Ken Griffey Jr. was never my favorite baseball player, but I was 9 years old when he played in his first major league game, and I’m pretty sure I had my first Seattle Mariners t-shirt by the time I was 10.
We’ve known for quite some time that Griffey’s career was coming to the end, and now that he’s retired, I can only hope that some kid who’s 9 years old today has a father or a brother or an uncle who can tell him all about the version of Griffey that he never got to see.
If not, maybe the Yankees third baseman can tell the story.
“He could literally be playing Nintendo at 6:45 or 6:50, and at 7:06 he’d make a Spiderman catch,” Alex Rodriguez said. “And then in the (bottom) of the first he’d hit one in the upper deck at the Kingdome, 475 feet. And do it all with a smile. You look at yourself and you’re like, ‘Damn. I’ve been getting ready since 5:45 for the game.’ I wish you guys had the opportunity to see what I saw for seven years.
“I came in at 17 straight out of Westminster High School and I got to see our Michael Jordan for a long time. Our Tiger Woods. The best of the best. For me, always a first-class guy. Melissa and his kids always treated me like family and welcomed me to the big leagues. I was fortunate that we had a tremendous core over there of not only great players, but great people. Griffey was right at the forefront.”
Associated Press photo from April of last season