Is This The End For Ken Griffey Jr.?
It is a shame it has to end this way but Ken Griffey Jr. may be nearing the end of his illustrious baseball career.
His return to Seattle has not worked out well. With 61 games remaining in the 2009 season he has only 10 homers and 29 runs batted in and is hitting .215 and slugging .385.
Griffey is 15th in hitting on the Mariners and 454th in the majors. There is no point in him playing past this season. I am a Ken Griffey Jr. fan but even the best have to hang them up and now is the time for Griffey.
He is a lock for the Hall of Fame with his numbers and he is set financially since he will be receiving checks from the Reds through 2024. The Reds started paying him his deferred salary of $57.5 million over the next 15 years this season in addition to the $2 million base salary paid by the Mariners in 2009.
In addition he could make another $3 million in bonuses in 2009 based on plate appearances, numerous performance based stipulations and attendance bonuses.
It is almost certain no team will offer him a contract for 2010 based on his 2009 performance.
With 621 home runs and 1801 runs batted in as of today there is no reason for Griffey to keep playing past 2009.
His .327 on base percentage is the second lowest of his career and his .385 slugging percentage is the lowest of his career. His .215 batting average is also the lowest of his career.
When I think of Griffey I think of all the games he missed with the Reds after having a 40 homers and 118 runs batted in season in his first season in 2000.
Nine years later he still hasn’t had another 100 RBI season. Since 1996 he has hit over .300 only once in 2005 when he hit .301 for the Reds.
Based on a 150 games a season benchmark he missed 346 games with the Reds. When that number is multiplied by four at bats per game that totals to 1384 at bats he missed and probably a lot more than that since many times he would have had as many as five at bats.
It is safe to say that he would have hit well over 700 homers if he had been healthy during his years with the Reds. Add another 250 RBI’s to his 1801 total as of today and he would have over 2000 RBI’s. That would place him fourth on the all time RBI list behind Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Cap Anson.
If not for the injuries Griffey would already have the 264 hits he needs for 3000 hits.
Even if Griffey never plays after 2009 he will have a Hall of Fame resume that includes:
Seven seasons with 40 or more homers including two 56 homer seasons
Eight 100 RBI seasons including three with over 140 RBI’s.
Five seasons slugging over .600
6 HR’s 11 RBI’s and a .290 BA in 18 postseason games
13 All Star Games
1997 AL MVP Award
10 Gold Gloves
Baseball-reference.com compares his stats to those of Hall of Famers Frank Robinson, Willie Mays, Mel Ott, Mike Schmidt, Eddie Murray and Reggie Jackson.
His stats also compare with these four possible Hall of Famers: Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Barry Bonds and Gary Sheffield who may or may not be voted in someday.
As much as I like Ken Griffey Jr. I was worried when he was among the leaders in the early AL All Star voting despite him not being the player he used to be.
It would have been a nice gesture for him to play but then he has been there before. There was no reason he should play ahead of a player who truly deserved to be there and may never have another chance to play in an All Star Game.
It is always sad to see a great player trying to hang on for one more season. Baseball has been kind to Griffey and he has represented baseball well on and off the field since he made his news on the field and not off the field.
According to baseball-reference.com he has earned $147,353,682 million through the 2008 season. He will have earned $206.5 million by the time the Reds finish paying him in 2024 plus the $2 million he is being paid by the Mariners this season.
Griffey is a true five tool player throwing out 154 runners from the outfield and stealing 184 bases plus being a Gold Glove fielder. And when it came to hitting and hitting with power Griffey he is fifth on the alltime home run list with 621 as of today.
Only Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays have hit more home runs than Griffey.
When he only has 10 homers and 29 RBI’s at the end of July it is time for the future Hall of Famer to hang the spikes up for the last time when the 2009 season ends.
He will be 40 in November and it is time for him to enjoy life after baseball and start preparing his speech for his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in about six years.
Thanks Mr. Griffey for giving baseball fans everywhere something to cheer about for the last 21 seasons.