I read articles again and again about how sad it was Griffey got hurt was. About how his career fell apart after he left Seattle. I've read many negative articles about Griffey's time in Cincy. Sure, tearing your hamstring off the bone is never a happy time. Neither is playing on terrible teams year after year under seemingly indifferent management. But I think he had a great career. And not just a great first 11 years. Go look at all the guys that started playing in their teenage years. Almost all of them played less games than Griffey. He's 31st all time in games played and people talk about him like he had five good years and then died.
Look at these numbers
G R H 2B HR RBI BB
110 61 104 20 24 65 55
Those are his career averages as a Red(as the white soxs, but I included it cause I'm lazy)
Take those numbers over 21 year career(I refuse to count that train wreck of 2010)
G R H 2B HR RBI BB
2,310 1281 2184 420 504 1449 1155
Also, if you doubled his career. That would give you six all star appearances, two seasons above .300(.301) two 40 plus home run seasons, four 30 plus home run seasons(35,35,30,30).
Those are arguably Hall of fame numbers. Are they 1st ballot, arguably best center fielder of all time numbers like the first half of his career? No. But they are still impressive. To produce like he did with the injuries is impressive. It also says a lot about him. People talk about how spoiled and moody he was, but he gave his body for the game, for the Reds. He could of played it safe and it would have probably been better for him and the Reds. But he played the game right, 100%, or as close to 100 as he could physically give.
His career, his entire career should be celebrated, not sympathized for. No, he didn't end up being the best player of all time. But he wasn't far from it and it's the way he played that makes me love the game the way I do.