Saturday, June 04, 2005
Ken Griffey, Jr. was the player of the decade in the 1990s (yes, even ahead of Bonds). Lest not forget that he was the only active player named to baseball's all-century team. Griffey was the 1997 MVP, one of only three players picked No. 1 to win that award (quick trivia question: who are the other two? one's fairly obvious). He is the all-time leader in homers and RBI among top picks, at least for now. And, of course, he is among the best ever at playing centerfield.
But more than all of that, Griffey is the only top pick in baseball history that has ever changed the face of the franchise. Quick, name a superstar Mariner before 1989 (sorry, all you Alvin Davis fans). Griffey brought legitimacy to the organization that it had never had before. No other top pick has been a true franchise savior, with the next closest being Darryl Strawberry in 1980.
A-Rod may wind up being the best player ever taken, but Griffey was undoubtedly the most important top pick ever.