This is how I choose to remember Junior Griffey.

37 Responses

  1. pinson343

    It’s a good article, and hits the mark as to why some of us are such big Ken Griffey Junior fans. The article recognized the great run he had in 2005, prior to turning his ankle on Labor Day weekend. Those 4 months were his best period with the Reds.

    I’m glad Junior stayed around thru last year. Spending what should have been his final season at Seattle was fitting.
    He did help that offensively challenged team overachieve and had moments with his 19 HRs. His teammates carried him off the field after he hit a game winner on the final weekend.

    I’m glad he stayed largely for selfish reasons. I got to see him play in NY against the Yankees, he hit a liner off Rivera that just missed the foul pole and landed in the row in front of me. That’s right, I got excited about a loud foul.
    The following nite he singled and then homered off of Andy Pettite, whom he always hit well.

    But playing this year was a mistake. His hope was a WS, the Mariners were supposed to contend. I’m such a diehard that I hoped he would get one more chance this week, facing some very hittable RHers in Baltimore. But even though Seattle hasn’t found a replacement DH, they benched him.

    I believe it’s very close to the end now. He could be let go any day. It would be best if Junior retired, the sooner the better.
    They might have already asked him to.
    But Junior’s a diehard too. As long as he thinks the Mariners have some chance to make the postseason, he won’t want to quit.

  2. jernagaj

    As a Reds fan, I hate that Junior’s homecoming to Cincy never really panned out. When the trade happened, I was a freshman in college. One of my roommates, Chris, was, like me, a lifelong Reds fan. Our other roommate was a Mariners fan, basically because of Griffey.
    After the Reds narrowly missing the playoffs in ’99 without one of the best players in baseball, we were sure we were locks for the playoffs for years to come.
    Of course, it never happened. Injuries, injuries, injuries.
    But there was the time Chris and I drove to Cincy for an interleague game with the Tigers. It was the last season of Riverfront, and Griffey hit two homers that day. Those are the days I want to remember, when a healthy Griffey played like his younger self.
    His joy at playing the game was all that’s right about the game. With all the shocks about performance enhancers in recent years, I still say he and Jeter are the two stars of the past two decades who I don’t think partook. If either of them did, it will be a serious blow to my faith in a game I love.
    I hope Griffey has the sense to beat the mob out of town if it’s coming. I’d hate to see him released. Of course, we would all understand why if he announced his retirement midseason, but there still seems to be a lot more dignity to it.

  3. Furniture City Red

    “On the field, Griffey radiated joy. That’s the point. Some of it was his expressiveness, his classical swing, his grace. And some of it was just a wordless gift, this ability to convey happiness on a baseball diamond.”

    – For me, those three sentences sum up Jr. Griffey nicely. He was a ‘Joy’ to watch………And even though he played during the ‘steroid era’ I have NEVER seen or heard it suggested the he partook in PED’s. If you’re picking a team of All-Time Greats you couldn’t go wrong with picking “The Kid” to play center and taking it from there.

  4. Furniture City Red

    Check out His career stats…1993 – 2000 is about as good of a 6 or 7 year run you’ll see. there’s always that question of “What if he’d stayed healthy” with Jr.

  5. TC

    Griffey is and will always be my favorite player. When I’m old and sitting in my rocker I will say, “I saw The Kid play, and yes, he was that good.” What a great article.

    On a side note, I wish the Mariners were doing better. That is an great organization.

  6. TC

    Chad,

    Are we going old school RLN for Civil Rights weekend? The old site is back.

  7. Sultan of Swaff

    Sadly, my best memory of Griff was when they announced the trade. The guy never did it for me. I live in the Chicago area and remember going to see him for the first time at the world’s biggest gay bar, Wrigley. His first at bat he saunters out of the dugout into the on deck circle, half heartedly waves his bat a couple times while scoping the crowd. He takes an 0-4 that day and never ONCE took his hands off his knees on defense when the ball crossed the plate. I left the park a little deflated that day.
    His pure talent should be celebrated, and it’s probably easy to argue he maximized that talent doing it his way, but I’d never point him out to my son as an example of how to play the game.

    • TC

      …and remember going to see him for the first time at the world’s biggest gay bar, Wrigley

      LOL! Priceless.

  8. Steve

    (sorry to interrupt the hilarity of the gay-bashing humor, but…)

    Ryan Hanigan catcher ERA: 3.89
    Ramon Hernandez catcher ERA: 5.91

    I’m pretty happy with the way the catcher situation has evolved so far this year. I’d like to see it settle in to a position where Hanigan gets 4-5 out of every 7 games. He did seem to wear down last year, and while he’s stronger than last year, I’d still not want to take that chance.

  9. Matt WI

    @preach: Would if I could. We lived in Iowa for a year, went to see it. Awesome.

  10. preach

    Not going tonight, going tomorrow. I want to make it a good day for my 8 year old. Need some advice: Never been to the ballpark for BP. How early does it usually start? Any parking advice when traveling with kids? Other things to consider?

    • gboll

      Not going tonight, going tomorrow. I want to make it a good day for my 8 year old. Need some advice: Never been to the ballpark for BP. How early does it usually start? Any parking advice when traveling with kids? Other things to consider?

      I’ve always known the gates to open 2 hours before the game starts but the Reds site says the gates open 90 minutes before. 😕 It also says batting practice is 2 hours before. We always go to batting practice (because we only go about once a year)and it is well worth it. I would definitely go as early as possible because of the larger crowd.

  11. Steve

    Tomorrow night will be a sell-out crowd, and it will be a relatively early arriving crowd, too.

    The Reds generally don’t open the gates until 90 minutes before the game, but tomorrow night it will probably be 2 hours.

    For the Civil Rights Game, there is about a half hour pre-game ceremony (speeches, videos etc.) where the honored guests come out of the CF fence and are driven down to the first base line.

    BP: Not sure what all this means for BP. I can’t remember last year if they had BP, but there is a chance they won’t. If they do, it will be earlier than usual. Sometimes if you are there right when they open the gates you can catch the tail end of the Reds BP. But you’ll see all of the visiting BP and this weekend that means Pujols and Holliday.

    I usually park across the street from the park in one of the $10 parking structure lots. The one I use is off Walnut, below 4th. If you get there early enough you might find street meter parking, which is free after 6pm. The rates might be higher tomorrow, and I’d recommend getting there by 5:30 or 5:45 to be sure to get spaces.

    If you have time, depending on how old your kids are, I’d go to the Freedom Center around 3pm and spend a couple of hours (it closes at 5pm) looking around. It’s a very visual place, so even younger kids might get something out of it. You can park across the street at the same lots you’d use for the ball game.

    Last year the Freedom Center had a display related to the Negro Baseball League.

  12. pinson343

    @Sultan of Swaff: The 0-4 day against the Cubs I remember was the day in mid-September, 2007, when he struck out 3 times against Ted Lilly and ended his season with an injury that was painful just to watch.

    2007 was the year he played great up until and including the All Star game, 23 HRs going into it. But he faded badly in September, while his OPS dropped from .940 to .869.
    He was clearly dragging, a liability on offense and defense.
    But Pete Mackanin insisted on playing him every day in RF , saying he could not rest Junior while playing against contending teams, out of “competitive fairness.”

    Back to that day against the Cubs, I was appalled that he was in the lineup again, and saw impending disaster. So he has a terrible day and late in the game bobbles a ball in RF. The next batter also hits the ball his way, he runs to field it and drops to the ground in agony. He described the sensation as “bunjee jumping from his testicles,” yet he managed from the ground to lob the ball back to the IF as of that were the most important thing in the world.

  13. pinson343

    A story I would tell my grandchildren, if I had any. When Junior was sitting on 499 HRs, the only question was which would come first, no. 500 or a season ending injury. It’s the 9th inning of a tie game, Jr. is waved home from second on a single with 2 outs. The throw is perfect, the catcher is waiting for Jr. with the ball. So Junior lowers his shoulder, football style, and knocks the catcher over, flat on his back. He did hang on, Jr. was out, but still a great story.

  14. pinson343

    The ultimate way to play the game was Junior in his prime. On one of the most remarkable catches I have ever soon, he runs into the OF wall at full speed. He smashes his wrist bones into tiny pieces while making the catch. That could have been a career ending injury, but more important to him, he hung on to the ball for the out.

  15. jkthompson0408

    I like the previous format better. It is nearly impossible to check this site on my Droid with this format 😥

  16. Jared

    I like Griffey a lot, but he’s not the all-time superstud I consider Rob Dibble to be. I really don’t think he IS “The Kid.” I think that was a totally manufactured persona that had more to do with who people wanted him to be than who he really was. Or maybe he really was that guy before he was hurt all the time. I didn’t pay a lot of attention before he came to Cincy.

    Posnaski really hit the nail on the head. “I’ve known him to be both engaging and aloof, both fun to be around and depressingly cynical …” I’ve heard a number of stories about specific instances in which Griffey was a real butthead. Mostly ignoring fans (or worse). But the general consensus is that he’s just such a nice, great guy. Part of it has got to be his smile. If Brandon Philips hit .300 and 40HR a year, stopped running the bases like a fool and did it all when he was 18, he would have been the same guy, or bigger.

    The one thing I really think of, though, is I feel sorry for Griffey. Of course having the biggest star in the game come to little ol Cincinnati was huge 10 years ago. Who wouldn’t be excited? He was right in the thick of the single season home run chase and the career record. He was a god amongst men and watched it all fall away. He has enough raw talent that if he hadn’t had all the injuries, he should probably still be an above average DH today at 40, but instead he’s been playing where he really shouldn’t because of who he is, and he’s even worn out that welcome. I don’t know how hard it is to handle going from the greatest to not good enough, but I imagine I’d be miserable.

  17. Furniture City Red

    @Jared: At the time, I really liked watching Dibble pitch…BUT – “all-time superstud” ??? Come on man 🙄 89 career saves, 27-25 career W/L does not a ‘superstud’ make.

  18. Jared

    🙂 He’s my favorite baseball player. As you mention, there’s really no good reason. Just is.

    • Chad Dotson

      Another thing I love about baseball. We all have our favorite players, for different reasons…or for no discernible reason at all.

      A good example is the guy that was my favorite Red last year (regulars here at the Nation know who I’m talking about). Still like him, even though he is no longer here. Not sure why.

      • Steve

        Another thing I love about baseball. We all have our favorite players, for different reasons…or for no discernible reason at all.
        A good example is the guy that was my favorite Red last year (regulars here at the Nation know who I’m talking about). Still like him, even though he is no longer here. Not sure why.

        Agree totally. One of my favorite Reds players, one that influences my decision whether or not to attend a game live, is Paul Janish. Love that defense.

  19. Sultan of Swaff

    FWIW, I was at the game in Milwaukee when he blew out his hammy. Maybe he senses my bad JuJu.

    • pinson343

      FWIW, I was at the game in Milwaukee when he blew out his hammy.Maybe he senses my bad JuJu.

      Ugh, I remember that one. It cost him an All Star game start alongside Bonds and Sosa, would have been the first all 500+ HR All Star Game OF. He was also going to participate in the HR Derby, with Barry Larkin as his pitcher. If I recall correctly, he was going to host – at the All Star event – the young guy (and some friends or family) who gave him his number 500 HR ball.

  20. Furniture City Red

    @Jared: Yeah, I gotcha. I always liked him too, you just threw me with the superstud thing. There was a four year period period (89-92) when you could say he was Studly, averaging 12-14 S/O per 9 IP.

    This got me thinking about that 1990 Reds team. Remember Jack Armstrong? Superstud for the first half of the 1990 season. Named National League starting pitcher. Ended his career 40-64 with an ERA around 4.6 😕

  21. Jared

    @Chad Dotson: EE, right?

    I like Dibble for the same reason I like the Reds. They were both winners the year I really got in to baseball, 1990. They both stuck while I was at an impressionable age. If I had to choose, Eric Davis is probably my second favorite player of all time, though Bruce looks like he could take that spot over the next few years. He’s really improving.

  22. Python Curtus

    I don’t think the Mariners will release Griffey unless they really believe they are out of the race. The only reason Griffey has stayed is because he wants a championship and since the Mariners felt they were close, they resigned him.
    The AL west is strange this year. The Angels are failing because they’ve gotten older. The Rangers do not have good leadership and their fortunes weigh very heavily on Josh Hamilton. The A’s seem to have a positive attitude and have gotten younger. There is a good chance the Mariners could turn it around and sneak in. So the question is, do they keep Griffey around and wait for it to happen or do they let him go now and resign him in September when it looks like they’re in better shape?

  23. Python Curtus

    By the way, I like the old format for this site better than the new

    • Chad Dotson

      Python: which format? The current design is actually the old format that I’ve brought back (while I try to fix the other, buggy design).

  24. VTNReds

    My wife and I just happened to be in St. Louis for a family reunion the weekend Junior hit his 500th HR. We had seats in right field, and the homer came fairly close (not close enough, of course). I’ll never forget watching the flight of the ball and realizing that it was going out of the park. That and witnessing the Titans’ Music City Miracle are probably my two greatest live sports moments.

  25. Furniture City Red

    @preach: Wow’s right…Gotta be some kind of mental thing. It’s not unheard of.

  26. pinson343

    @Jared: I liked Dibble too, a lot. He was easily my favorite of the Nasty Boys. He was so intimidating out there, he could throw serious heat and had the attitude. Of course he was a butthead, but that was part of the job description, and part of the fun.

    His battles with Sweet Lou were epic. Once of course they had an all out fight in the clubhouse. Afterwards Dibble would say something like: “He reminded me of basic stuff, like doing my job and shutting up.” He always said that like it was a novel concept he’d never heard of before.

    It’s interesting to hear Dibble nowadays talk about young Dibble. He talks about what an immature butthead he was, but how that made him the pitcher that he was.

  27. Python Curtus

    Yea, Chad, it’s this current format I like. Not the buggy one