Griffey & the Mariners’ Hall of Fame

11 08 2013

I’m a Reds fan and have been my whole life.  But my favorite player of all time was and will always be Ken Griffey Jr. – and that was true well before he pushed for a trade to Cincinnati.  I remember when I was younger, the rare times the Mariners were on TV in Cincinnati – it was must watch TV for me.  I’d stop everything to watch him hit.  He was baseball’s Madison Avenue connection at a time when the game wasn’t doing as well as the NFL or the NBA – he was the Nike and Upper Deck spokesman.

1992 Topps Griffey

Last night Griffey was inducted to the Mariners’ Hall of Fame.  5 years ago, I would have dropped everything to fly out there to see such an event.  These days, I’ve got a 1-year old, a move going on, and I have to travel for work to Orlando today (the exact opposite side of the country from Seattle).  So life has kind of pushed things like that to the back burner, but I have other ways to celebrate something like that for my favorite player.  For instance, we named the dog Griffey – only because my naming my son after Griffey was frowned upon 🙂

Griffey Dog

The nice thing is there are things like MLB.TV where I can watch the game on delay.  He spoke in the booth in the 4th inning, and they thankfully had a good chunk of the ceremony on the game cast.  Junior talked well past his allotted time, but everyone seemed fine with that.  His speech was about what I expected – he’s always been fairly self-deprecating, and first and foremost he is known as an even better family man than he was as a ballplayer.  It wasn’t too bad, but Griffey got a little bit of a worse rap than he deserved at times with the media.  He’s been described as standoff-ish and not a good teammate, but if you do your homework and read between the lines, this was far from true.  I always found it strange that people could find fault that a guy would rather talk about his kids than his 600 home runs – isn’t that the kind of thing we should look up to?

Trey Griffey

My favorite story about Junior involves another Cincinnati sports hero.  Joe Nuxhall passed away in November, 2007.  That’s the offseason for baseball players, and one active Red came back to Nuxhall’s funeral – Griffey Jr.  If you’ve been a Reds fan for 30 years like I have, you’d know that Joe Nuxhall embodies what the city is all about more than any other Red (save possibly for Pete Rose, though I appreciate how Nuxie represented his hometown far more than Rose).  Junior recognized that, and that’s why he flew back from Florida that day.

Congrats Griffey!  Just a few more years and you can give a speech in Cooperstown – I’ll certainly be making the trip for that one!

Griffey Jr Gypsy




One response

12 08 2013

100% agree–the guy was a class act all the way, and probably the greatest clean hitter of his generation. I’m planning on heading up for his induction as well. Great post!

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