Ken Griffey, Jr. Returns to Seattle; Dreams Do Come True

Ken Griffey, Jr. will be returning to the Seattle Mariners for the 2009 Major League Baseball season. Griffey is a 13-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove winner, 7-time Silver Slugger recipient and was the 1997 Most Valuable Player. To this day he is my favorite player.

According to legend, as young children, my older and I both wanted Griffey to be our favorite player. You see, we were avid baseball card collectors and when trading cards it was a type of trump card to say “and he’s my favorite player,” in order to grease the wheels in your favor when negotiating a deal. In our trading card circle this was an unspoken rule upheld by all of us, similar to the infallibility of “calling it.” I think Seinfeld or Brian Regan has a joke about that, but I can’t find a clip to link to.

Anyway, we both wanted to be able to greedily hoard all the Ken Griffey, Jr. cards that were available, so we played Rock, Paper, Scissors or something to decide who would be awarded the trading card rights to Griffey and be able to call him their Favorite Player…

1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey, Jr. Rookie Card, the Holy Grail of Griffey cards

1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey, Jr. Rookie Card, the Holy Grail of Griffey cards

I won. One of the few victories I recorded over my older brother in my youth, but I genuinely liked Griffey more than him anyway. He was more concerned with the financial gain that would be associated with the deal. I didn’t know it at the time, but what attracted me to Ken Griffey, Jr. as a baseball player was his approach to the game.

For the better part of his career (the years in Seattle prior to the string of always-disapointing injuries) he covered centerfield as well as anyone who played before him. For a portion of that time, somewhere in the 1990-1999 Gold Glove seasons, he was probably the best ever in centerfield.

At the plate he was a monster: Power to all fields and devasting when pulling the ball (pitchers don’t leave it down and in), a perennial .300 hitter (career avg. .288), speed on the base paths and to use a nonsensical sports phrase, “big in the clutch.” The joy he received from playing the game was evident every time he took the field.

Griffey’s career numbers are legit too. I think it’s safe to say that all 2,679 hits, 611 of which are Home Runs, are juice-free. With Barry Bonds’, Alex Rodriguez’s and Sammy Sosa’s career numbers all a little suspect I don’t think it’s unreasonable for Griffey to rightfully be remembered as the best baseball player of the 1990s.

And it is based on my memories of Ken Griffey, Jr. in the ’90s, playing for Seattle, a time when my biggest concern was whether or not my mom would let me ride my bike to school, that I wait in excitement for Griffey to once again take the field as a Seattle Mariner and bring me to tears in nostalgic bliss. And I WILL ride my fucking bike to work on Opening Day.

Oh, so who did my older brother end up selecting as his favorite player? Barry (cough, cough) Bonds.


2 Responses to Ken Griffey, Jr. Returns to Seattle; Dreams Do Come True

  1. Pete Zorbist says:

    haha this story takes me back. im surprised about his decision though because just yesterday he said he would playing in atlanta.

  2. Older Brother says:

    Yes indeed, I was runner up in the deal and selected Bonds.

    After years of being upstaged by Griffey, and by proxy Pro(brother)bot, I decided it was time to do something about it. Soooo…around 2002ish I snuck into the Giants’ clubhouse late at night and swapped out the contents of Barry’s bottle of advil with–shall we say–a more effective selection of pills. (Shhh…they were steroids.) Now, nobody knows about this, nor has Barry ever suspected anything was fishy, but you see, I had to do something! My kid brother was whipping my ass on the open market and card shop hustlers were wiping their asses with Barry Bonds cards. I did what I had to do…and as long as no one ever finds out (aside from RBM readers–but you 5 guys won’t tell, right?) Bonds will go down as the greatest of all time and I will again be victorious over Probot!

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