfielder is what he was. Even if he had stayed healthy, I don't really see him as better than any of the five all-time greats. 

whiterasta80 - Thursday, June 03 2010 @ 03:15 PM EDT (#216140) #
Junior's swing is still the benchmark to which I measure every other swing. While I certainly got to see Olerud and Green's swings much more, they still weren't quite as perfect as Griffey's in my mind.

Re: Being Clean. The true benefit of steroids (in my mind) has always been the ability to recover from injury faster and therefore play more games. In that sense I actually feel bad for Junior, who stayed clean but struggled through injuries his whole career. Barry, Mark, ARod, Sammy, and Roger chose the easy route and were rewarded with the better stats. Its tough to say that you "wish someone took steroids" but it certainly would make the case for Griffey being the best player of his generation easier. While many of us don't need statistical convincing, I would argue that the next generation of fans will!

I guess he can take solace in the fact that he has a normal sized head and will live past 57.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, June 03 2010 @ 03:21 PM EDT (#216142) #
I would argue that Griffey was better than Mantle, Speaker and possibly Dimaggio. I also had a smile at Jim Edmonds being in that conversation but not Kirby Puckett or Dale Murphy.

That said, I only ever saw Junior play. I just finished a post arguing that you can't always go by statistics, so if someone has seen all of them play then I'm open to convincing.

I'll be particularly impressed if someone saw Cobb and Speaker play yet knows how to use the internet.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, June 03 2010 @ 03:23 PM EDT (#216144) #
Actually I take that back, I seem to have slept on much of Jim Edmonds career. I still take Puckett over him, but its not the landslide I made it out to be... apologies.
Mike Green - Thursday, June 03 2010 @ 04:25 PM EDT (#216151) #
Griffey better than Mantle?  Um, no.  Mantle was much faster, hit for more power, had much better strike zone judgment and hit for a better average.  He probably was a better fielder too.  The one criticism of Mantle is that his career was prematurely derailed by injury, which is the one thing that he shares with Griffey. 

Just to give you a flavour of how big the difference was- compare the 1997 Mariners with the 1956 Yankees.  Those were arguably the best seasons of Griffey and Mantle.  Griffey was probably the best player on that Mariner club, but he had pretty amazing support- Alex Rodriguez, Edgar Martinez and Randy Johnson for starters.  The team went 90-72 and went out meekly in the LDS.  Mantle towered over that Yankee club, which nonetheless went 97-57 and won the World Series.  You can pick other seasons from the Mariners of the 90s and the Yankees of the 50s/early 60s, and see it.

dogbus - Thursday, June 03 2010 @ 04:34 PM EDT (#216153) #

Griffey was always one of my favourite players growing up.  My best memory of him was the first game I ever went to see at the Dome.  I was 12 or 13 years old and the Jays were playing the Mariners (obviously).  My dad always took us to the games early to watch batting practice and I remember during the Mariner's batting practice, Griffey standing out in centre field and throwing balls straight up towards the (closed) roof.   I remember thinking that was the coolest thing ever and wishing I could throw straight up with that much power.  In retrospect I'm not entirely sure what practicle use that skill would have, but it was very cool. 

As a kid, I collected everything Griffey.  My prime baseball card collecting years were 1989->1993 and I"ve got every Griffey card from that time that I could find.  Upper Deck was so cool!

Mick Doherty - Thursday, June 03 2010 @ 06:52 PM EDT (#216156) #

Mantle ... had much better strike zone judgment and hit for a better average.

Mike, I was so positive you were wrong on this -- I never saw Mantle, obviously, but had several long looks at Griffey and knew Mickey's reputation for frequent strikeouts -- that I went to the greatness of BaseballReference.com to dig up the stats that would prove you wrong.

  • Mantle: .298 BA, 1710/1733 K/BB
  • Griffey: .284 BA, 1779.1312 K/BB

Which I think distinctly proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that, well, um, you're right. I will stop writing now ...

    .

     

    Chuck - Thursday, June 03 2010 @ 06:57 PM EDT (#216158) #

    In that sense I actually feel bad for Junior, who stayed clean

    I have no reason to doubt that this is true, but how do you know for sure?

    Chuck - Thursday, June 03 2010 @ 07:02 PM EDT (#216159) #
    I just finished a post arguing that you can't always go by statistics, so if someone has seen all of them play then I'm open to convincing.

    What do you say to people who have Babe Ruth sitting atop this or that list? Surely none of them saw him play.
    Dewey - Thursday, June 03 2010 @ 10:44 PM EDT (#216164) #
    I'll be particularly impressed if someone saw Cobb and Speaker play yet knows how to use the internet.

    Lemme tell ya here,  rastaman,  right on the innernet too, that me and the dinosaurs used to sit and watch olí Ty and Tris cover the ground just fierce (ask that í92-í93 fella; he knows dinosaurs).  Duffy Lewis was a good one too, in left, back in the day.  Yep.  Seed em all.  (Not all at once, of course.  Donít want to push the credoolity.) 
    Magpie - Friday, June 04 2010 @ 03:22 AM EDT (#216169) #

    Cobb, Mays, Speaker, Mantle, DiMaggio were pretty clearly better. 

    That seems reasonable to me as well, at least in terms of Peak Value, and in my mind Mantle is the clear Number One in terms of Peak Value, followed by Cobb, Mays, and Speaker. But both Mantle and DiMaggio retired fairly young, largely because of chronic injuries - and the war also takes a great big bite out of what should have been the prime of DiMaggio's career. So Griffey certainly has a case to rank ahead of them in terms of Career Value.

    Magpie - Friday, June 04 2010 @ 03:25 AM EDT (#216170) #

    I never saw Speaker play, although I have spent much, much effort in imagining the 1912 Red Sox! But I did see the greatest player from Donora PA play.

    I wish I could actually remember it...

    Mike Green - Friday, June 04 2010 @ 11:00 AM EDT (#216179) #
    Griffey's case to be better than Mantle over his career is very weak.  His last season where he added any significant value was his age 35 season.  He went .301/.369/.576 that year in almost 500 PAs.  At age 35, Mickey went 245/.391/.434 in 550 PAs, so the natural inclination is to say that Griffey had a better year.  Except that the difference between the NL of 2005 and the AL of 1967 (which both of us remember ;)) wipes out the superficial difference.  Mickey's OPS+ was 150; Griffey's was 144. 

    If you want to look at it more formally, CHONE has Mickey at 120 Wins Above Replacement over his career, with almost all of it batting (he is -4.5 wins on defence over his career), while Ken is 79 Wins Above Replacement (he is -6.7 wins on defence over his career).  The offensive difference between the two over their careers is 400 runs, which is huge.  To give a scale to it, there is a greater difference in offensive performance between Mickey Mantle and Ken Griffey Jr. than there is between Ken Griffey Jr. and Ken Griffey Sr. 

    So long, Junior | 20 comments | Create New Account
    The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.