Saturday, June 5, 2010


At this point, there is nothing more that could be said about the career of Junior. This is our final Farewell piece as we say goodbye to his career as a player and move on to him as a legend. We can only wait until the summer he is inducted into Cooperstown, and the reunion he will provide us at Safeco Field when we retire the number 24 on the Left Field grandstand.

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Idolatry is a dodgy concept to a lot of people. Although, it is clearly evident that Ken Griffey Jr. was the closest thing to an idol the Pacific Northwest has ever witnessed, at least from an athletic perspective. We had Jimi Hendrix revolutionize rock-n-roll in the ‘60s, and had Kurt Cobain do it again in the ‘90s. We’ve all had our idols on a personal level, whether it’s our family, friends, teachers, and the like. But no one has had the biggest, most dramatic impact on a city and a franchise more than The Kid.

Wednesday was an emotional day for Mariners fan abroad, as Griffey Jr. announced his retirement to the team prior to the evening’s matchup against the Twins. At first, there is sadness. Sad that the final aspect of our miraculous 1995 season is now gone. Sad that we will no longer see Junior grace us with his presence in the stadium that he built. Sad that the final grains of sand that is nostalgia are slipping through our hands.

Beyond the sadness, however, there is pride, honor, and celebration. Be proud that Griffey was able to retire with the team he wanted to, in the city he loved. Be honored that we were able to watch one of the greatest players in the history of the game. And celebrate the 630 home runs, the beautiful ballpark that’s bestowed us because of him, and the mere fact that without Griffey there would not be a Major League Baseball franchise in Seattle.

I received a text from one of my friends that afternoon, saying, “Jr. was our guy that we could brag by saying we got to watch him play. Jr. was our generation’s Mickey Mantle or Joe D.”

All I could I reply was, “No, Ken Griffey Jr. was our generation’s Ken Griffey Jr. …”

Reach Jacob Kehle at