Griffey vs. Bonds? I#8217;d take Griffey

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 16, 2008

Ken Griffey Jr. is 38 years old. Judging by his .249 batting average, seven home runs, and 30 runs batted in, the Cincinnati Reds All-Star rightfielder is slowing down.

But we can fix that. We can give him a Barry Bonds’ super shake or some of Roger Clemens’ special “Viagra” that I’m sure he only used for stamina reasons.

There wasn’t a huge build up to Griffey reaching the 600 home run plateau. In fact, Boston’s Manny Ramirez got more attention for his 500th career dinger.

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(Image that, a Boston player getting the spotlight on ESPN.)

But the truth of the matter is Griffey might be working toward 800 home runs had he not been plagued by so many injuries during his career.

Griffey was hurt when he played in Seattle. He was the fastest player to 50 home runs during one season, then he suffered an injury and that was it for the year.

Listening to comparisons between Bonds and Griffey are useless. Griffey has been in a decline since he was 34 or 35, which is what happens to most players.

Bonds — and Clemens — actually began to put up better numbers. The links to steroids are more than a coincidence. Call them accusations, but anyone with a functioning brain can see why their numbers went up the grid and Griffey’s hit the skids.

Baseball writers don’t want to vote Mark McGwire into the Hall of Fame because they see his numbers as being inflated, yet they claim Bonds would have been a Hall of Famer anyway.

Probably, but would he have so many records that he would be a first-ballot selection?

It’s hypocrisy.

Don’t penalize Griffey for playing clean. His numbers are first-ballot caliber. But don’t reward Bonds. How good — or healthy — would he have been without the extra “help.”

Forget the numbers and comparisons. Griffey has been the better all-around player.

And the old man isn’t done yet.

-- Sinatra --

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.