Nairobi Malaria (1997)
Hiroshima H-Bombs (1998-1999)
Tokyo Terrorists (2000-2001)
Chernobyl Mutants (2002-2006)
Inducted into Hall of Fame: 2014
Nothing if not consistent, Fred McGriff spent most of his ten year Weaver League career as the designated hitter for the Chernobyl Mutants franchise. At the time of his retirement he was the Mutants franchise leader in home runs, runs batted in, runs scored, hits, walks, and slugging percentage. All of this was good enough to make McGriff the first player who was primarily a DH enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
McGriff began his career in 1997 with the Nairobi Malaria, part of a lineup with fellow Weaver greats Stan Musial and Barry Larkin. Despite winning 103 games that year they finished well behind the Moscow Chaos. Nairobi won the Barnes Division in 1998, but McGriff was traded midseason to the Hiroshima H-Bombs, a team that went on to lose 104 games and finish last in the Polanski Division. He never came close to experiencing playoff baseball again.
The Crime Dog spent three and a half seasons playing in front of small crowds in Japan. Fans in Hiroshima could never embrace the H-Bombs (wonder why). They moved to Tokyo for the 2000 season, but in yet another failed experiment in politically incorrect marketing the team named itself the Terrorists. After the events of September 11th, 2001 the Terrorists were asked by the Japanese government to move at the conclusion of the season.
The team finally ended up in Chernobyl, where McGriff would play out the second half of his career. He was his usual consistent self for the first two years there, 30+ home runs and 90+ RBI each season. But in 2004 his production dropped off dramatically as he hit only 26 home runs and drove in just 66. In the offseason many in the Ukrainian media suggested that it was time for McGriff to call it a career, but he silenced the critics in 2005. That year McGriff exploded for the best season of his career, batting .305, belting 52 homers and driving in 107.
McGriff came back for one last season in 2006, putting up respectable numbers in what was yet another unsuccessful Mutants campaign. After ten years McGriff decided he had seen enough as he announced his retirement at the end of the season. Most thought that while his career numbers were solid they weren't quite enough to get him into the Hall of Fame. He didn't get the call the first two years he was eligible, but in somewhat of a surprise he was finally selected to become the 12th player enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2014.