JMB · July 17, 2005 at 8:42 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

As one of the few people left who roots for Ken Griffey, Jr., I wanted to point out that he’s finally having the sort of year the Reds thought they’d be getting when they traded for him five years ago. I can’t believe it’s been that long.

Griffey homered and walked three times today, raising his season line to a none-too-shabby .290/.365/.546 with 20 homers, giving him 521 in his career. I still say he hits 600 before he’s done. He’s also on pace to play in 150 games for the first time since he left Seattle.

He’ll probably go on the DL tomorrow. Ken, I’m sorry.


40 Responses to “Junior”

  1. Mr. Egaas on July 17th, 2005 8:51 pm

    It’s great to see. I’ll always been a Junior fan.

  2. huh? on July 17th, 2005 9:05 pm

    I’m still a Junior fan. I can’t believe that people around here can hate Griffey but cheer for Randy Johnson.

  3. Shoeless Jose on July 17th, 2005 9:10 pm

    He’ll probably go on the DL tomorrow.
    Took the words right out of my mouth.

    I’m not a hater, but I think the people who would like to see him in an M’s uniform again are smoking more than nostalgia in their pipes. The 90s are over. The dot com boom is not coming back. Cobain is still dead. And Griffey is not the player he was in Seattle. The injuries and the contract expense create a very different, and unacceptable, risk/reward ratio.

  4. msb on July 17th, 2005 9:18 pm

    yah, but it would still be nice to get the Reds here, with Jr on the field, playing…

  5. Kyle Welsh on July 17th, 2005 9:20 pm

    It is good to see – I’ll always be a Griffey fan! I was afraid to post anthing about him/his season so far because it might jinx him. I got over it and included his ‘milestone’ on my post about two hours ago. Keep up the good work, U.S.S. Mariner!

  6. adam on July 17th, 2005 9:21 pm

    Rational thought isn’t important with Junior.

    Do whatever it takes to make him our DH.


  7. LB on July 17th, 2005 9:25 pm

    #2: I don’t hate Griffey, either, but I get that way about anyone who puts on the pinstripes. Randy Johnson, Tino Martinez, Jeff Nelson, Alex Rodriguez, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, Tony Womack, Flash Gordon; you name ’em, I hate ’em. An equal opportunity hater, that’s me.

    But Griffey: why hate him? He put in his time and made it clear he wanted to leave. After you log 6 years in the majors, it’s a free country, even for ballplayers.

  8. Paul on July 17th, 2005 9:41 pm

    I have never held anything against Junior for leaving. But, A-Rot….that’s a whole different sell out, I mean subject.

  9. Lefty on July 17th, 2005 10:02 pm

    I was just talking to my wife about how happy I was to see him having a good year. When he left, I was mad. It was like being jilted, and I was mad. I wanted him to play well, but I wanted his experience in Cincinatti to be miserable. When the Reds were giving time to Deion Sanders, Michael Tucker and Donnie Freakin Sadler (all of whom wish they were WFB), I knew that at least winning was not in his future.

    A couple of reasons to like The Kid:
    1. A co-worker of my wife worked for the Mariners for a while, has pictures of himself and Jr in his office. He says that Ken, while not always mature, and not always in control of his mouth, is a genuinely good guy. He said that Alex was a good guy when the camera was on, but arrogant and aloof when it was off. No pictures of alex in his office. No pictures of Randy in his office.
    2. You always hear about the “hometown discount”, it is almost non-existent. Even when Johnny O spurned the Mets for the M’s, they matched the Met’s offer (which given the comparative cost of living, made the Mariner’s offer slightly higher). Griffey took much less from the Reds than was available to him from the M’s (Owwwwwww!).
    3. He states, like a broken record, that he will never play for the Yankees.

    Throw rationality aside Bavasi… bring the Mariner’s prodigal son home!

    With that said, he will probably engineer a trade to the Yanks, just to spite me.

  10. richysurreal on July 17th, 2005 10:04 pm

    To be fair, he did post a 271/387/586 40 homer year with the 2000 Reds, though even that year he missed 17 games with whatever it may be. I’m glad to see Griffey being Griffey again, since flaming out through bad hamstrings is probably the least entertaining way to end a career.

  11. Alex on July 17th, 2005 10:17 pm

    I also still root for Junior. If he committed a “sin” in leaving Seattle, he’s paid for it and then some. Hell, even karma has come back to hurt A-Rod since he’s left.

    So, let’s say Griffey hits 15 more this year. That’ll put him at 536 for his career.

    He’ll be 36 at the start of next year, and let’s say he manages another 30.

    And then another 30 at 37.

    Hmm. 600 sounded low, but now that I look at it next to his age, it sounds about right. Still, like most everyone, I can’t help but think…what if.

    If we’re somewhat conservative and say a healthy Junior would have averaged 30 homeruns annually from 2001-2004, that would still *only* put him around 660 at age 38.

    Good God is 700 a tough number to get at.

  12. Goose on July 17th, 2005 10:22 pm

    Add me to the “Will always be a junior fan” list.

    If there is anybody in baseball that deserves a world series ring, its Griffey.I would give anything to see him patrolling centerfield for us again, but sadly that’ll never happen.

    The sad thing is, I believe if he would of stayed here, we would be talking about him passing Babe Ruth last year, and approaching Aaron. Except with out any of the steriod contraversy.

    He was the second coming of Willie Mays.

  13. adam on July 17th, 2005 10:26 pm

    He recently said that he wouldn’t be against playing for the Yankees…….

  14. Brian on July 17th, 2005 10:37 pm

    I can’t believe that people around here can hate Griffey but cheer for Randy Johnson.

    People cheer for Randy Johnson because he’s the single biggest reason why the Mariners made the playoffs in ’95. Not that there weren’t other great players on that team, but if we’d lost that one-game playoff….

    I haven’t heard a lot of ill will toward Griffey, but if there is any, it’s misplaced. He was one of the game’s great talents and we were fortunate to be able to watch him develop here.

  15. LB on July 17th, 2005 10:41 pm

    #9: Two examples of the hometown discount off of the top of my head:

    1. David Ortiz (3 years for $19.5m which includes the club option for the third year at $7.75m, since the Red Sox would have to be crazy not to exercise if he is healthy),

    2. Trot Nixon (3 years for $19m)

    It happens, not often, but it happened on one team twice in the last year. I guess it helps when the team is good and players like coming to the park everyday.

  16. Vaughn Street on July 17th, 2005 11:01 pm

    Junior’s 521 ties Ted Williams and Willie McCovey for 14th place on the all-time home run list.

  17. LB on July 17th, 2005 11:11 pm

    #16: I liked Griffey’s comments about tying those guys, though:

    “I have like three hitting streaks of 10 or more games,” said Griffey. “Williams had them of more than 300 and he hit .340 for his career. And he went to war for his country twice during his baseball career. Never put my name in his category. I just happen to have the same number of home runs.”

  18. AK1984 on July 17th, 2005 11:52 pm

    I don’t consider a guy who signed a contract that pays him through 2024 to have signed at a hometown discount. Besides, if it weren’t for Eric Milton, Ken Griffey, Jr. would be the most overpaid guy on the Reds. As it is, though, I don’t get why either Randy Johnson or Ken Griffey, Jr. are loved by numerous fans in the Seattle area, as they both left on horrid terms; I’ve got more respect for Alex Rodriguez, for he waited until his contract was up to become self-centered.

  19. Steve on July 18th, 2005 12:11 am

    An interesting aside…

    This is the ESPN.com scouting report on Griffey I find it a little harsh.
    “Ken Griffey Jr.: Hitting
    The Griffey who was an exciting blend of power and average has become a distant memory. He is now more of an upper-cut hitter, as he apparently has tried to compensate for a weaker lower body and declining bat speed. Griffey has all but abandoned his formerly prodigious ability to slash balls to all fields with extra-base power and now seems intent on trying to pull the ball with every swing. He rolls over far too many pitches to produce weak grounders. He also falls off too many pitches, which results in less contact and more strikeouts.”

    How can you judge a guy like that who’s been injured so much?

  20. LB on July 18th, 2005 12:19 am

    #18: So, the fact that Griffey defers roughly half of his salary annually means there is no discount? Interesting. I thought he deferred salary to make it easier for the team to afford both him and other players.

    Griffey signed with the Reds for $12.5m/year at a time when Kevin Brown was pulling down more than $15m/year for the Dodgers and Albert Belle $13m/year for the Orioles. When he went to the Reds, Griffey was only 30 and looked like he would be the first to break Aaron’s HR record on his way to Cooperstown. If you don’t think he left money on the table to play in Cincinnati, his hometown, I don’t know what to say.

  21. Evan on July 18th, 2005 1:08 am

    19 – You have to use the data you have.

  22. Rob S on July 18th, 2005 1:09 am

    Junior deserved to be scorned because of the spiteful way he absolutely SCREWED the Mariners by publically stating that he would only accept a trade to the Reds, thus completely destroying any leverage we may have had. I will admit to openly rooting against him and the Reds, and to being completely satisfied at how things turned out post-trade. However even if the Reds had played the M’s only a year after the trade and during the height of our vitriol towards him, I believe he would have received the biggest standing ovation ever afforded ANYONE at Safeco because while we may have been pissed that he screwed us, Safeco is truly the “house that Junior built”, and we would likely be the Tampa Bay Mariners if not for him. Randy Johnson, who completely tanked the ’98 season – a very booable offense – is extended the same “get out of being booed free” card as Junior for the same reason, essentially, as is everyone who was a large part of that ’95 team. That does NOT include A-Rod, whose biggest contribution in ’95 was ensuring that Junior slid on Edgar’s Double, and thus he is freely and loudly booed probably more than anyone else in the history of Seattle sports, even though his insult to the team and the fans was far less than either Randy or Junior.

  23. tvwxman on July 18th, 2005 5:05 am

    18 — I thought I was the only one who didn’t mind the way Arod left. Business is business, and if anyone actually believes a word out of the mouths of management and players during contract negotiations, I’ve got some bridges to sell them.

    Arod and RJ are water under the bridge to me. However, they shouldn’t be in a Mariner uniform again. Not the way the team should be going.

  24. Itea on July 18th, 2005 6:56 am

    #23 – I’ve stated here many times that I think the vitriol Seattle fans (and at least one of the authors here) show A-Rod is misplaced. He played in Seattle for relatively low (compared to his production) salaries for many seasons, busting ass every moment he was on the field.

    Anecdotes about who is really a “good guy” are hard to judge. THere’s a difference between being gregarious and being friendly; between being aloof and being guarded. Those differences aren’t easy to discern unless you really have a lot of contact with someone.

    Some athletes make enough public statements that I think it’s legit to judge them on it; Curt Schilling, for example. But a lot of guys are private, and even more so a lot of guys don’t like/trust the media, and I think that the public’s perception of those people, having been filtered through that same media, are not necessarily valid.

    So, going back to ARod, he’s said some things that come off as dickish, but he’s also given a lot of money to good causes, and yes he’s rich but not all bazillionaires give away some of their bazillions, particularly when they are still under the age of 30. So I respect him for that, and I respect him for playing hard, and it was a nice gesture (however calculated you may think it was) for him to slide over and play third in the All-Star game, and the man plays every day and is an incredible ballplayer. Resenting him for making millions is pathetic; better he has the money than Tom Hicks or George Steinbrenner.

  25. paul d on July 18th, 2005 7:22 am

    I’m going to see the Dodgers and the Reds next week at Chavez Ravine, and my Griffey jersey from 1994 is going to see the light of day for the first time since he left (as long as it still fits!). I always liked him, and I can’t wait to see him again.

  26. JMB on July 18th, 2005 7:36 am

    #24 — which writer here? As far as I can remember, we’ve been on the “enough already with the booing” bandwagon since the beginning. I was bummed Rodriguez left, given that he’s such a tremendous player, but didn’t want to kill his dog or anything like that. I also never booed him.


  27. Huh? on July 18th, 2005 7:47 am

    I’ll be a Junior fan for life. He lived around the corner from me his first two years. I was 11 years old. One day a group of us were playing baseball at the park and he came by walking his dogs. He stopped in and talked to us for a bit and let us pitch to him. He crushed a pitch and lost our ball. The next day he was driving by and he stopped and threw a dozen balls into the park for us and told us we could stop by his house to get something signed. I always thought the perception that he was unapproachable was way off. I’d get mad too if I was with my family and was constantly being bothered for stuff.

  28. Adam S on July 18th, 2005 8:08 am

    I still say he hits 600 before he’s done.

    Unintentionally that’s a great summary of Junior’s time as a Red. When he left, we were talking about when we’d pass Aaron. Now we’re wondering/expecting if/that he’ll get to 600.

    On A-Rod, I thought the booing and signs were “enought already” after the second time Texas came to town. But now that he’s a Yankee, I can’t blame anyone for booing him or any of his teammates. I think “Yankee-hating” is part of the game. I wouldn’t blame them for polite applause either. I don’t think A-Rod is a bad person, but his off-the-field baseball decisions are a prime example (to me) of what’s wrong with the game.

    But that’s a whole ‘nother discussion and this is about Griffey. It is nice to see him finally healthy and being able to enjoy playing again.

  29. Tim O on July 18th, 2005 8:08 am

    The Mariners have had 3 players who established themselves on a genuine Hall of Fame track during their playing days with Seattle. (I think unfortunately from a national sports writers perspective, Edgar has virtually no chance of going in. Ichiro is probably the 4th in terms of his current track, but odds are still against him being this productive for a full 10 years given the age he started.) I’ve never understand how Seattle fans can cheer a Palmeiro (as a virtual adopted son) while booing Rodriguez. I for one always check out the Yankees and Reds Gameday to see how Junior, A-Rod and the Big Unit are doing. I personally thought that Junior would break Hank’s record and then A-Rod would break Junior’s record. I arrived in Seattle in 92, so Junior was already an established star. In that sense I probably have more of a soft spot for A-Rod since I saw him from the absolute beginning of his career. At this point it looks like only Junior will actually go into the Hall with a Seattle jersey so I suppose that is some reason to favor him over the other two, but I wouldn’t be opposed to any or all three returning to Seattle. And if the Yankees can get Texas to pay $9 million a year for A-Rod to play in New York, who’s to say we couldn’t get the Reds to pay a significant portion of Junior’s salary. Would I take Junior’s current production for his current salary? In a heartbeat. Just compare it to what we are giving Sexson and Beltre in terms of production.

    And while a very good argument can be made that any of the three would not be an efficient use of money given their current salaries, I would be going to a lot more ballgames just for the chance to see future HOF’s in the lineup than I do now. (Without Ichiro, would there be any reason to watch a .400 ballclub.) Baseball is a team sport and winning is the primary thing driving attendance. However it is also a sport with a great sense of history, and having the pleasure of watching Hall of Fame ball players on a regular basis, is a big part of going to the ball park.

  30. forgotten schmo on July 18th, 2005 9:57 am

    Month OPS
    April .681
    May .901
    June .911
    July 1.321

    Congrats to the old dog. I’m in the Griffey fan corner. Rational is not something that applies a lot to the real elite once in a decade type player. Rationally he should not be playing after tearing his hamstring from the bone and rationally he should not be posting stats that he has not achieved this decade.

    If he stays healthy for the whole year and is willing to play LF then bring him back next year, what the heck. He’s too slow to play CF, sorry Griff. Doubt it would happen, but here’s to him and good luck staying healthy.

  31. troy on July 18th, 2005 10:03 am

    “He’ll probably go on the DL tomorrow. Ken, I’m sorry.”

    Perhaps we should envoke the Doyle rule in reverse? Henceforth all references are to George.

    BTW, I totally agree with your post JMB. Junior was my favorite player from the time he entered the league and I was but 8 years old. I wore his #24 all through little league and decorated my room in his memorabilia. He will always be my idol, and I can’t help but be thrilled that he’s finally staying healthy. I just hope it continues.

  32. JMB on July 18th, 2005 10:44 am

    Hey troy,

    Griffey broke in when I was 10; I was hooked. How could you not be? He was only nine years older than I was and playing in the majors. I went on an irrational quest to collect as many of his rookie cards as I could; still have ’em in a chest somewhere. Griffey fan for life.


  33. Eric on July 18th, 2005 11:31 am

    Here is a thought, if the Ms had made a move for Griffey last offseason the price would probably have been miniscule, a couple middling minor league arms.

    Who would you rather have at 1B the next few years Griffey and his LH bat or Sexson? With the deferred money Griffey’s contract should be less in current $.

    I think HOF level naturals, even with recent injuries age quiet a bit better than sluggers

  34. forgotten schmo on July 18th, 2005 12:21 pm

    I want both

  35. Knuckles on July 18th, 2005 12:24 pm

    Eric: I would sure as hell rather watch Junior spell Reed in CF than Bloomquist, that’s for damn sure.

  36. Russ on July 18th, 2005 2:35 pm

    No matter which uniform he is wearing, that swing of his is as good as it gets. His stance and swagger in the box is a thing of beauty.

  37. don on July 18th, 2005 4:21 pm

    Griffey is the one ex-mariner who will be cheered the first time back at Safeco Field. Johnson tanked his last half-season, and Rodriguez had do diss Seattle when he left (“it’s not about money … it’s about winning”). Of all the future HOF’ers, Griffey will be cheered.

  38. Rob S on July 18th, 2005 7:43 pm

    Randy was given multiple HUGE standing ovations when he came back the first time with Arizona. He was given one when walking out in the bullpen, when his name was first announced, and after he struck out the final batter to win in a complete game victory. I’ve always thought that was a wonderful demonstration of how much we appreciated Randy’s contribution to the organization. Even though he tanked it worse than anyone I’ve ever seen, we still respected the fact that he was probably the 2nd biggest reason (behind Junior) that we still had a team and a stadium.

  39. abun on July 18th, 2005 9:33 pm

    I can’t think of another player for whom I was more excited to see play. I’ll be a Griffey fan for life. If you want to talk about attitude watch the replay of when he robbed Jesse Barfield of his 200th dinger.

  40. F-Rod on July 19th, 2005 9:12 am

    Absolutely the greatest M of all-time. I was at his leadoff homer to left in 89 and hooked ever since. His spectacular defensive plays made thos pathetic early 90 M’s teams watchable. Bringing him back makes SOOOOOOOOOOOOO much sense.

    They should be sellers with most of their players, but then bring in Griff and the team will be better for the future, and electric in Seattle for the rest of the season.