A Mariners Legend
Earlier this week, the Seattle Mariners released the news that Ken Griffey Jr. would be added to the Mariners Hall of Fame. Griffey will be the seventh member of the most elite members of the Seattle franchise.
The Mariners Hall of fame was formed in celebration of the club’s 20th anniversary in 1997. Since that time, other members have slowly been added over the years.
Here is the current list as found on the Mariners website:
- Alvin Davis (1997)
- Dave Niehaus (2000)
- Jay Buhner (2004)
- Edgar Martinez (2007)
- Randy Johnson (2012)
- Dan Wilson (2012)
When it comes to the Mariners including Ken Griffey Jr., there really is nothing to debate. Junior was the heart and soul of the Mariners, and all of Major League Baseball, for many years. In some ways he still is, as he has not once been included in the black list conversations concerning performance enhancing drugs.
In Seattle, he is known best for his backwards cap, his fun loving attitude, his Spider-Man catches and his power hitting. Many people call Safeco Field, “The house that Griffey built”, indicating that he practically single-handedly saved the franchise from being moved.
Ironically, he only played in the new stadium, which is built around his hitting intricacies, for a single season before requesting a trade to the Cincinnati Red’s.
However, the Mariners fans stayed loyal to their superstar, which was evident when he returned to Seattle in 2009 and retired as a Mariner in 2010. Here are some of the reasons why:
1. The Early Days
Junior won the hearts of Seattle fans who had stuck it through many seasons of bad baseball when he stepped up to the plate for the first time in April of 1989. There were a lot of expectations upon Griffey as a prospect, but no one expected that the first pitch he would ever hit for the home crowd would sail over the outfield wall.
Quite a birthday gift for his old man, as well as to everyone else in the Emerald city.
2. Father & Son Make History
Speaking of his old man, the Mariners did a classy thing in bringing in the older Griffey to play alongside his son. On September 14, 1990 the two made history in hitting father-son back-to-back home runs.
That wasn’t just a cool baseball moment in Seattle; it was a family moment and the Griffey’s invited the entire city in on that moment.
3. Refuse to Lose
Sliding into home plate in game 5 of the American League Division series in 1995 off of “The Double” hit by Edgar Martinez. This moment personifies the hope that all Mariners fans have in their underdogs that refused to lose. The spirit of that moment continues to this day.
When Griffey announced his retirement, Nike put out an ad in his honor that shows his value to the Mariners, as well as the whole sport of Major League Baseball:
However, I feel like the real news in this whole piece is not about Griffey, but about how Griffey can once again mask some of the painful things the Mariners organization are doing. Sometimes, un-news hides the true news, and that news doesn’t feel good going into 2013.
I only hope that I’m wrong.