|One more year: Come on Griffey|
|Written by Rich Green, Daily Vidette Sports Columnist|
|Wednesday, 07 October 2009 22:27|
You never really realize how fast you are growing up or how old you are truly getting until your favorite athlete retires. That time for me is now.
The thought of a Ken Griffey, Jr. retirement at the end of this season troubles me tremendously. What can I say about the best baseball player that I have ever been witness to that hasn’t already been said? I can say the best ever without worrying if I am right or not.
I never got to see Ted Williams play and I certainly wasn’t alive when Willie Mays was roaming center field for the Giants.
In an era when hitters and pitchers were “juicing,” Griffey maintained his credibility and has yet to be linked into any steroid controversy.
Say what you want about the injuries, but the man still hit 630 home runs and did it clean. Think about the numbers he could have put up had he stayed healthy.
He played hard every game. He never got hurt taking it easy or falling out of a bathtub. He wasn’t out popping wheelies on motorcycles or jumping four wheelers with Jay Buhner. He was sprawling out on fences like Spider Man, practically breaking his wrist to make a play
He was the epitome of a five tool player. He was the best defensive centerfielder for all of the ‘90s and though his stolen base total suggests otherwise, he was also one of the best base runners.
He is the reason that every one of my two dozen or so softball jerseys showcases the number “24.” How silly is it that I even have a Chicago Bears jersey with the number 24 on it?
When his Reebok baseball cleat came out, I had to have it.
From time to time I still play his video games. I was never the Cubs when I played “RBI Baseball” for the NES or Sega, I was the Mariners.
Because of Griffey, baseball has become more than just a game. It has become an obsession. It all started with that backwards hat and that big, childish smile.
When baseball went on strike in 1994, I went on strike. I refused to play summer and fall baseball…for about two weeks.
If it weren’t for Junior, I wouldn’t be writing this column. I wouldn’t be writing any column and my handsome picture with my green shirt would be missing.
Give us one more year, Junior. Take the Cal Ripken retirement tour and give us another chance to show our love. I am not against a ceremonial last All-Star game. I don’t think Grady Sizemore would mind sliding over to right field and letting you roam centerfield one last time.
I suffered through two games at Comiskey Park and about half a dozen Cubs/Reds games before I finally got a chance to see Griffey in a lineup. I only had to drive to Cincinnati to finally get an opportunity to see him play. It was Greg Maddux’s return as a Cub. I told my friends he was going to hit a home run for me…and he did. The Cubs lost that day, but I won. My dream finally came true.