A testament to Ken Griffey, Jr.’s greatness is that after amassing a career resume that includes 630 home runs, 13 All-Star games, a league MVP, and 10 gold gloves, the first thing that’s mentioned when discussing his career is what could have been.
Ken Griffey, Jr. is arguably the most gifted natural baseball talent since Willie Mays. His swing was as sweet as it was lethal. In his prime, Griffey effortlessly patrolled center field at the Kingdome, robbing opposing hitters of sure home runs and extra base hits.
Unfortunately, the back 9 of Griffey’s career was peppered with a series of nagging injuries that rendered his production inconsistent and took away his unique magic. He never approached Hank Aaron’s home run record, which looked like an inevitability at one point. Watching Griffey as he was reduced to a DH role later in his career because of injuries invoked a wistful sadness.
As “The Natural” enters Cooperstown today – with his signature backwards cap – and takes his place among the legends of the game, here are 5 highlights of Griff at his greatest.
- The Spiderman wall catch to rob Ruben Sierra – 1991
2. Griffeys Jr. and Sr. go back to back – 1990
3. Griff goes third deck at the Skydome. – 1996
4. Jr. brings one back at old Tiger Stadium. – 1998
5. “The Kid” plates the winning run in Game 5 of the ALDS to beat the Yankees. -1995