When Ken Griffey Jr. decided to hang up the cleats earlier this season, I think a little part of every baseball fan, every sneakerhead, and every fan of sports in general, must have shed a tear. I know for me “The Kid” was more than just another Major Leaguer for me. He was all that was cool in the early 90’s, wearing his hat backwards, robbing opponents of home runs, and blasting more than his share of his own round-trippers. The baseball cards, the shoes, the off the field cool. Griffey was bigger to baseball than most will ever know, especially in a time that included a player strike, Griffey was one of the only positives in an era of negativity.
Griffey may have decided to let go of the game, but this is one player that the game will never let go of. In the era of questionable suspects, and performance enhancing drugs, Griffey let his game speak for itself. Over the years players fell off, were accused of cheating, convicted, and fell from stardom, Junior simply kept doing his thing. With arguably one of the most perfect (and recognizable) swings the game has ever seen, he finished up his career with 630 home runs, but I will never forget the very first televised home run contest in 1993. Junior with his hat backward going extra pitches to decide the champion. Griffey may have come up one short for that event some 17 years ago, but like this new commercial below clarifies, he won’t be coming up short when it’s time for him to join the league’s elite in Cooperstown in a few years.
Although I am not the biggest fan of the Griffey Max III, I prefer the Griffey Max 1, this is another unforgettable shot of Junior from the 1998 Home RUn Derby at Coors Field in Denver, I lived in Colorado at the time and will never forget Griffey winning the Home Run Derby that year.
Hopefully Junior will share his passion for the game, and skills with future baseball players as a coach of some kind, but for now, I hope he enjoys his well deserved rest. Thanks for the memories Junior!