Ken Griffey Jr. retired Wednesday night, bringing an end to a chapter of baseball history that saw Junior as one of the best players in the history of the game.
While Griffey had his career shortened by a bevy of injuries, he still played long enough to notch a career 630 home runs and 2,781 hits.
His home runs rank fifth all time, although No. 7 Alex Rodriguez is just 40 home runs behind.
Griffey was on MVP ballots 10 out of his 22 seasons, winning the AL award in 1997, batting .304 with an unreal 56 home runs, 34 doubles and three triples, scoring 125 times and knocking in 147 RBIs.
Griffey made his debut before he could legally buy a beer, registering his first at-bat when he was 19 in 1989. He spent 11 seasons with the M's before parts of nine seasons with the Reds, where he became notable for not only his production, but his constant injuries. The Reds traded him to the White Sox for the stretch run in 2008 before Junior rejoined the Mariners for his swan song in 2009.
Griffey made headlines earlier in the season for all the wrong reasons after two teammates alleged that Griffey was asleep in the clubhouse when the manager was looking for Griffey to prepare for pinch hitting.
So where does Griffey rank among all-time greats? The only people in front of him in total home runs are Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays. Of course, Bonds has been linked to steroid use while Griffey — despite playing his career in the prime of the steroid era — has never been linked to performance-enhancing drugs.
In terms of on-base percentage plus slugging percentage (OPS), Griffey ranks 57th on the all-time list with a .9073 mark. David Ortiz ranks 49th with a .9213 mark, but unlike Ortiz, Griffey not only has played more seasons but was also one of the best center fielders in the game, winning 10 straight Gold Glove Awards from 1990-99.
There's no question that Griffey is one of the best of all time, but where does he rank? Is he better than Ted Williams? How about Bonds, who leads him by a mile on the home run list? Or Mays, who also played center for the majority of his career?
Tough questions, but one question there's an easy answer to is whether Griffey will make the Hall of Fame.
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