Must Reid Sports: Ken Griffey Jr. Deserves a Call From the Hall

Reid Conant, Columnist

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Out of all the players on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot this year, Ken Griffey Jr. is the best out of them all. He was the definition of a 5-tool player.

Lots of famous players  pop up on this year’s ballot including, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza, Trevor Hoffman, and Roger Clemens. Ken Griffey Jr. hit 630 career home runs and had a .284 career batting average, but here is the reason why he doesn’t get credit for being the best player of his era… Barry Bonds. Bonds clearly has the best stats of all the players on the ballot this year with his 762 career home runs and a career batting average of just under .300. At the time, Ken Griffey was a great player but he was overshadowed by the all-time home run leader. Bonds was exciting to watch because of his ability to hit home runs every time he stepped to the plate. As a baseball fan, this bothers me because a cheater like Barry Bonds ends up being the most talked about player of the 90s and early 2000s instead of Ken Griffey Jr. Oh yeah and by the way, Ken Griffey didn’t cheat, he was a complete player in all phases of the game.

Even though Ken Griffey was younger than Bonds he still put up huge numbers as a young star. He was never lost in the outfield with his 10 gold gloves playing Center Field but the most astonishing fact is that he only won 1 MVP award in his marvelous 22 year career. The other sad part about his career was that he played for the Seattle Mariners. At the time, the Mariners were not very good and Griffey never won a championship in Seattle. In fact, he only made it to the playoffs once in 10 years with the Mariners.

As Bonds was breaking records in the middle to late 90s, Griffey was quietly going about his business with a highlight from the outfield each night and also consistently hitting the ball for average and power. He was a sweet swinging lefty with a simple and compact swing which made it look easy for him to hit for power and average. Not to mention, Griffey Jr. was an incredible athlete in the outfield with amazing speed and toughness. In high school, Griffey was a highly recruited running back by D1 programs but his first love was baseball.

He was constantly around baseball throughout his life because his Dad, Ken Griffey Sr., played in the MLB for 19 seasons. Griffey was drafted with the number 1 overall pick in the 1987 MLB draft right out of high school, ironically he was drafted by the Seattle Mariners and during that time his father was playing his last couple of seasons with the Mariners. Ken Griffey Jr. quickly was called up to the majors after a year and a half in the minor leagues and got to play 2 seasons with his Dad in Seattle before his Dad retired.

Ken Griffey Jr. won 1 MVP award in his 22 year career and to put that into perspective, Barry Bonds won 7 MVP awards in his 22 year career. Still to this day, Barry Bonds is the most talked about baseball player that played throughout the 1990s. The other thing that played a factor was that Bonds was a very outspoken guy with a massive ego. Barry Bonds had an arrogance and swagger about him that seemed like he only cared about himself. On the other hand, Ken Griffey Jr. was a quiet young kid with a unique personality and smile that was having fun playing the game that he loved.

This is where this story gets funny. The funny part is that this year Ken Griffey Jr. will be a first ballot Hall of Famer without a doubt in 2016, and guess who hasn’t been inducted into the HOF since he was first eligible in 2013… If you guessed Barry Bonds you would be right. This is ironic because now after all these years Ken Griffey Jr. will have the last laugh and he will go down as one of the most gifted baseball players ever to play the game. Ken Griffey Jr. should be remembered as the better player compared to Barry Bonds. From this moment on, I hope that people will realize that Ken Griffey Jr. was really the player of the 1990s and 2000s.

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