This interview with Ken Griffey Sr. starts out horrendously; the inquisitors from TMZ ask him about how "baseball has changed — right? — as far as eatin' at the bawlpark," since he was in his prime in the 1970s. What? It has changed, lots, going from hot dogs, peanuts and Cracker Jack in Griffey's day to a $26 taco that's 2 feet long today. But what's that got to do with the price of beans? And why would that be the first question you ask Ken Griffey if you happen upon him? Was he a noted hot dog-swiper?
About 35 seconds in, whomever has the video camera backs into a topic germane to the Griffey family. Paraphrasing: "What's it like having a son who was a better player than you were?"
Griffey gave an honest and funny answer:
"You always want the best for your child. So, if he's better than me, that's fine. Just remember: He got all of the home runs, and I got all of the rings."
Zing! Awesome. And it's true; Griffey Sr. won a pair of World Series rings with the Cincinnati Reds, in 1975 and 1976. He was an important cog in the Big Red Machine. Individually, he was a very good ballplayer for a very long time — 19 seasons — batting .296 with 200 stolen bases, 152 homers, a .359 on-base percentage and a .790 OPS. Adjusted for the ballparks and his OPS was 118 — above average. But he received only 4.7 percent of the Hall of Fame vote his first season and never reappeared on the ballot.
Ken Griffey Jr., conversely, is a likely Hall of Famer on the first ballot in 2016 after hitting 630 home runs and all of the rest. But, as dad said, no rings. He made two playoff appearances with the Seattle Mariners and one more with the Chicago White Sox. He posted great numbers in many of those postseason games, too. But nothing in the World Series, because the M's and Sox weren't meant to go.
Darn you, pops! The younger Griffey wins the gene pool lottery, the older wins the teammate and circumstance lottery.
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