Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Where Does Griffey Rank All Time?

Hours before Ken Griffey Jr belted home run No. 600, ESPN.com's Rob Neyer responded to a Wall Street Journal piece that had a "What might have been" theme. Neyer's response is eye opening for those of you who think Griffey is one of the five or ten best players of all time.

From Neyer's blog:

Barra never really argues that Griffey might have been the greatest player ever if he hadn't been injured. But he does allow for the possibility, which I think overstates the case just a little. Griffey was obviously a great player. But I was never convinced that he was a sublimely talented center fielder in the vein of Willie Mays and Andruw Jones, and his .380 on-base percentage before he got hurt was good but not fantastic (just 24th best among his peers with at least 5,000 plate appearances). Would Griffey have become one of the 15 or 20 greatest players ever if not for the injuries? Perhaps. But even considering just the center fielders, I don't see how he'd have caught up to Mays, Cobb, and Mantle.

Neyer was then asked a Griffey question in his chat Tuesday:

Willie (Portland, OR): Okay here's the SportsNation question of the day: Who is the best player in the 600 HR club? Hank, Barry, Babe, Griffey, or Mays?

Rob Neyer: I gotta go Babe, Mays, Bonds, Aaron, Griffey. But you can argue the first four from here to next Thursday.

Up next was Buster Olney. From his chat:

JP (Columbus, OH): Buster, how bout some Griffey love! Where do you rate a prime Griffey Jr. among all baseball players of all time in their prime?

Buster Olney: JP... Hmmmmmmm... Depends on how you evaluate it. He and Bonds were the best players of the '90s, for sure. I'd put him in the Top 50 players of all time... I wouldn't put him ahead of Mays, Aaron, Ruth, A-Rod or Williams - speaking off the top of my head.

Question: Was/is Griffey slightly overrated?

-Brad Spieser (Brad@TwinKilling.com)