Watch Ken Griffey Jr. make one of the greatest -- and most painful -- catches of his career
On May 26, 1995, the reigning AL home run champion and reigning AL Gold Glove Award-winning center fielder crashed into the right-center-field wall at Seattle's Kingdome to make this spectacular catch:
Yeah, that's Ken Griffey Jr. -- but you already knew that. What you may not have known is just how important that catch was:
Of course, Junior was famous for the lengths he'd go to in order to catch a fly ball, up to and including running splat against a wall. Here's a video of him actually sprinting across the country to track down a hit:
But that grab against the Orioles was easily one of the greatest catches of his career, even though it sent him to the disabled list with an injury that would affect him for years to come.
Griffey was no stranger to the DL. In his rookie season he missed a month of play after breaking the fifth metacarpal bone in his right hand when he slipped on the wet bathroom floor of his hotel room. All told, Griffey would make 12 trips to the DL in his career. In 22 MLB seasons, Griffey played 140 games or less 10 times. Somehow, he magically managed to crank 630 career homers, anyway.
Last year, Jayson Stark and David Vincent (the Sultan of Swat Stats) posited that, if his career hadn't been quite so shortened due to injuries, he would have hit an additional 100-125 homers. Those extra dingers would have put him in close proximity to Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds.
It really was an amazing, memorable catch, but it's hard not to watch and think, "Oh, what might have been."