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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ken Griffey Jr: Baseball Legend , Tragic Hero

(Yes This is a Wine Label)

This is the first year since 1973 that a Griffey would not be on a major league baseball team as spring training ended. I would like to take a break from my normal rants about the Mets or a rants about another team,their talent , and any gripe I might have with what ever I can come up with. I just want to shine a spot light on one of the greatest player of the modern era. Ken Griffey Jr, The Kid, The man with the sweetest swing in the game.

Here are his stats. Over 2671 games played, 2781 hits, 630 home runs, 1836 rbis , had a career .287 batting average, was an 11 time all star, 9 time gold glove winner , an 8 time batting champion and the 1997 league Mvp. Like many before me have said and many will say after Griffey is a first ballot hall of famer. Playing most of his career with the Seattle Mariners with 8 and a half years with the Cinncinati with a quick stop over with the White Sox. In 2009 he returned in a blaze of glory to the Mariners . In his first season back he cracked 19 home runs as a full time DH. Griffey showed his age that season and called it a career in the early part of 2010. Thus ending a great and tragic 21 year career.
With the above stats that I listed some of you might wonder why is his career tragic. This is the part that I did not want to write about but I have to. Griffey had these amazing stats but he could of been the best all round ball player in the history of the game. We would not have to care about guys like Bonds or Sosa and another of the steroid era because it would of been Griffey as the all time home run king.
In 2000 the Mariners felt they needed to get younger and Griffey wanted to play closer to his family . So with a mutual agreement was reached and The Mariners traded him to The Reds for pitcher Brett Tomko, Mike Cameron and a bunch of dudes who never really amounted to much. The Reds signed Griffey to a contract for 9 years worth 112 million dollars. Not that a bad deal to go to ohio's best team with that creepy mascot ( Self promotion ). His tenure in
Cinncy was supposed to bring the Reds back to the championship. Ken changed his number from 24 to 30 in honor of his dad. In his first season he launched 40 home runs . But the playoffs eluded the Reds every year. As the seasons went on and the years past Griffey by time and injuries caught up with the kid who looked ageless. From the years of 2002-2004 Griffey missed a total of 260 games in 3 seasons. Baseball was bleak the Angels(beat the Yankees), Marlins(beat the Yankees) and Red Sox(beat the Yankees) won the world series. Chaos was running a muck the fucking Marlins with Luis Castillio was actually important that how crazy baseball was during that time.

In 2005 baseball fans got punched in the nuts or lady nuts ( because
women watch baseball too) by the steroid era hitting its climax. The Mitchell Report came out . If you are not familiar with what the Mitchell report was . It was a list of baseball players that have taken steroids. Basically a list of guys who's long careers were ruined. It was the biggest black eye in baseball since the space jerseys. Griffey was finally healthy and came back and knocked 35 dingers to win the Mlb comeback player of the year . He played 3 more year in Cincy before being traded to The White Sox for a rental. In the off season he resigned with the Mariners to end his storied career with the team that gave him his start.

Ken Griffey Jr played his whole career in midst of that black cloud. He resisted he temptation that many players fell into. But we don't live in a world were you get rewarded for doing the right thing. Ball players who cheated or however you see it won the World Series but Griff never got to play in one World Series game. It is really sad if you think about it

I don't want to spend the whole time lamenting ( Thanks scrabble) on the negative points
of this great career. Lets end this on a positive note. Ken Griffey Jr is just awesome. He played the game like he was a kid. Like we all did or still do just going out there every time he was on the lineup card playing his heart out. Have you ever seen Griff make a leaping catch at the wall. Just awesome. Have you seen his home run swing. Beautiful! The man had a whole generation of tee- ballers trying to get that awesome upper cut swing. I have to say I was one of those kids and let me tell you it did not really work for me. My coaches hated it but it was fun because Griffey had fun swinging like that. I always wanted to try stealing a home run but the problem is I am too slow and my vertical leap is like 2 inches so I never could. Ken Griffey is a great Role model for any young kid who is learning how to play the game. If there are any fathers who read this blog I recommend you find some Griffey highlight reels. I would just like to thank Ken Griffey Jr for all you have done for the game and may you do great things in your retirement .... What ever you do Don't become a Bro'nalyst. ( another plug I rule... Not really )


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