When we think of Ken Griffey, Jr., few things come to our minds before his impact and performances in the Home Run Derby over the years. In fact, when we think of the Home Run Derby,
"I'm not a home run hitter. I've just got good pop."
So the basis here is simple: the tenth reason for you to vote for Junior is to put Griffey in the Home Run Derby. Why? Four reasons.
1. Make the Derby more fun.
While it will always be one of our favorite parts of All-Star Weekend, the Derby has recently lost a little of its luster. Every now and then, we get a Derby moment worth remembering (see: Hamilton, Josh), but we think that the average baseball fan would have a tough time listing off recent winners or performances. Also, after the first round, it's not uncommon to get bored of the Derby and just switch to a rerun of Seinfeld. If Griffey were in the Derby, there's no question that he would attract great fan interest and, for as long as he lasts, make the competition significantly more interesting.
2. Protect his place in Derby history.
Griffey is the only guy to win the Derby more than once--and he did it three times (1994, '98, '99). Here's a list of total HRD home runs. Not sure we have much to worry about from several of these guys, but Ryan Howard (41) and Josh Hamilton (35) are definitely threats (and don't forget the immortal Bryce Harper!).
1. Ken Griffey, Jr. - 70
2. Jason Giambi - 67
3. Sammy Sosa - 65
4. Mark McGwire - 56
5. David Ortiz - 54
6. Albert Pujols - 50
7. Barry Bonds - 47
8. Bobby Abreu - 41
9. Ryan Howard - 41
10. Lance Berkman - 39
We realize that it's unlikely Griffey would smash 30+ bombs in the 2010 Derby. But we do think that, however many he hits, it will make his total significantly more out of reach from his competition.
3. Because no one else wants to be in it.
Well, sort of. It is no well-kept secret that many players are weary of competing in the Derby. Whether it is because of the extra fatigue, the effect of the Derby on their swings, or their hesitancy to risk embarrassing themselves--competing in the Home Run Derby is not something that all players seem to yearn for. This was perhaps best displayed in the 2009 Derby when it seemed as if almost every All-Star Game participant was given an open invitation to join the Derby (Mark Teixeira, Torii Hunter, and Justin Morneau were all known to have rejected invitations to join the competition).
4. Because he'd have a chance!
Obviously, Griffey is not having a stellar season at the plate. While he certainly has other problems, chief among them may be his reduced bat speed. With a batting-practice pitcher out there, Junior would be able to regain his form and again, hit the long ball. We think Grif has a good of a chance of any of the participants to win the Derby. We're tellin' you there's a chance!
So, as the MLB only allows for players in the All-Star Game to compete in the Home Run Derby, we think that you should vote for Junior to get him back home and into the Derby.
Vote for Junior