Perhaps the greatest disappointment of Ken Griffey, Jr announcing his retirement today is not wondering what could have been had he stayed healthy or him ending his career on such a lackluster note (batting .184 with no HRs in 98 at bats this season), but it has been the absence of fanfare and media coverage on the retirement of one of—if not the—greatest baseball players of his era.
(Griffey especially deserves consideration as the greatest of his era should we exclude all those asterisked, performance-enhanced MLBers.)
Over a twenty-year career, Griffey amassed 630 HRs, over 1,800 RBIs, and almost 2,800 hits (he was a career .284 hitter), most of this we know or will find out in blogs and the sports pages. But to really appreciate Griffey, one must look at him in his peak. With the Mariners from 1996 to 1998 he hit 49, 56, and 56 HRs respectively. He had over 140 RBIs in each of those seasons, and in 1996 he played only 140 games. That’s right! 140 RBIs in 140 games in 1996 . . . juice-free.
While the media becomes distracted with Armando Galarraga getting robbed of a perfect game (which is somewhat understandable), it has ignored the final chapter of an all-time great, whom had an almost statistically unfathomable 1990s.