“The Kid” hits 600!

Props to Ken Griffey Jr. for becoming the latest member of baseball’s 600 Home Run Club. Bonus props to him for being the only modern player in that club who was never implicated in Major League Baseball’s steroid scandal. The fact that Griffey reached this milestone quietly, without the use of steroids, and while enduring an injury plagued career speaks volumes as to his character and work ethic. It’s a great moment for Griffey, and a great moment for Major League Baseball.

I love Ken Griffey Jr. When I was a kid he and Don Mattingly were my two favorite baseball players. The time my father took me to meet him in person is one of my fondest childhood memories. When we buy a house, and I finally have a place to display all my sports memorabilia, the bat he signed for me that day will be one of the pieces I’m most proud to show off.

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18 thoughts on ““The Kid” hits 600!

  1. he got a standing ovation last week when he was in philly after he hit a deep fly on his last at bat. it was a nice touch. remember his future stars card?

  2. Griffey has always been one of my favorites – a real stand up guy in a baseball era where those seem to be few and far between. It’s always bugged me that he’s had such fluke injuries because he could easily have been on track to break the all time record. As it is, he’s had a HOF career, but not the huge numbers that he could have produced if he was healthy all these years.

    It’s a real shame around here in Cincinnati – he has not gotten the coverage and the respect that he deserves for such an accomplishment. Around here, Reds fans only care on opening day. After that, baseball is an afterthought unless their team is really doing well, which hasn’t happened since the early 90’s. The Reds definately don’t have the loyal fan following of the Cubs, Boston, NY, LA, etc… teams. I think Griffey goes to a big budget team next year in a quest for a ring before his career fades too much. I’d be happy to see him in blue pinstripes patrolling the outfield and DL at Wrigley.

  3. just imagine if he’d not spent those seasons with those injuries. he’d be up to 700! and clean! it is amazing that he was able to come back at all, though. i remember getting his upper deck rookie card and thinking i’d put myself through college with it (along with sosa, mcgwire, canseco (?!?!) and bonds).

    it’s obvious a-rod will join him, probably manny and if he stays healthy i’d say pujols, too. only 6 guys have done it – 4 clean – and that’s wicked impressive. much love to “the (other) kid” πŸ™‚

  4. @Jim: The “Future Stars” series was a Topps thing and Topps completely missed the boat on Griffey. All the major card manufacturers included him in their 1989 set except Topps. Topps finally got around to including him in their “Traded” supplemental set that year. That card looked like this.

    Two other possibilities for what you’re thinking of:

    1) His 1989 Upper Deck rookie card. By far the most valuable selling for well over $100 these days. (I’ve got one, still in it’s glass case. Thanks dad!) Here’s a great article on it.

    2) He was a “Rated Rookie” in the 1989 Donruss set. So maybe that’s what you’re thinking of?

    @Matty J: Cincy has a love/hate/love relationship that’s kind of hard for me to understand. When he came from Seattle they were out of their minds for him. He was coming “home” (his pop played for The Big Red Machine) and was going to save the franchise. Then the injuries came, and then the boo birds. His resurgence the past few years have brought them back around, but it’s certainly been a lack-luster love affair.

    What’s truly shameful was that Griffey hit number 600 into a sea of empty teal and orange seats. Why do we keep pretending Miami deserves an MLB team?

  5. I have every single rookie card of this guy he was by far my favorite non twin for so long. Lately I am just kinda sad cause even though he joined a club of 3 guys 2 cheats and him his is still a Hall of Fame career that we will think man what he coulda been. How funny/sad is that to think of a guy that is a shoe in Hall member and we will all remember how much better he could have been. Think if those idiots didnt strike the year he hit like 54 or whatever it was. Think if he woulda played more than half the avialable games he could have in Cinci esp when he was a bit younger still. Think of the year he broke his hand when going to the fence to get a ball. All those years were easy 40+ HR years with his swing. What could have been…..

  6. This is the same conversation that my uncle and father used to have about Mantle and his knee. He tore it up in the ’51 Series and played 18 years on one leg and in excruciating pain. Oh, and he played through 15 bone fractures in his career. Still hit 536 in those canyon-sized parks of the 50’s and 60’s.

    We will be telling our kids the same types of stories about Griffey. About that swing and those upper deck shots that seemed so effortless or what an incredible centerfielder he was. About how he always seemed to be having a great time playing the game and played it the right way.

    Anyway, this dude estimates that had he not been injured, Griffey would have broken 700 this year.

    http://thebiglead.com/?p=5990

  7. Thanks for the comment on my blog. Although Griffey doesn’t come close to being my favorite player, I have nothing but respect for him. Everything he has accomplished in baseball has been done the right way.
    By the way, I see you’re from Rochester. Webster’s my hometown, so I’m glad to see someone else on here representing upstate.

  8. seeing that autographed bat must be a great feeling… You have to appreciate the personality of Ken Griffey Jr and what he has done for Major League Baseball…. Great Post!

  9. Hey Shane-
    I appreciate the comment. As someone said before, being able to tell my kids about Griffey the way my Dad talks about Mickey Mantle is one of the things I look forward too.

    I had a chance to buy a signed, matted and framed Griffey jersey for $350, but I had to have all the moeny at the same time. Unfortunately, since I’m a poor college kid, I’m lucky to have $50 at once. I still regret not trying harder to come up with the money, but what can you do?

    What other kinds of stuff do you have? I’ve recently started trying to find some memorabilia for when I get a house of my own. I won a signed Allen Iverson jersey and it sparked the bug. Unfortunately, it’s an expensive habit and that hinders me a bit.

  10. I’m pretty sure the signed Griffey bat is the only autograph that I have that was paid for. I don’t really do it for the “investment.” I’ve just been fortunate enough to have had lots of opportunities to acquire random stuff over the years. Here’s what I can remember:

    Baseball players:
    Ken Griffey Jr., Bob Feller, Darryl Strawberry, Dennis Eckersley, Chris Chambliss, Paul Molitor, (Ron Guidry and Don Baylor soon to be added).

    Hockey:
    Ryan Miller, Jason Pominville, Jiri Novotny

    Football:
    Darryl Talley

    Entertainment:
    Dave Matthews, Trey Anastasio, Lucinda Williams (personalized)

    Other:
    George W. Bush (personalized “Happy Birthday Shane” )

    There have to be others that I’m forgetting. I’m not sure.

  11. anyone thinking kg can break 700 home runs at this point?
    i mean, at 25 a season, that’s only four years. he says he plans on playing untill he’s 40…so, that works out.

    what do you think?

  12. well, you’re right about his age…but if you include this season, he technically could play 3 more seasons.

    that would be 33 a year.

    who knows? maybe he’ll be traded to the whitesox and become a DH and play five more years. surely he could get 700 that way.

  13. My favorite baseball player of all time is Ken Griffey Jr. Growing up in the lates 80s early 90s there was no one better than Junior. Even though I lived on the east coast and I am a die-hard Mets fan he was still my favorite player. And Even with all the injuries Griffey just hit his 600 HR Steriod Free, so in my book that makes him # 4 on the all time HR list. I am looking fwd to going to Copperstown when he is inducted.
    Did you see Griffey’s old school Mercedes for sale on ebaY. Very interesting. You can see a pic at my blog..

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