Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
How Sweet It Is
2008-06-10 05:50
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Congrats to Junior Griffey for hitting home run #600.

2008-06-10 06:47:21
1.   Yankee Fan In Boston
It seems like yesterday that he was literally "The Kid." This is a huge accomplishment, and I haven't turned on ESPN over the last couple of days, but there didn't seem to be much of a build up around this. Maybe it feels that way because Manny's race to 500 was covered extensively in this neck of the woods.

My profound observation of the day: 600 is a lot of home runs.

2008-06-10 06:50:47
2.   Joeg
It's interesting how Junior continues to follow in Mantle's footsteps. First the talent, then the similar career numbers, and now the "If only..." paeans from journalists.

I always found Junior to be a class act, though I never understood his dislike for the Yankee organization.

I saw him homer two years ago in RFK Stadium and it's one of my favorite baseball memories.

2008-06-10 06:52:09
3.   Yankee Fan In Boston
2 Junior didn't like the way the Yankees treated his dad. i don't recall the specifics, but I'm sure someone here will.
2008-06-10 06:57:21
4.   rbj
I got to see him play in the Kingdome in 1994 -- once he hit an opposite field check swing homerun. Amazing.
2008-06-10 06:58:09
5.   mehmattski
If you haven't seen it, Joe Posnanski's tribute to Junior is perfect:

2008-06-10 07:21:16
6.   JL25and3
Griffey makes my short list of favorite players to watch. He could do everything, and did it with grace and style and plenty of fun.

Interstingly, he's probably only the second-best left-handed hitter born on November 21 in Donora, Pa.

2 , 3

[In 1983] Ken Griffey Sr., was an outfielder out of favor with the manager, the late Billy Martin. During and after a blowout defeat at Yankee Stadium, Ken Jr. and his younger brother, Craig, were among a group of 14 youngsters running up and down the hallways, tossing a ball and playing tag. They were a bit rowdy, all of them, but less disruptive than the loony storms that brewed inside the Yankee clubhouse of that time.

"Martin told one of his coaches to go up to my dad," Griffey Jr. recalled. "He wanted us out of there. Just me and my brother, nobody else. Not Lou Piniella's kid. Not Graig Nettles's kid. Not Don Baylor's kid."

Ken Griffey Sr. refused to order his children out of the corridor that day. He did not tell his two sons anything until later that night, when the kids were back home. Then, the family stored the incident away for later motivational use.

"I hold it against them and I will always play harder against the Yankees," Griffey Jr. said yesterday. "It'll never change. Every time we play these guys, I try a little extra. When I hit the grand slam, it was a great feeling.

"I'm no different than anybody else. If somebody treated your dad wrong and you had a chance to stick it to them, you'd do the same."

2008-06-10 07:21:25
7.   dianagramr
Junior's swing is the one of the most beautiful things in baseball history.

Congrats to Junior ...

2008-06-10 07:27:17
8.   Yankee Fan In Boston
6 Thanks for that. Good for Junior.
2008-06-10 07:31:14
9.   Raf
3 From what I remember, Griffey and a few other kids were playing around in the dugout (or on the field), and Billy yelled, screamed & cussed at them. That combined with the way he felt the organziation treated his dad led to his "lifelong grudge" against the Yanks. It was renewed briefly when Showalter took issue with him wearing his cap backwards.

FWIW, he had beef with the M's organziation after they released his dad, but that was quickly squashed.

That had to be one of the coolest moments in baseball history, the Griffeys playing together on the same team. Can you imagine playing MLB with your dad? Loved the way they used to carry themselves when they were together (at least in front of the cameras), playing, joking, having fun. What you would expect a father-son relationship to be.

An awesome talent, people who've only seen the oft-injured Griffey of the Cincy days really have no idea as to how great Griffey was.

It's a shame the way things developed in Seattle, from grumbling about the travel as well as not being "The Kid" any more, and the events leading up to the trade. Having said that, I can empathize with an athlete who wants to go home, who wants to play closer to his family.

But yeah, I'll always remember that smile, as well as the enthusiasm expressed after robbing Jesse Barfield of a HR @ Yankee Stadium.

2008-06-10 07:32:30
10.   Raf
6 's version is much better than mine... More truthful too :)
2008-06-10 07:35:52
11.   Chyll Will
1 I don't know what it is, and it's sad really that there hasn't been the hoopla with Junior's milestone as with Manny or A-Rod. Maybe because Junior's been out of the national spotlight for quite a while with injuries and insignificant Reds teams, maybe choosing his hometown was not all it was cracked up to be career-wise, but he doesn't take offense to it, so neither shall I. I still get a thrill watching him bat, and I hope he sticks around a while longer to reach a few more milestones.
2008-06-10 07:43:27
12.   Chyll Will
6 ,9 Absolutely on everything.
2008-06-10 08:10:42
13.   Murray
So much revisionist history! Griffey always looked miserable after his rookie year and used to whine about everything. And yet the reporters turned him into baseball's Peter Pan. As I remember it, Griffey even managed to cost Alex Rodriguez an AL MVP Award because he wouldn't say nice things about the kid shortstop who had turned into a better player than Griffey was, even though Rodriguez said all the right things about Griffey the same year. (Those of you with better memories than mine can fill in the details.)

As for his attitude toward the Yankees: Billy Martin was mean to him when he was thirteen years old? So what? Billy Martin was mean to lots of people. Get over it.

2008-06-10 08:31:40
14.   Raf
13 He also reworked his contract to allow Buhner and others to stay or to allow the organization to pursue FA's. Even when he was traded to Cincy, he left a lot of $$ on the table to play for the Reds.:
2008-06-10 08:37:09
15.   Yankee Fan In Boston
13 I don't personally recall any of that, but if he was "whining" when he was was 20 or 21 or so, he was still a kid. I admit that I'm not really sure of what you're referring to.

As far as revisionist history goes, either his swing is sweet or it isn't, either the media has been covering this as much as other similar milestones or it hasn't, and you're either impressed by the fact that he's hit 600 or you aren't. those were the main opinions being expressed here, but they are just opinions.

2008-06-10 08:42:47
16.   JL25and3
13 He never looked miserable or whiny on the field, not even close. I never said I wanted to have him over for dinner, just that I loved watching him play ball.
2008-06-10 08:44:36
17.   berkowit28
13 Why should he get over it? He accomplished much more not getting over it. And good for him! Now you get over it.
2008-06-10 09:28:13
18.   Sliced Bread
finally just saw a highlight of Griff's 600th. How many people were at the game, like 600?
They've got to move the Marlins the hell out of there. Disgraceful.
2008-06-10 09:33:12
19.   horace-clarke-era
Actually, if it is just an incident where Billy Martin behaved like a psychotic idiot after a loss (what a surprise!) and Junior turned it into a Yankee Organization Sin ... that's idiotic, too.

If there really is more regarding Senior, that's different, but the story in 6 ... nah. Sounds lame to me as an excuse. May have worked to motivate him, and if so, fine, but it sure isn't justified.

2008-06-10 09:42:43
20.   Raf
18 If you give the fans a shiny new stadium built with taxpayer dollars, they will come :)

19 There probably is more to it. But on the surface, Billy (through a coach, no less) trying to punk Sr. in front of his kids, I could see where Jr. would be a bit upset. Especially if singled out, like Jr. claims.

2008-06-10 10:05:53
21.   Shaun P
Good for The Kid. I always respected him, but never much liked him in his prime, only because he did hit the crap out of the ball against the Yanks.

Just think - when the Babe died in 1948, he was the all-time HR king, and the only guy with more than 535 HR. (Jimmie Foxx was second with 534.) 60 years later, that's an awfully different list.

2008-06-10 10:08:14
22.   Raf
Well, there ya go

"One day during the 1983 season, Nick Priore, the Yankees' clubhouse man, went to Ken Griffey and told him that Billy Martin, then the manager, said his two sons were making too much noise playing in the area between the clubhouse and the dugout.

Griffey resented Ken Jr. and Craig, ages 13 and 12, being singled out because they were only two of a large group of players' children running around at Yankee Stadium that day."

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