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deltachi8
06-26-2007, 10:10 AM
Column from the Buffalo News. Thought I would share..

http://www.buffalonews.com/sports/story/106842.html


COMMENTARY
Wilson: Griffey shows glimpses of ‘The Kid’
Allen Wilson
Updated: 06/26/07 7:54 AM



When watching Ken Griffey Jr. play baseball, you can’t help but wonder what might have been.

What if injuries hadn’t robbed him of at least 50 games in seven of his previous 18 major league seasons? Had he stayed healthy, maybe Griffey would be going swing for swing with Barry Bonds in pursuit of Henry Aaron’s all-time home run record. Griffey has never been tied to performance-enhancing drugs in any fashion, so a run at Aaron’s 755 would have been more acceptable to baseball purists than Bonds’ tainted chase.

We’ll never know. Injuries are a part of the game, and heaven knows Griffey has had more than his share of physical ailments. But one thing we do know is that he has been a special player, a surefire Hall of Famer. This season is serving as a reminder of that fact.

Griffey is batting .290 and already has 21 home runs with more than half the season remaining. Only Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees and Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers have more homers. If Griffey maintains his current pace he will reach 40 homers for the first time since 2000, his first season with the Cincinnati Reds.

Griffey has had other hot starts in recent years only to see it all unravel with another season-ending injury. But everybody should keep their fingers crossed that he stays hot and on the field.

Griffey has his groove back. That lefthanded swing looks sweet again.

It’s good to see because Griffey used to represent everything that is good about baseball. We remember his days in Seattle when he was known as “The Kid.” He was a boundless bundle of energy whose infectious smile, backward cap and heroics with the bat and glove energized baseball in the Pacific Northwest during his first 11 big-league seasons.

Griffey returned to Seattle over the weekend for the first time since he was traded to Cincinnati after the 1999 season. There were some bad feelings when he all but forced the trade by saying he would never re-sign with the Mariners. Apparently, his absence made Mariners fans’ hearts grow fonder as they greeted him with standing ovations throughout the three-game series. Griffey didn’t disappoint, either, capping his visit with a pair of home runs Sunday.

The affection the Seattle fans showed Griffey shouldn’t come as a surprise. Their city might not have a baseball team right now if Griffey hadn’t played there. Even the Mariners acknowledged that in presenting him with a framed picture of Safeco Field with the phrase “The House That Griffey Built” etched above it.

Considering everything he did there, why wouldn’t the Mariners and their fans show their appreciation?

On Sunday, they saw vintage Griffey. He had the 55th multihomer game of his career and second in the past week. He has 584 homers overall, which pushed him past Mark McGwire and into seventh on the all-time list. Three more and he’ll pass Frank Robinson.

Barring injury, there is little doubt Griffey will join Sammy Sosa as entrants into the 600-home run club this year. Seven hundred isn’t out of the question in several seasons.

Whether Griffey will catch Aaron or Bonds is uncertain, if not unlikely. If there is any justice, he should be allowed to play long enough to get a shot at the record. But who knows how long Griffey will keep playing? He’s no longer The Kid (he turns 38 in November) and two decades of wear and tear have a way of taking a toll on the body.

But he’s playing now and playing well. He’s giving us glimpses of the old Junior, and we should enjoy it while it lasts.

awilson@buffnews.com

Johnny Footstool
06-26-2007, 10:39 AM
I wonder if Griffey is finally OK with moving to right field.

bucksfan2
06-26-2007, 10:49 AM
I wonder if Griffey is finally OK with moving to right field.

I have started to wonder if the reds had a respectable manage over the past few seasons would Jr. have moved to right earlier. For example if in 2004 Lou were the reds manager and told Jr that he thought he would be more productive in RF Jr most probably would have moved. But when you take into consideration the less than stellar managers that the reds have had in Boone, Miley, and Narron they hold no weight on player personal decisions. I can just imagine Narron coming to Jr and saying, "You know Ken I have been thinking and I even called Mrs Cleo and she predicted that you would be better fit in RF so I was thinking I move you over there. What do you think Ken?"

MrCinatit
06-26-2007, 11:23 AM
When Aaron began the '71 season at the age of 37, he had 592 homers. Bonds had 567 (if my math is right in both cases).
Ok, it is a very long shot - but, hey, I thought I would just throw that out there.

registerthis
06-26-2007, 11:57 AM
When Aaron began the '71 season at the age of 37, he had 592 homers. Bonds had 567 (if my math is right in both cases).
Ok, it is a very long shot - but, hey, I thought I would just throw that out there.

All other things being equal, I'd give Junior a shot at least of hitting 700.

But with Junior, all things AREN'T equal. As wonderful as it has been watching him play this season, at this point in his career--and with such a brittle body--him continuing at this pace is anything but a certainty. In fact, I'd place the odds at or very close to nil.

Aaron was a longevity freak blessed with good health. Bonds is--well, we know what Bonds' story is. Junior's a joy to watch, and I don't harbor any illusions about what his career may still contain. In fact, considering the spate of injuries he has come back from--injuries that would have permanently sidelined most others, in fact--I look at any production out of Junior at this point as a bonus.

Johnny Footstool
06-26-2007, 12:14 PM
All other things being equal, I'd give Junior a shot at least of hitting 700.

But with Junior, all things AREN'T equal. As wonderful as it has been watching him play this season, at this point in his career--and with such a brittle body--him continuing at this pace is anything but a certainty. In fact, I'd place the odds at or very close to nil.

Aaron was a longevity freak blessed with good health. Bonds is--well, we know what Bonds' story is. Junior's a joy to watch, and I don't harbor any illusions about what his career may still contain. In fact, considering the spate of injuries he has come back from--injuries that would have permanently sidelined most others, in fact--I look at any production out of Junior at this point as a bonus.

I have to believe that a huge part of Junior's success this season has been due to his move out of CF. He doesn't have to deal with nearly as many everyday aches and pains now that he's playing a less strenuous position. Hopefully, he'll continue to experience good health and put up excellent numbers at the plate.