Farewell Junior

He made kids in Little League want to be left handed so they could emulate his perfect swing.  Everybody wanted to wear number 24.  Kids who played the infield suddenly wanted to play centerfield.  He was the reason card shops stayed open because kids would take their allowance and sprint to the store so they could get the newest Ken Griffey Jr. card.  Every kid had a Kid Dynamite poster in their room.  Ken Griffey Jr was baseball for my generation.

The stats alone speak for themselves.  Had he been healthy, no one would be speaking the fradulent names of Bonds, Sosa, or McGwire.  The fact is Ken Griffey Jr was a stud.  The Seattle Mariners had a huge fan base growing up, all because of Griffey.  He made me forget that I was in fact a Red Sox fan.  Quite simply put Ken Griffey was (and still is) the man.  As late as 2007 I was still calling for the Sox to trade Coco Crisp for Griffey.  I always dreamed of seeing that sweet swing at Fenway abusing the Pesky Pole.

Griffey was 5th all time in home runs, won 10 Gold Gloves, and may be the only baseball player in history with a shoe contract.  Thank you Nike.  He also had his own video game!  I will always remember Ken Griffey for 3 things.  1) That beautiful left handed swing, launching the ball into the right field seats and his first 3 steps out of the box were a walk where he admired his work.  2) He broke his wrist 2 seasons in a row making 2 ridiculous catches jumping into the centerfield wall. 3) Sliding into home in Game 5 against the New York Yankees sending the Mariners to the ALCS in 1995 in front of a raucous Kingdome crowd.

Ken Griffey was my hero in baseball growing up.  I did my best to collect all his cards.  When his game was televised I did everything I could to see his every at bat.  Unfortunately I got the short end of the stick and never got to wear 24.  I also tried hitting left handed and that wasn’t what one would call successful.  Skip the wait mandatory waiting period to get inducted into ther Hall of Fame.  Griffey should head to Cooperstown this August and there should be no argument about it.   He is easily one of the top five players to ever put on a pair of spikes. Farewell Kid Dynamite you always were and always will be the man.


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