McGriff seemed like he was quietly amassing Hall of Fame numbers. And in 1993, after he was acquired by Atlanta on July 20 with the Braves 9½ games behind San Francisco, he led the team to the National Leage West crown. That year, however, there were already a few suspicious names creeping in front of him, pushing his numbers down: Lenny Dykstra was one of three players to best him in the 1993 most valuable player voting; Matt Williams, later named in the Mitchell Report, and Dante Bichette, who was found to have androstendione in his locker, were among those ahead of him in key categories in 1994.
Then suddenly and almost completely, McGriff dropped off the Top 10 lists. But this is not the tale of a player like Dale Murphy, whose career suddenly faltered. McGriff continued to flourish, it’s just that there was a bulkhead of bulked-up heads clogging the top spots. In 1995, McGriff hit .333 with four homers in 14 post-season games to help Atlanta win the World Series. It was typical McGriff, who batted .323 over nine post-season series with the Braves. In 1996, McGriff hit 28 homers, drove in 107 runs and had a .365 OBP.
But the leaders list now included new names like most valuable player Ken Caminiti, along with plenty of players who have been suspected of using. (Unlike the steroids users, McGriff also rarely missed any games-on average fewer than seven per year from 1988-98.)
While many players in the steroids era suddenly developed power - think Caminiti or Brady Anderson—McGriff was the same player at the end of his career as he was at the beginning. From 1999 through 2002 McGriff averaged 30 homers and 104 R.B.I., with little variation from year to year, yet it was players like Bonds, Giambi and Rodriguez that topped every list and drew all the attention. Compared to them, McGriff looked merely average. Yet he was remarkable, his consistent excellence a true marvel.