Farewell Ken Griffey Jr.

Back in the late 80s, like most boys my age, I was cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs about baseball. I enjoyed Little League immensely, my dad didn’t have to push me into it, I sincerely loved it.

In turn, I also loved MLB. Back then I could tell you who was the starting shortstop for any team in either the National or American league. So naturally I fell into collecting baseball cards, a past time which has since gone the way of Mark McGwire’s credibility (he along with fellow Oakland Athletic and cheater, Jose Canseco, were 2 of my favorite players).

As anyone who collected back then, the golden fleece, the unobtanium, the crown jewel of any young boy’s collection was Upper Deck’s 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card.

If memory serves me correct it was priced at (for the time) a whopping $100. Now, according to this well-crafted piece, you can get it on eBay at “prices ranging from $15 to $300”.

Sadly, I was never able to “pull” one despite purchasing numerous packs. Elation surely found me when I did “pull” the less-valuable Donruss version.

I was also pretty geeked to pick up Upper Deck’s 1990 Griffey Jr. card for a few bucks at a local store. Needless to say, before I saw the man play in a Major League game I knew this guy must be something special.

And he was and this week he announced he is retiring from the game he loves. Due to a variety of factors, I didn’t get to watch him play very much but the few times I did, his fluidity and grace were clearly evident. The boyish zeal and perpetual smile on his face was infectious.

Not to mention his eye-dropping and freakish abilities at the plate and on the field.

Griffey’s star shone brighter as the years passed and the McGwire’s, Sosa’s, A-Rod’s and Canseco’s of the baseball world besmirched the game with their tainted feats.

Here’s to you, Mr. Griffey and the mirth you brought to the game we and for navigating clear of the lures of performance enhancing drugs.

Here’s a great piece on Griffey Jr.’s retirement from the Seattle Times:

The joy was gone, and now so is The Kid

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