Griffey worthy of our trust
After announcing his retirement June 2 the baseball world bids farewell to Ken Griffey Jr. As Griffey walks into the sunset fans can also say farewell to one of the last symbols of purity in a sport where the next drug scandal is an inevitability.
With professional baseball constantly caught up in performance-enhancing drug controversies Griffey was one of the good guys. Griffey is yet to have any serious allegations of drug use. He finished fifth on the all-time career home run list with 630 and is a sure bet to be inducted to the Hall of Fame. What is even more impressive is there is no need for an asterisk to be next to this statistic.
Barry Bonds, the all-time home run leader with 762 was indicted in 2007 for four counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice for allegedly fibbing to investigators about his use of PEDs, a case that has still not concluded. In 2009 the New York Times reported Sammy Sosa tested positive for PEDs in 2003. Sosa is sixth on the list with 609 homers.
Following Sosa on the list is Alex Rodriguez with 591 who admitted in 2009 to using PEDs between 2001-2003 when he played for the Texas Rangers. Mark McGwire is ninth with 583 and an admitted steroid user.
And this is just the top ten. Rafael Palmeiro at eleventh and Manny Ramirez at fourteenth both tested positive for PEDs. Other proven cheats like Jose Canseco and Jason Giambi are scattered throughout the top 100.
Griffey will be remembered for his glory days as a Seattle Mariner from 1989-1999. Injuries began to slow Griffey down in 2000 when he joined the Cincinnati Reds. Intensive surgeries made him lose a step but he was still a respectable player with solid numbers. When athletes start to experience wear and tear is when some of them opt to put something unnatural in their body to give them a boost, to bring back the magic. But signs indicate that Griffey abstained and never used human growth hormone or any other substance to speed up the healing process, he rehabilitated and followed the rules.
With Griffey announcing his retirement before the midpoint of the season he is making an obscure departure, but his accomplishments should not go unnoticed. In the steroid era Griffey is one of the few greats who can leave the game with an impeccable reputation. His legacy of phenomenal catches and a perfect swing will not be forgotten either.