Athletic Voice: Griffey Jr. makes case for the Hall

by STEVEN FOWLER

Major League Baseball plans to announce the players who will be elected into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y, on January 6, 2016. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) is conducting research on who should be elected to the Hall of Fame.

Suspected steroid user and Home Run King Barry Bonds and all-time home run record owner by a catcher Mike Piazza are on the ballot, several new players will also have their opportunity at immortality. New faces on the ballot are Seattle Mariners legend and outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. and former all-time saves leader and University of Arizona alumni Trevor Hoffman.

After making his MLB debut at 19 in 1989 with the Seattle Mariners, Griffey otherwise known as the “The Kid” played in 22 seasons. The 13-time All-Star accumulated 2,781 hits and 630 home runs, good enough for sixth on the all-time home run list, in 2,671 games played. Griffey was a part of the magical 1995 season when the Mariners beat the New York Yankees to advance to the American League Championship Series. The 1995 MLB season was the first year the Mariners made a postseason appearance in their 18-year history.

After a trade to the Cincinnati Reds in 2000, Griffey enjoyed a few successful years but was slowed because of injuries. On Father’s Day 2005, Griffey hit his prestigious 500th home run against the St. Louis Cardinals. The home run against the Cardinals put him in a virtual lock in the Hall of Fame. If Griffey stayed healthy during the second half of his career, he could have been the greatest baseball player to ever live.

Former all-time saves leader Hoffman made his MLB debut with the then-Florida Marlins in 1993. Following a mid-season trade to the San Diego Padres, Hoffman, a man with two-career saves to his name, pitched in a Hall of Fame career. For the next 16 seasons, Hoffman remained a Padre leading them to the 1998 World Series appearance against the Yankees while being named to six All-Star appearances during his tenure. After being traded to the Milwaukee Brewers prior to the 2009 season, Hoffman spent two seasons there before stepping away from the beloved game owning a then-MLB record 601 saves. Following the conclusion of his playing career, Hoffman was inducted into the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame.

I advocate that Griffey and Hoffman are shoe-in Hall of Famers for reaching these historic milestones that so many others have rarely  even come close to touching.

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