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Reds4Life
04-08-2006, 01:29 PM
Pretty good read.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12190930/



By Tony DeMarco
NBCSports.com contributor
Updated: 5:30 p.m. ET April 6, 2006

With one swing of the bat Wednesday in Cincinnati, Ken Griffey Jr. passed both Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio.

There were no reality series film crews there to capture the moment. No national reporters were on hand solely to follow Griffey's every move. Even the local newspapers saw Bronson Arroyo’s solid outing and home run in his first victory in a Reds uniform as the biggest news of the day.

But quietly, under the radar and above suspicion, Griffey took another step into the sluggers’ pantheon, and to gaining the rightful place we thought injuries might deny him. It is a great story on its own merit, no syringes or investigations in sight. And it’s about time the baseball world realizes it.

With a blast over the left-center field wall off Jerome Williams, Griffey broke a tie with Mantle and moved into 12th place with 537 homers. The fifth-inning solo shot also gave him 1,538 RBI and pushed him past Joe D. into 31st place on that list.

“Those guys are legends,’’ is about all Griffey Jr. had to say afterward.

And so is he. Wednesday was only the beginning of the milestones that could come this season for a healthy-again, still-only-36-year-old Griffey Jr. With 12 more home runs, he will pass Mike Schmidt. With 27 more, he will jump over Reggie Jackson and into the top 10 all-time. Thirty-three more will push him past Rafael Palmeiro, and with 37 more, Griffey Jr. will climb to eighth all-time ahead of Harmon Killebrew. That would leave Mark McGwire (583), Frank Robinson (586) and Sammy Sosa (588) easily within reach in 2007 – when Griffey should rise to No. 5 all-time.

“That’s pretty good company right there,’’ Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said. “It’s impressive. He’s a Hall of Famer without a doubt.’’

At 31st in the RBI chase and with only Barry Bonds active among those ahead of him, Griffey needs 98 more RBI to pass Ernie Banks at No. 19. Along the way, he will put Willie Stargell, Fred McGriff, Willie McCovey, Sosa, Al Kaline, Killebrew, Andre Dawson, Schmidt, Goose Goslin and Harold Baines behind him. 200 more RBI would leave Griffey Jr. at No. 16, just ahead of Jackson and just behind Robinson. And it will take 309 more to get Griffey Jr. into the top 10 by passing Carl Yastrzemski at 1,844.

Maybe it’s not controversial enough to grab headlines these days, but the names involved and numbers attached speak for themselves. The closest Griffey has come to the current steroids maelstrom was being tied into the unfolding Bonds saga by the allegation that Bonds talked about steroid use during a dinner Griffey hosted. But Griffey diffused his involvement by saying he doesn’t remember hearing those words from Bonds. And now Griffey is back under the radar again — where he prefers to be.

More importantly, he’s healthy again. The sprained right foot suffered last September no longer is a problem. Neither is the left knee repaired in September by arthroscopic surgery. And he is another year removed from 2004 surgery to repair a complete tear of his right hamstring, and 2003 surgery on his right ankle.

Griffey Jr., slammed his way through the World Baseball Classic, leading an underachieving Team USA, and it took him all of two games to hit his first home run of the regular season — something that took him 23 games and 80 at-bats to accomplish last April, when he was knocking off rust after missing 331 of a total of 648 games in a four-year period 2001-04.

But as Griffey's health improved, he put together a season worthy of the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award – a .301 average, 35 homers and 92 RBI. The 128 games were the most he played in since 2000, his first in Cincinnati.

Now, a 40-homer season doesn’t seem out of reach – not when he will play half the time in the Great American Ballpark, where a major-league-high 246 left the yard in 2005. That his first of the season went to left-center is another good sign. Scouts have seen him slipping into a dead-pull hitter with decreasing bat speed, but this was reminiscent of the back-to-back, 56-homer slugger with power in all directions.

“He looks like the same guy he was a few years ago,’’ Krivsky said. “We’re trying to keep him healthy, and so far, so good. He’s swinging the bat well, and he’s in a good frame of mind. Everything has been positive from him. Hopefully (the injuries) are over with. He’s still a definite threat. I think he’ll have a great year.’’

indyred
04-08-2006, 01:50 PM
Just overshadowed...with all the B Bonds crap.....I still think he has a chance at Ruth mark..........I see him playing atleast 4 more season..........

KronoRed
04-08-2006, 03:06 PM
JR is a true HOF.

DropDocK
04-08-2006, 03:21 PM
amen

harangatang
04-08-2006, 03:27 PM
It's a whole lot better than being in the middle of the steroid fiasco. It's just a compliment to Junior.

RedLegSuperStar
04-08-2006, 04:04 PM
Got to be honest with you... I idolize Junior.. always have.. always will. Not just because he's a HOF'er, All Century Player, All Star, Gold Glover, Comeback Player, or any other accolaids he has under his belt.. But because he plays the game the right way. He doesn't complain about losing.. he's quite and just goes out there and has fun doing something he loves to do. Glad DeMarco has took the time to write such a well deserving article to one of baseballs true icons.

Boston Red
04-09-2006, 01:44 AM
[QUOTE=indyred]I still think he has a chance at Ruth markQUOTE]

Ruth?!? Poor Hank.

Reds1
04-09-2006, 01:51 AM
I don't think Griffey is that overshadowed. All Century guy! He's just been on a losing team. His press has actually been pretty good of late. I think doing the WBC helped him, but he has some media mo if you will. I look for him to have a good year. He even looked good in the field today. Night all

Little Alex
04-09-2006, 02:08 AM
I agree that obviously if he played for the Yankees, he would be getting more attention for his various milestones.

...but I dont think he wants the attention. Cincinnati is good in that way.

Little Alex
04-09-2006, 02:08 AM
oops

Cyclone792
04-09-2006, 03:14 AM
1. Ty Cobb
2. Willie Mays
3. Tris Speaker
4. Mickey Mantle
5. Oscar Charleston
6. Joe DiMaggio
7. Duke Snider
8. Ken Griffey, Jr.
9. Cristobel Torriente
10. Billy Hamilton

That's my top 10 list of center fielders. Speaker and Mantle are very close in the 3/4 slots for me, and Snider and Griffey are very close in the 7/8 slots for me. With one more merely "good" season - hopefully 2006 will be at least a "good" season - I'll move Griffey up ahead of Duke Snider.

Obviously, it goes without saying that Griffey is a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer, no questions asked.

aodaniel
04-09-2006, 11:37 AM
1. Ty Cobb
2. Willie Mays
3. Tris Speaker
4. Mickey Mantle
5. Oscar Charleston
6. Joe DiMaggio
7. Duke Snider
8. Ken Griffey, Jr.
9. Cristobel Torriente
10. Billy Hamilton

That's my top 10 list of center fielders. Speaker and Mantle are very close in the 3/4 slots for me, and Snider and Griffey are very close in the 7/8 slots for me. With one more merely "good" season - hopefully 2006 will be at least a "good" season - I'll move Griffey up ahead of Duke Snider.

Obviously, it goes without saying that Griffey is a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer, no questions asked.

What if Griffey hadn't been hurt for 5 years and had another 100 homers total and still had about 80% of his wheels? Where would you rank him then? Just curious.

Cyclone792
04-09-2006, 12:30 PM
What if Griffey hadn't been hurt for 5 years and had another 100 homers total and still had about 80% of his wheels? Where would you rank him then? Just curious.

Great question. The short answer is already higher than Snider, but once past Duke, it gets much more tricky.

Griffey would still come nowhere near cracking the top four of Cobb/Mays/Speaker/Mantle - I have those four guys all in the top 10 players of all-time, regardless of position, so it's not a knock on Griffey at all to say he doesn't hang with them.

I'm also very comfortable with ranking Oscar Charleston 5th among center fielders. Some people believe Charleston could be the greatest player of all-time, and while I don't go that far, I do believe he was one of the best two or three Negro Leaguers ever, and it's very possible he was the greatest Negro Leaguer ever.

That leaves Joe DiMaggio, and that's a comparison I'll have to analyze deeper before coming to an ultimate conclusion. Right now, my gut tells me that I'd still rank DiMaggio higher based on his peak being greater than Griffey's, but on the surface it's close enough to warrant an in-depth glance.

I'm on my way out the door to the game right now, but I'll try to take a look tonight on DiMaggio vs. a healthy Griffey :)

Steve4192
04-09-2006, 01:27 PM
Just overshadowed...with all the B Bonds crap.
... and Junior loves Barry for taking the spotlight off of him.

KGJ loves toiling in obscurity and the Bonds' story has kept Junior's resurgence off the front page. Remember how uncomfortable and borderline surly KGJ was back in 2000 when he was front page news? I'm sure Ken is loving every minute of peace and quiet that Barry's issues have brought him.

TeamBoone
04-09-2006, 02:19 PM
Doesn't Bonds even have a show on ESPN now?

harangatang
04-09-2006, 03:14 PM
Doesn't Bonds even have a show on ESPN now?
Yes he does.
http://sports.espn.go.com/espntv/espnShow?showID=EORA

KoryMac5
04-09-2006, 05:51 PM
I remember when JR tore the ham right off the bone. All the talking heads on the radio were questioning whether or not he was a first ballot HOF. First Ballot no doubt about it and no juice involved.

Cyclone792
04-09-2006, 08:22 PM
Here we go on DiMaggio vs. Griffey vs. Snider. At the end, I'll also make a half-hearted attempt at projecting how many home runs Griffey would now have had he never been seriously injured.

I'll make two comparisons, one comparing the three players as Griffey's career has currently unfolded, and then I'll have some fun (or misery) and attempt to do a comparison of a "healthy" Griffey vs. DiMaggio vs. Snider. One thing I will do for both comparisons is give DiMaggio war credit for his three seasons missed due to World War II.

First for DiMaggio's war credit, I'll use his 1941-1942 and 1946-1947 seasons as a basis to determine a rough approximation of his value from 1943-1945. In the four seasons around his war years, DiMaggio averaged 141.5 games played. To make it simpler, I'll assume he would have played in 140 games in each season from 1943-1945. That brings his total games played total to 2,156 games.

Next, we must approximate how much value DiMaggio would have had in those 140 game seasons from 1943-1945. Again, using the two sandwich seasons, DiMaggio accumulated 127 win shares in 566 total games, which is an average of 36.35 win shares per 162 games. Adjusting down to 140 games per season to come up with his 1943-1945 win shares approximation, it's an average of 31 win shares per season for war credit, and 93 win shares total for the three seasons from 1943-1945.

Add on 93 total win shares to his actual career total of 387, and we get 480 win shares for DiMaggio in his career. DiMaggio's career win shares per 162 games played when including war credit then shapes up to be 36.07 win shares.

Likewise Griffey also deserves credit for the 1994 player's strike, and for those games missed I gave him an additional six win shares, bringing his actual season total of 20 win shares up to 26.

Here's how DiMaggio vs. Griffey vs. Snider comparison breaks down:


DiMaggio Career Win Shares ... 480
Griffey Career Win Shares .... 368
Snider Career Win Shares ..... 352

DiMaggio Career WS/162 ........ 36.07
Griffey Career WS/162 ......... 27.42
Snider Career WS/162 .......... 26.61

DiMaggio Peak Win Shares ..... 180 (41, 39, 34, 34, 32)
Griffey Peak Win Shares ...... 155 (36, 31, 30, 29, 29)
Snider Peak Win Shares ....... 175 (39, 37, 36, 34, 29)

DiMaggio Peak WS/162 .......... 40.67
Griffey Peak WS/162 ........... 31.87
Snider Peak WS/162 ............ 37.65

DiMaggio's Peak Seasons Used:
1937, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1948

Griffey's Peak Seasons Used:
1991, 1993, 1997, 1998, 1999

Snider's Peak Seasons Used:
1950, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956

Heading into the 2006 season, Griffey has a slight career advantage in total win shares over Snider, but trails DiMaggio heavily. Griffey also has a slight edge over Snider in career win shares per 162 games, but again trails DiMaggio heavily. In peak comparisons, DiMaggio has an incredible advantage on Griffey and a slight advantage on Snider. Duke's peak value is also considerably higher than Griffey's.

Overall when considering both career and peak values, right now I rank them as DiMaggio, Snider and then Griffey. After a healthy 2006, Griffey's career win shares total should be in the 390-400 range, which IMO would be enough of an edge to offset Snider's edge in peak value over Griffey. It would be extremely close, but I'd give the edge to Griffey if he could put up close to - or more than - 25 win shares this season (in 2005, Griffey had 22 win shares in 128 games so 25+ win shares is definitely possible this season).

Now for the fun comparison of trying to approximate where Griffey might rank had he never been plagued by injuries once he was traded to the Reds.

I'll use Griffey's 1999, 2000 and 2005 seasons as a basis of comparison to generate approximate seasons for 2001-2004.

Griffey's win shares totals for 1999, 2000 and 2005 were 31, 24 and 22, respectively in 433 total games, which is an average of 28.81 win shares per 162 games. I'll take that average of 29 win shares per 162 games and assign it to Griffey for each season from 2001-2004. I'll also assume that Griffey would appear in 140 games for each of those seasons, taking into account aging, some small nagging injuries and regular days off. That brings his seasonal total to 25 win shares for each season from 2001-2004, and a total of 100 win shares for the four seasons combined. It also means Griffey's approximate total number of games played would be 2,368 heading into the 2006 season, instead of his actual total of 2,125 games.

Of course, Griffey did accumulate some value in 2001-2004 while he did play, so I'll replace his actual totals with the new totals of 25 win shares each. Griffey's actual totals were 14, 5, 6 and 16 win shares for those four seasons, a total of 41 win shares.

Substituting his injury free total of 100 win shares in for his actual total of 41, Griffey would then have approximately 427 career win shares (368 + 59).

Here is then how the DiMaggio vs. Griffey vs. Snider comparison may have looked:


DiMaggio Career Win Shares ... 480
Griffey Career Win Shares .... 427
Snider Career Win Shares ..... 352

DiMaggio Career WS/162 ........ 36.07
Griffey Career WS/162 ......... 29.21
Snider Career WS/162 .......... 26.61

DiMaggio Peak Win Shares ..... 180 (41, 39, 34, 34, 32)
Griffey Peak Win Shares ...... 155 (36, 31, 30, 29, 29)
Snider Peak Win Shares ....... 175 (39, 37, 36, 34, 29)

DiMaggio Peak WS/162 .......... 40.67
Griffey Peak WS/162 ........... 31.87
Snider Peak WS/162 ............ 37.65

DiMaggio's Peak Seasons Used:
1937, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1948

Griffey's Peak Seasons Used:
1991, 1993, 1997, 1998, 1999

Snider's Peak Seasons Used:
1950, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956

The peak season comparisons did not change at all, however, Griffey picks up considerable steam in overall career value. Had Griffey never had any major injury problems, he'd lead Snider in career win shares by about 75, with a per 162 game average lead over Snider of 2.60 win shares. Snider still would maintain the peak value advantage, but the enormous lead of Griffey's career value would be too much.

Compared to DiMaggio, however, Griffey would still fall quite a bit short. He would likely eclipse DiMaggio's career win shares total sometime in his career, but he'd still remain far below DiMaggio per 162 games and in overall peak value.

For even more fun, I'll use the same basis for approximating DiMaggio's war credit and Griffey's '94 strike credit and injury credit to try to approximate how many career home runs each player would have.

I will give DiMaggio 610 plate appearances for each season from 1943-1945. In his sandwich seasons of 1941-1942 and 1946-1947, DiMaggio's PA/HR ratio was 25.72. If I apply that same ratio for his 1943-1945 seasons, he would have hit approximately 24 home runs each season, or 72 more career home runs. DiMaggio would then have somewhere in the neighborhood of 433 career home runs.

Likewise, I will also give Griffey 610 plate appearances for each season from 2001-2004, using his new "injury free" total and substitute it in for his actual totals in that four year span. Griffey's PA/HR ratio in 1999, 2000 and 2005 was 15.38. If I apply that same ratio for his 2001-2004 seasons, he would have hit approximately 40 home runs each season, or a total of 160 home runs. In reality, he only hit 63 home runs, so he would have entered this season with circa 97 more home runs on his career totals.

For 1994, Griffey's PA/HR ratio was 12.325. Had the strike never occurred, Griffey's "pace" of home runs that season placed him at a season total of 58 bombs. That's 18 more than his actual total of 40 home runs due to the strike.

In other words, it's very possible had Griffey never been seriously injured and the 1994 strike never occurred, he'd be in the neighborhood of 651 career home runs heading into the 2006 season, and with that total it would have been very much a possibility for him to reach Ruth's 714, Aaron's 755 and whatever total Bonds ultimately retires at.

TeamBoone
04-09-2006, 09:02 PM
You know what I think is weird about "records" (of course you don't, which is why I'm going to tell you).

I know a record is a record, but what does it really mean? Some players take longer to create/break a record, some less time. Shouldn't there be some sort of weighting factor based on games played?

Or doesn't it matter? I think it should.

Cyclone792
04-09-2006, 10:14 PM
Records are highly important for most fans, and they'll invest loads of time, energy, money, you name it trying to witness a major record or major milestone achievement. That's why stadiums sell out and stations such as ESPN cut into their programming to show live coverage of a player who may break a record or reach an important milestone.

For me, I'm primarily concerned with a player's overall value. I won't give out "extra credit" in ranking a player if he has certain records and milestones, and I won't hold it against other players for not reaching certain records or milestones. One thing most people fail to consider with records is the era a player plays in plays a massive role in determining whether or not a specific player can reach a specific milestone. It's much easier to attain hitting records in a hitting era, just like it's much easier to attain pitching records in a pitching era.

I do enjoy tracking records and participating in records, be it witnessing the event in person or on television, but they're a sort of a fun novelty more than anything else. Overall value is what I want.

IslandRed
04-09-2006, 11:47 PM
You know what I think is weird about "records" (of course you don't, which is why I'm going to tell you).

I know a record is a record, but what does it really mean? Some players take longer to create/break a record, some less time. Shouldn't there be some sort of weighting factor based on games played?

Or doesn't it matter? I think it should.

Well, yes and no. The record book just says "Home Runs, Career." It doesn't say "Home runs per 162 games" or anything like that. There are always factors. Babe Ruth hit his 714 in a lot fewer at-bats than most anyone else who's come close, but Hank Aaron played right through the greatest pitcher's era in the modern game. All that should be factored in if you're trying to evaluate the total ballplayer, but as far as the record goes, it says what it says.

Anyway, records should be handled with care. One of the reasons why Maris and Aaron took so much grief was that people used 60 and 714 as definitive proof of Ruth being the greatest player ever. So when those records were threatened, so were they. Never mind that Ruth's greatness holds up no matter how you measure it.

TeamBoone
04-10-2006, 12:57 AM
Anyway, records should be handled with care. One of the reasons why Maris and Aaron took so much grief was that people used 60 and 714 as definitive proof of Ruth being the greatest player ever. So when those records were threatened, so were they. Never mind that Ruth's greatness holds up no matter how you measure it.

And that's exactly my point. People were upset that Maris broke Ruth's record the first year the season was extended. If a record is a record, that shouldn't matter.

That's the only instance I know of that the masses seemed to be upset. As an example, why is that any different than a player maybe taking 20 years to break the HR record which was set in perhaps 15 years (or 2000 games vs 1500)?

Highlifeman21
04-10-2006, 07:45 PM
1. Ty Cobb
2. Willie Mays
3. Tris Speaker
4. Mickey Mantle
5. Oscar Charleston
6. Joe DiMaggio
7. Duke Snider
8. Ken Griffey, Jr.
9. Cristobel Torriente
10. Billy Hamilton

That's my top 10 list of center fielders. Speaker and Mantle are very close in the 3/4 slots for me, and Snider and Griffey are very close in the 7/8 slots for me. With one more merely "good" season - hopefully 2006 will be at least a "good" season - I'll move Griffey up ahead of Duke Snider.

Obviously, it goes without saying that Griffey is a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer, no questions asked.


Griffey is a solid lock for 1st ballot HOF, but I think Duke Snider is highly underrated and should be in the 6 spot here, with Joe D and Griffey fighting for 7, with the other settling for 8. I make it no secret that I think Joe D was one of the most overrated ballplayers in history, but I'm not debating him being a HOF. That being said, I would probably put Snider 6, Griffey 7, and Joe D 8, but all 3 of them combined wouldn't crack the top 25 of all time greatest players for all positions, which I think is something to consider. The top 4 CFs here I think do fit in the top 25 overall, and then after that I think it's a great fall off. I have no problem swapping Griffey and Snider, but I think both of them are far better ball players than Joe D ever was.