Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Class of the Junior Set
Wasn't it only yesterday that a teenaged Ken Griffey Jr. used to walk into the Yankee Stadium clubhouse, sidle up to his father and chirp "How was your day, Dad. ... I had a pretty good day."

Junior is still having pretty good days. Tonight he hit his 550th career homer. No. 549, hit on Sunday, allowed Junior to pass Mike Schmidt and took over 11th place on the career list. Next up is Reggie Jackson, No. 10 with 563.

No. 55o was also Junior's 152d as a Cincinnati Red, tying Pete Rose and Joe Morgan for 12th place on that franchise's all-time home run list. Johnny Bench holds the club record, with 389 homers.

Now, Ken Griffey Sr. was a pretty neat player, himself. But the son, well, just by the company Junior is keeping on both lists - Hall of Famers, all - suggests Junior will be settling in at Cooperstown about five years after he takes his last swing. He is a Hall of Famer, thanks to a powerful lot of pretty good days in the Major Leagues.

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