05/31/2004 6:34 PM ET
Griffey hits No. 494, passes Gehrig
Slugger now No. 20 on all-time home run list
By Todd Lorenz / MLB.com
|Ken Griffey Jr. follows through on his 494th career home run in the seventh. (Elliot Schechter/Getty Images)
Watch Griffey Jr. hit his 494th HR: 56K | 350K
MIAMI -- Instead of creeping his way up on home run history, Ken Griffey Jr. is going after it in an all-out sprint.
The Cincinnati center fielder's latest victim was Marlins right-hander Justin Wayne, who served up what turned out to be a game-winning three-run homer to the future Hall of Famer in the seventh inning of Cincinnati's 9-7 victory on Monday at Pro Player Stadium.
The homer was Griffey's team-leading 13th of the season and big-league leading 10th in May. The count was 0-1. Griffey didn't know what the pitch was.
"I don't know what it was," Griffey laughed. "If I would have swung and missed I could tell you. That's getting too technical."
He might not like talking semantics, but he can no longer avoid talking about rapid climb up baseball's all-time home run list.
Griffey's three-run, game-winning homer put him ahead of Yankees legend Lou Gehrig on the all-time home run list.
"It was awesome enough just to tie him," Griffey said. "I can't say too much more than that. He's one of the best players to every put on the uniform and to tie him is an honor in itself."
The long ball leaves Griffey in 20th place among the game's greatest power hitters, now six shy of joining the 500 Home Run Club.
Eventually, Griffey's power numbers will probably dwarf Gehrig's. However, Griffey's not one to ignore the accomplishments of the great players who came before him.
"I know a lot about him, especially from when my dad was playing for New York," he said. "I got to learn a lot about the Yankees' history. In New York, they always play his speech and Babe Ruth's. He was only 37 when he got sick and died. The guy hit more than 490 home runs and batted .340."
That wasn't all Griffey knew about 'The Iron Horse'.
"I know I'm right on his heels in games played," he joked, "he just played them all in a row."
As usual, Griffey was able to take his most recent accomplishment in stride, but at least one person in the Cincinnati clubhouse was pretty much in awe of what he's been able to do on the baseball diamond.
"All I know about Lou Gehrig is from movies and stories," Reds manager Dave Miley said. "But it's been pretty fun to watch. There's some pretty impressive names on that list."
Todd Lorenz is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.