Chronic Injuries Robbed Ken Griffey Jr. of Homerun King Title
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He hit 600 home runs (5th most all time), won 10 gold gloves, and made 13 All Star Games. In almost 150 years baseball history, only the great Willie Mays can match Ken Griffey Jr. in these statistical categories. However, despite these extraordinary stats, Ken Griffey Jr. may be the ultimate “What Could Have Been” player. An incredibly promising career was derailed in the latter half by chronic injuries that robbed him of hundreds of games. If not for these injuries, Griffey was well on his way to becoming the Home Run King (Stark, 2010) and possibly the greatest player ever. Despite these setbacks, Griffey is still revered as one of the greatest and most popular MLB players ever. The savior of baseball in Seattle and the lone star to…show more content… He gained endorsements with Pizza Hut and General Mills, and had his own Nintendo video game and Nike shoe line. He also appeared in many TV shows such as The Simpsons and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, as well as movies, and wrote his own autobiography (Ferguson, 2011). His 1989 rookie card remains the most popular baseball card ever. During the prime of his career in the late 1990s, he was easily the most popular baseball player and possibly even most popular athlete in the world.
Nowhere in the country is he more popular than in Seattle, where he is considered the savior of baseball in the city. In the 1980s, the Mariners were a historically moribund franchise playing in the crumbling Kingdome. Prior to his arrival, the Mariners had been seriously considering a move to Washington DC, but that all changed once Griffey came (Fort, 2000, p. 313). His exciting style of play immediately attracted fans and attention to the franchise (Caple, 2010). In 1995, Griffey led a miracle rally to the Mariners first playoff appearance in decades (Reader, 2010), and capped the season by scoring the game winning run to defeat the New York Yankees in the first round (Schaefer, 2003, p.6). His rise rejuvenated baseball and the city in general, leading the building of the new stadium, Safeco Field, dubbed the “House That Griffey Built”. Griffey’s most enduring legacy, however, was being one of the few star players who were not involved in