Sunday, April 10, 2005
April 10th, 2000
Ken Griffey, Jr. hits 400th Home Run
At the time, this made Griffey the youngest man to ever hit four hundred home runs (thirty years, one hundred forty-one days, younger than Jimmie Foxx by about a hundred days) and having averaged nearly fifty-five home runs over the previous four seasons and been traded--as per his request--to Cincinnati, Griffey seemed ready to continue his illustrious career which would culminate with the night he hit home run number seven fifty six, setting a new home run record.
Of course, it never quite worked out that way. Griffey hit well his first season with the Reds (.271/.387/.556, 40 HRs) but during spring training 2001 he suffered a hamstring injury that, ahem, hamstrung him for many seasons. Griffey hit just one hundred one home runs after number four hundred, and while Griffey needed just eleven seasons to reach four hundred home runs (including his one hundred twenty game rookie year, and two strike shortened years) it was not until June 2004, a full four and a half seasons, that Griffey finally connected on home run number five hundred.
During the 1999 World Series, the "Major League Baseball All-Century Team" was announced. The only active players on the team were Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Cal Ripken and Ken Griffey. While Clemens, McGwire and Ripken were all at least thirty-five, Griffey was just twenty-nine and it was suggested that he might be the only player to be on the All-Century for both 1900-1999 and 2000-2099. Griffey had the talent to accomplish that, and the time frame was right; it seemed a sure thing. Other factors have interfered however, reminding us that there simply is no such thing as a sure thing.