Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Ken Griffey, Jr Hits 600th Home Run

Last night, Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr hit his 600th career homerun. He hit a two run shot in the 1st inning off Florida Marlins starter Mark Hendrickson. The Reds won the game 9-4. Griffey, Jr joins Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Sammy Sosa as the only players to reach the 600 plateau. Unlike Bonds and Sosa though, Griffey has never been associated with steroids.

In fact, if not for Griffey's frequent injuries, he could have been the one who passed Aaron. Between 2001 and 2006, Griffey, Jr missed 418 games. In 2007, Griffey played in 144 games. That was the first time Griffey had played in more than 140 games since joining the Reds in 2000.

I don't want to dampen things further. But when I saw the highlight I noticed an almost empty ballpark in Miami. Now I know, the Marlins have struggled to attract fans but this was history being made by one the game's greatest players. The official attendance was 16,003 but it looked much smaller than that. I recall when Tony Gwynn collected his 3,000th hit in 1999. He did it in Montreal in front of fewer than 6,000 fans. Those kind of movements deserve a Fenway Park like crowd.

Still, it was a magnificent accomplishment. In fact, the Red Sox travel to Cincinnati to play the Reds this weekend so I'll have a chance to watch Griffey on TV.

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