It's always important to adjust for era. There are 30 pages of Ken Griffey, Jr. highlights on MLB.com. There are 20 pages of Bryce Harper highlights on MLB.com. So has Bryce Harper already accomplished two-thirds as much as Griffey? No, of course not. Maybe half. But not two-thirds.
Junior earned more than $170 million in his 22-year career but was much more cost-effective for the Mariners than his hometown Reds.
When Ken Griffey Jr. called it a career earlier this month, the decision was not a surprise. Unfortunately, within hours of his announcement, the news was eclipsed by Armando Galarraga’s near-perfect game, turning the conversation from The Kid’s retirement to Jim Joyce and instant replay.
Plus Ivy on the Tribe and way too much thought on three-catcher situations in the Bronx and Tampa Bay.
In moments of peril, our nation's history of turning to the Ivy Leagues has produced all sorts of historic results, not all of them regrettable. So with their bullpen desperately bad again, as they've fallen to employing the league's worst relief corps after consecutive 12th-place finishes the previous two seasons, the Tribe's called up Mr. Man, to translate his name from German.
The JAWS take on Junior shows that he ranks as one of the top center fielders in baseball history.
Ken Griffey Jr. announced his retirement today, news that was almost instantly overshadowed by umpire Jim Joyce's blown call on what should have been the final out of Armando Galarraga's perfect game. Which isn't to say that Junior's retirement was poorly timed. The 40-year-old Griffey was hitting just .184/.250/.204, with two doubles and zero homers in 108 plate appearances, one season after a .214/.324/.411 showing supplied more than a subtle hint that his time had passed. The Mariners, with whom Griffey began his major league career back in 1989, re-signed him this past winter as much for his purported effect on the clubhouse atmosphere as for whatever was left in his bat, but with a 20-31 record and an offense that was averaging just 3.7 runs per game, there was little defense for carrying him on the roster, particularly after the recent Slumbergate controversy turned the Seattle locker room into a chest-thump-a-thon.
Ken Griffey Jr. may soon choose retirement, but there are still a few teams that could benefit from his skills.
Near the end of yesterday's ESPNews spot, Bram Weinstein asked me about Ken Griffey Jr.'s future. It wasn't a surprise-I usually get the segment topics in advance-but I was still caught off guard a bit. We'd been talking about guys like Manny Ramirez and Adam Dunn and Bobby Abreu, productive hitters who are likely to be above-average players, even stars, in 2009, and whose expected performance warrants eight-figure salaries for multiple seasons.
Arizona tries to head in a specific direction, plus news and views from around the game.
Every team has its share of peaks and valleys over the course of six months and 162 games. Bob Melvin certainly understands that baseball truism. However, he has a hard time explaining the Diamondbacks' peripatetic performance to this point. "When we hit our peak, it was a really high one," Melvin said. "And when we hit our valley, it was a really low one. We've gone from one extreme to the other this season, that's for sure and I think anyone in this organization truly understand why it's happened this way we would try to do something to rectify it."
Perhaps it is Pythagoras evening things out. The Diamondbacks made the postseason last year despite being outscored 732-712 in the regular season, and in April seemed set to put that past mystery behind them when they went 20-8 and opened a lead in the NL West as high as 6½ games. However, the Diamondbacks have gone a combined 15-22 in May and the first third of June. That has left the defending NL West champions with a 35-30 record, though still holding a 3½-game lead over the Dodgers, thanks to none of the other four teams in the division being over .500.
With milestones, it's a case of the player and the context of his feat, not just one or the other.
Today, tomorrow, Sunday…sometime soon, Manny Ramirez is going to turn on a pitch, yank it deep into the left-field seats, and set off a celebration. Over in the National League, Ken Griffey, Jr. will uncoil that long swing and do much the same. Each is on the brink of a round-number milestone-500 homers for Ramirez, 600 for Griffey Jr.-that set our base-ten-lovin' hearts pumpin'.