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Gone, Baby, GonePosted Thursday, July 31, 2008, at 3:23 PM
A total of 608 round-trippers in 20 seasons. More than 1,700 runs batted in.
A total of 2,646 hits in those 20 seasons.
A sure Hall of Famer.
But now, heading toward the sunset.
On Thursday, Ken Griffey Jr. was traded from the Cincinnati Reds to the Chicago White Sox.
For the first time in more than a decade, Griffey may reach the playoffs.
One of the premier players since 1990, Griffey was traded by the Seattle Mariners in 2000 to the Reds, my favorite team.
Griffey grew up in Cincinnati. His father played for the "Big Red Machine."
Most Reds' fans believed he would be bringing championship galore with him when he arrived.
It was "our" time.
But it never happened.
Griffey got hurt his second year with the Reds and never really recovered.
Now, he's a shell of his former self.
But that's to be expected from a player who's played since 1989. He's been lacing up his cleats since before most high school baseball players were born.
And his statistics show it.
Griffey has a career batting average of .288, quite good for a power-hitter.
He became only the sixth player in Major League Baseball to hit 600 homers this year, joining only Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Sammy Sosa.
But since he came to Cincinnati, the expectations have been high.
He was the "Cincinnati Kid." He was supposed to bring postseason joy with him.
But it didn't happen.
Rather, Griffey ony played more than 140 games in a season twice with the Reds. In fact, for three straight years, he played less than 100 games.
During his nine years with the Reds, he has amassed just 210 home runs. In contrast, during the previous eight years with the Mariners, he hit 338 homers, which included back-to-back 56-home run campaigns.
Isn't this what is supposed to happen?
Players lose the edge at a certain point in their career in any sport.
There are few, very few, players who have the capability to keep those stats coming.
Sure, Brett Favre comes to mind. He has continued to torch defenses throughout the years and wants to do it again. But he may not get that chance.
Griffey wanted to come home. It's where he wanted to play.
There have been critics this year saying he looks like he's playing uninspired.
If I were on the Reds' roster, I'd be uninspired too. Cincy is simply not that good.
It's unfortunate the playoffs didn't come with Griffey.
Reds fans will just have to keep waiting.
And we're a patient bunch.
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