Goodbye to Ken Griffey Jr.

This baseball card is wholly representative of my idyllic childhood. Nothing was hotter than a fresh Beckett and a pack of mint condition Upper Deck when I was 12. I had the pleasure of meeting “The Kid” with his dad at a card show the summer before he became a Seattle Mariner. Since that time, besides Charlie Hustle, Ken Griffey Jr. was my favorite player. And for good reason, now that he’s retired it’s time to start lining him up against the entire history of baseball. He obviously ruled the ‘90s and among HR hitters and centerfielders there is no one in the modern era --- let’s go post-Big Red Machine – that compares. But in all honesty, Junior retired a while ago. We Reds fans had the pleasure of welcoming him home for 8 ½ seasons, although with diminishing returns in that time. Still, those were 8 summers in which I got to almost always see a Junior home-run and arguably the greatest “swing” of all-time. Of course injuries, which I have always attributed to his pure approach to “the game” (i.e. no steroids), were the bane of his time in Cincinnati. That and he was never really “welcomed” by the fickle citizens of the Tri-State because he never brought home the desired championship he was “destined” to give the Reds. He did have some wonderful seasons in our uniform though (check 2000 or 2005), but after a few hamstrings keeping him hamstrung, the twilight of his career had been reached. Retreating to the White Sox and then “returning” to the womb in Seattle was just fodder for the media and maybe a bit of ego-tripping.

Regardless of all that – this is a tribute and a caps off to an instant legend, a first-time hall-o-famer, Simpson's character, commercial icon and namesake of one of the more rare chocolate candy bars known to man.

Let us not forget part-time rapper.

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