Over the last decade, it has been very easy to get caught up in the steroid scandals of professional baseball. With daily reports about new allegations, baseball fans around the United States have begun to suspect everyone of being on "the juice." However, there is still one true superstar that was able to rise above the steroid scandals and still rule the baseball world!
That man...is Ken Griffey, Jr.!
Almost nine years ago, Griffey Jr. left the Seattle Mariners and signed with the Cincinnati Reds. Since that day, nothing has been the same in the MLB. Now with Griffey Jr. and the Mariners in talks about Junior's possible return to Seattle, the entire baseball world hopes that some semblance of normalcy can be restored!
While playing with Seattle, Griffey was a 10-time American League Gold Glove winner, the 1992 All-Star Game MVP, 1997 AL MVP, 1998 ESPY co-winner for Male Athlete of the Year, and was named to the All-Century team in 1999.
Griffey established himself as one of the most prolific and exciting players of the era, racking up 1,752 hits, 398 home runs, 1,152 RBIs, and 167 stolen bases. He led the American League in home runs four seasons (1994, 1997, 1998, and 1999), was voted the AL MVP in 1997, and maintained a .297 batting average.
Teaming up with the likes of Alex Rodriguez and Randy Johnson, Griffey was well on his way to leading the Mariners to the promised land. Seattle consistently fell short, however, eventually leading to the departure of all three of these superstars. Griffey never really got his swagger back, being hampered by injury in both Cincinnati and Chicago.
While being sidelined, Junior watched the likes of Big Mac, Slammin' Sammy, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Miguel Tejada, Roger Clemens, and now his former teammate A-Rod rise and fall from the graces of elite stardom. The Steroid Era has destroyed the careers of numerous future and possible Hall of Famers.
There is even talk about Bud Selig erasing Bonds' name from the all-time home run record and reinstating Hammerin' Hank as the record holder.
Griffey Jr. is the last great slugger and all-around superstar left from the 1990s. He is the current active home run leader with 611 and will likely sign a one-year contract to finish his career in Seattle. Unless Junior's name is on the list of the 104, he will go down in history as "The Natural" who didn't need steroids to dominate the game.
Junior played the game the way it was supposed to be played. He dominated the game in an era where steroids weren't even an issue yet. As other superstars fall from greatness, Junior remains idolized as one of the best to ever play!
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