Debate Ramirez vs. Griffey with Jayson Stark
Monday's topic, courtesy of Chris from Los Angeles:Who's had the greater career: Manny Ramirez or Ken Griffey, Jr.?
THE CASE FOR RAMIREZ
We've all spent so much time focusing on what a knucklehead Manny can be that we?ve overlooked something slightly more important: He's one of the greatest right-handed hitters who ever lived. I'll get to some of those numbers as we roll through this debate. But of more direct relevance to this particular topic, you can certainly argue that Ramirez was a more complete hitter than Griffey (.312 average to Griffey's .289, .408 on-base percentage to Griffey's .373, .591 slugging percentage to Griffey's .550). And it's impossible to dispute that Manny has had the steadier career--even if "steady" isn't a word that should ever be used in the same sentence as "Manny" without serious soul-searching.
THE CASE FOR GRIFFEY
Well, let's start with some basic mathematics. Last time I checked, 600 was a lot bigger number than 500. Manny was the 24th name in the ever-swelling 500-Homer Club. Griffey will be joining only Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Sammy Sosa in the 600-Homer Club. Big difference. But of course, Griffey also has a few other attributes. Like 10 consecutive Gold Gloves, a unanimous MVP award, three Players Choice awards, a spot on the All-Century Team and another spot on the all-time Rawlings Gold Glove team. Among other things.
With all apologies to the Manny Being Manny Fan Club, I deduct points for all those jogs to first base, week-long midseason vacations and inability to fit spring training into our man Manny's busy schedule. Plus, I guess I missed the news about those 10 Gold Glove trophies Manny secretly won. So I'm going with Junior Griffey, one of the greatest and most charismatic players of modern times. But if you disagree, hey, that's what we're here for.
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