Ken Griffey Jr., who may or may not be the best player baseball has ever seen (cue arguments), but has certainly been one of them, is retiring. He announced it yesterday in Seattle. In an age dominated by steroids, screwing around and other kinds of abuse, Griffey Jr. seemed to embody the best attributes of baseball—playing for the love of the game. Pretty much just like his dad. He was great to watch, was the perfect team player, and accumulated all sorts of records—and would have accumulated even more if he hadn’t suffered some serious injuries along the way. His career overlapped with that of his father, Ken Griffey Sr., who was part of those Cincinnati teams in the 1970s (which I disliked at the time, because of Pete Rose, mainly, but also because of the 1976 World Series, good as it was). In fact, both Griffeys played together for Seattle at one point. So for the first time since 1973—nearly 40 years—organized baseball will be without an actively playing Griffey. The game is the worse for it.
And while Jr may have been a slightly better all around player than his dad, including as a fielder, I still remember that one catch his dad made when he was playing for the Yankees when he literally ran up the left field wall to make the catch. Too bad I can’t find a video of it. Of course, neither had anything on this.