In my opinion, Griffey Jr. is the greatest baseball player I’ve ever seen. He missed almost 500 games due to being on the DL twelve times. His stats are on another level; I wonder what it would have been if he had not missed so much to injury. He was introduced as the “owner of 630 home runs, ten gold gloves, a five-tool player whose charismatic impact on the game goes on now. A 13-time all-star, he was a unanimous selection for the 1997 American League MVP.”
I have a 4-DVD box set of the Seattle Mariners greatest games, one of them being the 1995 American League Division Series Game 5. 1995 seems like yesterday, when Griffey willed his Mariners team to close the season on a 16-5 tear and meet the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. He would hit five home runs in that series, where the Mariners were down two games to none, before storming back to set up a final game 5.
“Ken Griffey Jr is fulfilling his destiny. He was born and raised to take center stage.”
That iconic game featured so many superstars at the beginning of their careers, at the twilight, and some the precursor to the next generation. Griffey was in his prime, a veteran at 25 years old, as well as “The Big Unit” Randy Johnson. The Mariners had at the time arguably the best hitter in baseball in Edgar Martinez. Shortstop Luis Sojo (their hero who won the division for the Mariners against the California Angels) would give way the following season to 20 year old “wunderkind” Alex Rodriguez, before he was A_Rod. For the Yankees, Don Mattingly was entering the end of his career, this series his first and last taste of the postseason. Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neal would welcome the Core Four the following year: Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte.
Griffey’s mad dash from first base on “The Double” by Martinez with two outs in the bottom of the eleventh was the stuff of legend, and probably the most iconic moment in Mariners history. We may never see the like of him again.
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ALWAYS BE EPIC.