Number crunching baseball analysts will tell you that a right fielder may simultaneously exist in a superposition of possible states, in this case, injured or uninjured. In order to explain this concept to math-averse dunderheads like me, Jonah Keri came up with a thought experiment involving assumptions about how many home runs Ken Griffey could have hit if he had hamstrings stronger than Erwin Schrödinger's.
The answer, if you care, is a heavenly 666, which Keri believes to be a conservative estimate. I have no basis to quibble and won't, even if I think exercises like these are silly and suspect that they are strongly suggested by a factoid, list, and hyperbole-driven editorial agenda over at ESPN.com.
The fact is that Ken Griffey did get hurt a lot, and though we don't think less of him as a person for being injury prone -- indeed, maybe we think more if we believe he missed more time than someone taking steroids may have missed -- we must necessarily accept his actual statistical accomplishments as a ballplayer for what they are, because there is no "what if" record book.
In other words, shit happens, and to engage in speculation about the results were it not to have happened has always struck me as an empty exercise. To me, baseball ceases to be interesting when it is removed from its moorings to the real world, and I would think less of the game and its history if Griffey's injuries, Ted Williams' war record, Roy Campanella's accident, and Mickey Mantle's bar tab were removed from the equation in the name of wondering "what if?"
What if nothing. Life is. Baseball is. And I don't want to think about one without the other.