Thursday, June 3, 2010
So long Kid, thanks for the memories.
I understand that all that is going on in the world, the rettirement of a baseball player who has earned millions ranks very low on the importance scale. I get that. So if you are one of those who love depressing, serious, and or social concious commentary let me stop you now as I wax poetic on the career of Ken Griffey, Jr.
You have to look at the time of the emergence of the Kid. The big stars of the time were solid character guys who were great players in their own right. Guys such as Tony Gwynn, Will Clark, and Joe Carter. Never before had baseball seen a kid like Griffey who came to the majors at the ripe age of 19 and turned the baseball world on its head. From wearing his cap backwards to the gold chains and flashy catches which were somehow still fundamentally sound, there hadn't been a player like him since Willie Mays.
But in my opinion his biggest contribution to was that he single handedly was responsible for the rejuvination of baseball in Seattle with his thrilling run around the bases and safely scoring the game winning run in the first wild card playoff series versus the Yankees. Griffey played the game with a child like enthusiasm until he could no longer play the game. A man who played the game so as hard as he possibly could, sometimes resulting in injury, never lacking in dramatic flair.
What I hope most remember about Griffey is that his career, like that of Frank Thomas the other slugger of his time, has been done without a single accusation of steroird use. 630 home runs, and the man missed 2 seasons or more due to injury. I hope we don't ask "what if?" when the topic of his legacy comes up. Instead I hope we'll remember that the man had the sweetest left handed swing in the buisness and we won't see aplayer like The Kid for a long time.