Ok, this is purely speculative, so please bear with. And also note that many of the stats used are rounded off to eliminate decimal points.
Ken Griffey, Jr. is undoubtedly one of the greatest home run hitters of all time. In his pre-injury-plagued days, it seemed a foregone conclusion that The Kid would be the one to break Hank Aaron's career home run record. But of course, the 2002-2004 seasons kicked in and ended his chance of making a run at the record.
But what if they hadn't? What if he never broke his wrist in 1995? What about other not as major injuries? Just what if Griffey managed to stay healthy all these years? Not necessarily Cal Ripkin, Jr. healthy and play in every single game; after all, most players need a day off from time to time.
In Griffey's 20 seasons, he has amassed 500+ BA in a season only 10 times thusfar. In those ten seasons, Griffey averaged 573.2 AB per season, and approximately 151.4 games per season as well. For his entire career, Griffey averages one home run every 15.12 AB (9192 AB, 608 HR). If these averages were true for the first 19 seasons of his career, he would be averaging about 38 home runs a year and theoretically would be at about 720 home runs entering the 2008 season, his 20th in the league. Averaging about 6 1/3 home run per month through his hypothetical career in which he plays in 151.4 games per season, let's say he would be at about 747 currently (as of August 5, 2008), leaving him just eight behind Hank Aaron's mark of 755 career home runs.
Staying consistent to this career average, Griffey would be looking to pass Aaron's place in home run history on or about September 17th. I'm going to assume that if he were this close to the home run record, the Reds would have never traded him to the White Sox. September 17th falls in the middle of a 3 game series for the Reds at the Great American Ballpark against the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing Griffey to break the record in front of his home crowd. As is, Griffey will be playing in Yankee Stadium with the White Sox instead.
So if you're at the Reds/Cardinals game that day, realize that today could have been the day that you got to witness baseball history firsthand. Or if you're at Yankee Stadium on September 17th this season, make sure to salute Griffey for his hypothetical passing Hank Aaron on the all time home run list. Even if you're not at either game, take a moment to ponder Griffey's passing Hank Aaron, as I am declaring September 17, 2008 to be Ken Griffey, Jr. home run champion day. (Note: Bonds Schmonds)
If all this were true, Griffey would be ending this season at 758 home runs, leaving him only five shy of bringing a huge sigh of relief to baseball as he passes Barry Bonds for the career lead in home runs. If he stays healthy, April 2010 would welcome baseball's first 800 home run hitter, the 40 year old Ken Griffey, Jr. Impossible?
Remember, all of this is based on assumptions and (wild?) speculations, but, what if? A major step towards moving beyond the steroid era could be right around the corner. If only Griffey had a healthy body.