I Knew It Would Happen: Ken Griffey, Jr. Rediscovered

I knew this would happen eventually. With the increased attention on crediting/blaming steroids for the astronomical numbers put up in the recent past by baseball stars like Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey, Jr.‘s career keeps looking better and better. As Jeff Pearlman writes, “Griffey is a baseball legend — perhaps not the best player of his generation, but undeniably the best clean one. He can sleep at night and never worry about federal agents or a grand jury or a tarnished legacy.” A recent article by Jeff Pearlman on ESPN.com’s Page 2 powerfully contrasts the careers of Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey, Jr.:

Following the 1998 season, during which Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa launched the Home Run Chase that Really Wasn’t, Griffey and Bonds — near-lifelong acquaintances — met up in Florida. Bonds confided in Griffey that he was about to start taking some “hard-core stuff” to keep up with the big boys.

Griffey nodded, but knew all along it wasn’t for him.

At the time, the decision was mostly about the reality at hand: Griffey already ranked near the top of the profession. Why be greedy?

Yet with what we know now, that day should go down as a landmark. It was the day when Barry Bonds decided to cheat and break all the records, and Ken Griffey Jr. decided to be honest and fade. It was the day when Barry Bonds decided he was bigger than the game, and Ken Griffey Jr. decided the game was bigger than him. It was the day Barry Bonds committed himself to greed. It was the day Ken Griffey Jr. committed himself to happiness.

You can read the entire article by clicking here. Along the same line of thinking, I look for players from the pre-steroid era to get a second look from Hall of Fame voters in the near future. Go Murf! (If you don’t know who that is, you need to get a life!)

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