Overshadowed last night by the near perfect game was the story of Ken Griffey Jr. announcing his retirement at the age of 40.

Greatest baseball game ever

Griffey (baseball-reference stats) played a total of 22 seasons and you almost forget the kind of hitter he was coming up with the Mariners. He was the premier power hitter in his time, averaging more than 50 home runs for four season from 1996 to 1999 that made many believe he would be the guy to surpass Hank Aaron as home run king. Of course the way it played out was Griffey was dealt to Cincinnati, where he never found the success he had in Seattle and Barry Bonds eventually became the guy to break the home run record. You can’t think about Griffey’s career without mentioning the numerous freak injuries with the Reds that derailed his chance at Aaron’s record. I always remember the “here-we-go-again” moment with the Reds when Griffey injured his leg rounded third base and missed the majority of the season.

Still, Griffey’s Hall of Fame career was nothing short of amazing. Despite the injuries and missed a significant part of three seasons in the 2000’s, he slugged 630 homers in 22 seasons with a career .284 average. He was a 13-time all-star and a 10-time gold glove winner. His plaque will soon stand at Cooperstown.

Griffey was also part of the 1995 Mariners team that helped revitalize baseball in Seattle with their one-game playoff win over the Angels and first-round victory of the Yankees. My best memory of Griffey will be him flying around the bases to score on Edgar Martinez’s game-winning hit in the 12th inning of game 5 to clinch the series for Seattle.

Growing up in the 90s, he was the hitter you wanted to be. He was the player kids emulated when they were hitting in their backyard or in little league. Who can forget about his baseball game, Ken Griffey Jr. baseball, for super Nintendo? The game was fantastic that I still fire up from time to time, and it still opens up with an intro of Griffey’s classic home run swing.

A lot of people were critical of the Mariners bringing Griffey back to Seattle in the past two seasons as a cheap way to sell tickets. Who cares if that’s why they did it. I liked the idea that he was able to live out the end of his career in the only city that has called him their own and create a couple of lasting moments. Yes, he was actually from Cincinnati, but in my book he was never a Red and does anyone remember he was a White Sox? He was—for a half season in 2008 before returning to Seattle.

Griffey is a Seattle Mariner and will go into the Hall as one. The game is losing one of its greatest hitters of all-time.

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