Blog Entry

Griffey's 600th means even more today

Posted on: June 9, 2008 11:27 pm

Think about this for a minute:

It took Ken Griffey Jr. a total of 1,722 at-bats to move from career homer No. 500 to career homer 600, which he slugged on Monday night in Florida.

It took Barry Bonds only 710 at-bats to cover the same distance from 500 to 600.

Each man hit No. 600 when he was 38.

Think there was a level playing field?

Granted, Griffey has had his share of injuries, which is why nearly four years elapsed between No. 500, struck on June 20, 2004, and 600. He missed the second half of the 2004 season with a torn hamstring, and he missed nearly a month of the 2006 season with a strained knee.

It took Bonds barely more than one year to move from 500 to 600 -- from April 17, 2001, to Aug. 9, 2002.

The years can be skewed. Say one player stays healthy and the other is injury-plagued -- well, of course it will take longer for the player battling the disabled list.

But at-bats are a pretty good barometer.

I knew Bonds moved along at a breakneck clip in the early 2000s. But when I contacted home run guru David Vincent, who tracks homers for the Society for American Baseball Research and is the country's premier expert on the subject, even I was stunned.

The fact that it took Griffey roughly 1,000 more at-bats than Bonds to move from 500 to 600 is staggering. Even suspecting what most of us suspect about Bonds and the Steroid Era.

A junkie (home runs, not human growth hormone) could spend hours poring over Vincent's fascinating spreadsheets.

A handful of other relative home run numbers gleaned from Vincent's numbers:

Of the six members of the 600-homer club, nobody was even remotely as quick as Bonds in moving from No. 500 to 600. It took Babe Ruth 1,120 at-bats to do so, Sammy Sosa 1,605, Hank Aaron 1,402 and Willie Mays 1,981.

Time-wise, it took Ruth barely more than two years (Aug. 11, 1929, to Aug. 21, 1931) to go from 500 to 600, Aaron a little less than three years (July 14, 1968, to April 27, 1971), Mays nearly four years on the nose (Sept. 13, 1965, to Sept. 22, 1969) and Sosa a little more than four years (April 4, 2003, to June 20, 2007).

Of course, Sosa was out of the game in 2006 -- partly for reasons beyond suspicious -- else he would have gotten there more quickly.

Bonds finished -- if he is indeed finished -- with 762 home runs in 9,847 at-bats.

Griffey currently is at 600 in 9,045 at-bats. And had he not lost an estimated 450 games to the disabled list from the time he arrived in Cincinnati in 2000 through 2005, his number today undoubtedly would be far higher than 600.

Probably not as high as 762.

But at least Griffey almost certainly can look himself in the mirror today and know he is the first clean guy to join the 600 club since Aaron in 1971.

In a statistics-driven game that is still wiping the steroids muck off of the record book, some things are more important than the raw numbers.


Since: Apr 10, 2007
Posted on: June 16, 2008 3:52 am

Griffey's 600th means even more today

Bonds was not a better player prior to 2000 than Griffey.  They are actually similar in many ways, but Bonds, though good defensively, was never what Griffey was defensively.  Griffey was also a superior power hitter prior to his injuries and Bonds' steroids.  Bonds was not better than Griffey in the 90's, nobody was.

"That kid will break my record." -Hank Aaron on KG Jr.

Since: Feb 13, 2008
Posted on: June 10, 2008 6:06 pm

Griffey's 600th means even more today

I'm not sure what people are talking about when they say Jr. hasn't gotten his due.  Didn't he make the All-Century team?  Bonds didn't and that came out before all the steroid stuff - and Bonds was a better player in the 1900s than Griffey was.  The media has been gloating over Jr. for almost 20 years now, almost the same amount of time they have been dissing on Bonds. I'm still amazed that these same sportswriters actually voted for Bonds to be the MVP so many times, I guess they felt they had to since he was obviously so much better than the rest of the league.  I love it how so many of us think so highly of Griffey because he is 'good for the game', or such a 'pure' player with such a 'sweet swing'.  Words that the media has been feeding us for years about him.  Face the facts Bonds = bad, Griffey = good. Thanks media guys like Scott Miller for helping us realize this.

Since: Feb 13, 2008
Posted on: June 10, 2008 5:46 pm

Griffey's 600th means even more today

No, actually probably the opposite is true.  And stadiums don't add or take away 100+ Hr over a career, maybe 15 or 20 at the most (maybe more for something like Coors).  Bonds hit more HR because he was a better/stronger hitter for a longer period of time.

Since: Nov 11, 2006
Posted on: June 10, 2008 5:06 pm

Griffey's 600th means even more today

To be honest, this was the best opinion CBS article I've ever read. I have to say that what Scott Miller said was gold, and right on. In the way that baseball is, this is the first time (beside the world series) that we can cheer about something that can be celebrated without question for a long while.

And though Ken Griffey is a good player, he'll be the most under-rated players in the history of baseball. His injuries ruined what could have been a great career. Though he's punched his ticket into the H.O.F., many will forget what he's done for the game. People will remember the sluggers like Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa because they were great, and fell because of steriod talk. Only few will remember the honest player who was constant, yet behind those two, who was Ken Griffey Jr.

If other don't feel the same way, I understand, I honestly like KG (haha, KG), want to think that we'll remember him forever. But the media won't potray that. They'll make one good word about it, and the next day it's about how the Reds lost to the Cubs.  

So congrats KG. This was well-deserved. And thank you for playing honest baseball.

Since: Jun 2, 2008
Posted on: June 10, 2008 3:23 pm

Griffey's 600th means even more today

This article sucked. There were a dozen different story-lines Miller could have written about to honor Griffey, instead he chose to make this about Bonds. Not a single nice thing written about Griffey here, he was barely mentioned at all. Miller, like most other writers, has treated Griffey the same way he treated Aaron---nothing more than a tool to settle the score with a player he doesn't like. It's disgraceful, and it annoys me.

Since: Jun 6, 2008
Posted on: June 10, 2008 2:47 pm

Griffey's 600th means even more today

Congratulation Jr. I was luck enough to watch you play once in Seatle, drove all the way from Vancouver Canada.  I almost caught one of your home run balls but it was just out of my reach.  You are the epitimy of sportsmanship and everything that is good about the sport.  I know this is wishful thinking but maybe when the field gets to rough for ya you can try and de-throne Bonds and have a true Home Run King at the top and bring respect and clout back to the page in our history books ment for those who could smash it the old way, the pure way, the fun way.

Since: Mar 13, 2008
Posted on: June 10, 2008 2:09 pm

Griffey's 600th means even more today

One of the greatest players and one of the classiest acts to ever step foot into the major leagues.

Since: May 20, 2008
Posted on: June 10, 2008 1:26 pm

Griffey's 600th means even more today

Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, and now Ken Griffey Jr. the REAL memebers of the 600 home run club.  Throw out sterioders Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa and it truly shows what an accomplishment Griffey just did. We are watching history in the making and a once in a lifetime talent here. In my opinion the greatest baseball player of the 90's. And like everyone else on here has said....defintly one of the good guys that has always been good for major league baseball. I woulda like to have seen what he coulda done minus all the injuries, but that is life injuries happen. I think he coulda broke the Aaron record.

Since: Feb 27, 2007
Posted on: June 10, 2008 12:09 pm

Griffey's 600th means even more today

I don't know much about baseball stadiums, but could the argument be made that Bonds hit in a hitter friendly stadium, so it was much easier for him to get the HR's than it was for Griffey? 

Since: Dec 8, 2006
Posted on: June 10, 2008 12:05 pm

Griffey's 600th means even more today

While I agree about the steriods part, lets not add the injuries in there in comparison to Aaron and Ruth. It's not like those guys went a whole career without them. They probably played through them back then which would only hurt their HR to AB ratio. There is much to respect in Griffey - NO DOUBT- , but the Home Run King is and will be for a long time Hank Aaron. He did it in a era of better pitching and had to fight through racial issues Griffey can only begin to understand. I rate Griffey #3 all time, but #1 modern day. Look out for ARod. His numbers are impressive, and he has not had Griffeys injury bug. No matter what I'll always value Griffey higher than ARod.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or