Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Reasons to vote for Junior - #8 He has the "Hand of God"

Most often than not when discussing Ken Griffey Jr.'s baseball career people tend to talk about his ability to hit and hit the long ball. However, his talent at the plate can be matched, if not surpassed, by his ability to field his position. He defensive achievements in the outfield provide us with another reason to vote him into the 2010 MLB All-Star Game.

Griffey has been included in numerous highlight reels and given us a countless number of sensational catches. Many say that there was no bigger catch then when he robbed Jesse Barfield of his 200th home run at Yankee Stadium in 1990, known by all of baseball as "The Catch" (video). This defensive moment is among Griffey's best career highlights and helped propel him to what he was set to accomplish in his career defensively.

A "Golden" Comparison
Ken Griffey Jr. and Willie Mays

Ken Griffey Jr.
Innings played in the field- 20325
Career Fielding Percentage- .985
Career Errors- 89
10 American League Gold Gloves (AL record for outfielder)

Willie Mays
Innings played in the field- 23023
Career Fielding Percentage- .981
Career Errors- 141
Assist- 195
12 National League Gold Gloves (Tied for NL record for outfielder, (12) Roberto Clemente)

By no means are we trying to say Griffey is better or equal to Willie Mays, but provide you with a friendly comparison of their fielding abilities.

"My dad (Ken Griffey) taught me that there's three parts: There's hitting, there's defense, and there's base-running. And as long as you keep those three separated, you're going to be a good player. I mean, you can't take your defense on the bases, you can't take your hitting to the field, and you can't take your base-running at the plate. But defense, is number one." - Ken Griffey, Jr.

Junior had historic numbers and talent at the plate, but knew it was nothing compared to what was necessary and what he was capable of on the field defensively. He was welling to do anything and everything to make a play in the field. This determination was seen many times throughout his career on the field. One particular play that comes to mind is when Griffey sacrificed his body to make a catch off the bat of Kevin Bass, Baltimore Orioles right fielder, that lead to a broken wrist for Junior. This infamous catch was soon to be known as "The Spider-Man" catch and one of the greatest catches in Mariners and baseball history.

In 2007, Griffey's defensive talent was truly illustrated when he was voted onto the All-time Rawlings Gold Glove team, which recognized the all-time best defensive players at each position. Other legendary fielders on the All-time Rawlings Gold Glove team included the likes of Brook Robinson "Vacuum Cleaner", Greg Maddux "The Professor", Ozzie Smith "The Wizard of Oz" and Willie Mays "Say Hey Kid". If you look at the names on this team you will see that Griffey slash the leather and gunned down base-runners with the greatest defensive players to ever have played the game of baseball.

Even though he might not be taking the field or making eye-boggling catches anymore, Griffey gave us much to remember when he was roaming the outfield. Junior won't be playing the field in Anaheim, CA for the 2010 MLB All-Star Game, but just having him on the field is significant enough for this legend. Help put one of the best defensive players into the game that highlights the best at the plate, on the base-paths and playing the field!

Vote for Junior


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