Friday, June 22, 2007

Memories of George Kenneth Griffey, Jr.

Having been born in the early 1980s the greatest baseball player my eyes have ever seen is Ken Griffey, Jr. He may not be the healthiest, most 'roided or consistently dominant in the twilight of his career but in the 1990s he was hands down the best. At his peak he was an unstoppable hitter and impeccable fielder. If you have any doubts about that you should have watched FSN Northwest tonight. With Griffey returning to Seattle for the first time since he was traded before the 2000 season a big deal was made. I just finished watching the TiVo of the pregame show and ceremony and it was awesome. Here are some of my favorite Griffey memories growing up.
  • I remember visiting my grandparents in the Portland area the Summer of 1993 when he hit a home run in 8 consecutive games (scroll down to #6 on the list). As each day passed the headline and picture on the front of the sports section grew bigger and bigger. I woke up in the morning just so I could see what he did.
  • I also remember when he scored the winning run against the Yankees in the 1995 AL Division Series. That series may in fact be the point in time when I first started passionately hating the Yankees.
  • Of course my friends and I were Griffey fans and couldn't get enough of his baseball cards, magazine covers or posters. One friend gave me a new, teal-colored, fitted Mariners hat when I was in elementary school. It was at least a half-size too big but I had to wear it. For whatever reason I decided to stuff toilet paper around the edges of the hat so I could wear it. I guess I justified it because all of the girls at school were doing it to their bras at the time.
  • My last Griffey memory growing up was also at my grandparent's house. I thought I was artistically talented because I learned that if I put something I wanted to draw against a window and put white paper over it I could easily trace it. Back when Sporting News was printed as a newspaper Griffey was on the cover so I traced it like a champion. I got creative by using the edge of the pencil to shadow the picture. My grandma thought it was awesome and to this day I'm not sure she knew I traced it.
It really sucks that Griffey was not able to stay healthy during his career. If so, the resident jerk in the Bay Area would be a non-story at this point. In fact, he likely would not be playing since he wouldn't have a reachable record to chase. I have set my TiVo to never erase tonight's footage of Griffey until the day I die. Whenever I hear people claiming someone else is a better player of this era I will watch it and know in my heart that the only player that can claim that title is George Kenneth Griffey, Jr.

(Photo from Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times.)


TazBalla said...

Mr. Smith you have to save that Tivo footage for me. As you know I am with you when you say that Ken Griffey Jr. is the greatest ball player of our era.

Dadroza said...

Grif Jr was the best of the era no question. bonds and bonilla were about the same, maybe canseco or big mac could have come close. But to the eyes of everyone under 16 it was all about The Kid, kids loved the Kid!

Candide said...

Good post.