Thursday, January 7, 2016

Congrats, Junior

The whole "getting older" thing is starting to become a reality for me.  And I don't know that there are many markers that will make that more clear for me than The Kid heading into the Hall, a kid no more.

For me, Ken Griffey, Jr. was the player that made buying a pack of baseball cards worthwhile if you pulled his card.  Or enticing to buy in general just by having him on the packaging.

He was the epitome of cool, backwards baseball cap and effortless gallop.

While I fully admit the aura of childhood and ESPN catchphrases added to the hype of Griffey in my mind, I don't know that there is a player who I have watched play a game so effortlessly as he did.  And say what you will, but there is no player out there who I would rather see as the player to receive the highest percentage of Hall votes.  And it's a damn shame anyone out there thought him unworthy, for whatever their twisted personal cause.

He brought a degree of fun, excitement, and anticipation to a game where 90% of the action is inaction.  Everything about my own baseball playing was built to mimic my favorite player.  From my Junior model glove and bat to my left handed, upright stance.  But no matter how many hours I spent swinging, I could never find a swing as sweet as his.  I don't know that anyone ever will.  It's simply the way baseball was designed to be played.

It's strange to see two players I grew up watching not only reach the twilight of their careers but now take their place amongst the immortals, their playing days a memory just the way Clemente is to my father or Mays to my grandfather.  Players who played so effortlessly that it's almost impossible for the next generation to envision.  And maybe I'm lucky in that regard.  At least I'll have some youtube clips to back up my argument when my future kids claim that the next great player is the best thing to ever touch a field.  But of course I'll always be right.  And Junior will always be the answer.


  1. I've been using athletes to gauge my age for years now... and yesterday was another punch in the face for me. To think that Griffey was blossoming into a super star while I was in college and now he's in the hall of fame definitely puts my age into perspective. I wonder how I'm going to feel when Trout gets enshrined into Cooperstown.

  2. I feel you. I remember Piazza cards being hot in '93-'94 when I was 10-11. Never got to see him play in person but I did see Junior. It's a shame Griffey missed a lot of time due to injury and that the HOF voters didn't elect him at 100%. Still can't believe that all these players that I remember as rookies and were superstars as I was growing up have all passed their prime, retired, and now it's been long enough that many of them are either in the Hall or eligible or about to be eligible for it. Won't be too long before Pujols and Cabrera will be in.