For the first 12 seasons of their existence, the Seattle Mariners franchise puddled along, like a tawdry and flawed knockoff wind-up toy. It was the abyss of baseball.
The annual question did not focus on the team’s chances for success, rather how many games would they lose. The situation became so dire and pathetic, that a local bar sold pints of beer based on the starting catcher’s batting average. It was safe to say that there more than a few patrons reached intoxication for under $10. This was before the era of Ken Griffey, Jr., a mythical line drawn in the sand, where a dynamic individual forever changed the fate of baseball in the obscure North left corner of the US.
On Saturday, Junior will forever be immortalized as he steps into baseball’s Hall of Fame as a Seattle Mariner. The legendary center fielder and his 22 big league seasons helped lead a region, nation and generation into the modern world of sports. After Griffey’s ringing double in his debut on opening day 1989 off of A’s ace Dave Stewart, the storied missive of the Kid’s career authored a dense tapestry of highlights and shared memories, without the enhancing effects of performance drugs. On a side note, thanks to baseballreference.com and weather databases such as wunderground.com, one can build a temporary time machine using the x-axis of a specific play in baseball history and interface with the y-axis of the specific weather on the game’s date. For example, on Griffey’s double against Stewart April 3, 1989, it was 46 degrees and lightly raining in Seattle.
Ken Griffey, Jr’s Top 5 And Then Some Moments
- “They’re going to wave him in!”- Griffey scores from 1st base on Edgar Martinez’s double to earn a trip to the ALCS by beating the Yankees in dramatic fashion.
- Pacific Trading Card’s Griffey Chocolate Rookie Card- Griffey was literally turned into a confection as a local sports card company etched his profile into a chocolate medium.
- Like Father, Like Son- Griffey Sr. and Griffey Jr. become the only Father-Son combo in MLB history to hit back-to-back homers in a game.
- The Baltimore Warehouse- During the all-star festivities at Camden Yards, Griffey is the first player to hit a ball off the warehouse across the street from the right field with a monumental blast.
- The Spiderman Catch- The M’s were still a middling team when Griffey showed his outstanding range and heart in crashing into the wall at the vacuous Kingdome to rob Kevin Bass of Texas of an extra base hit. Junior missed the next 73 games and was able to return for the stretch run in helping the team erase a 13.5 game deficit and win the AL West.
- The Moose- During Griffey’s tenure, the Mariner Moose developed into an iconic entertainer with various hijinks between innings in the outfield. It is rumored that Griffey had a wonderful working relationship with the Moose and helped refine the Mascot’s character.
- Griffey Upperdeck Rookie Card- For a time this version of Griffey’s rookie card was the most sought after sports collectible on the planet.
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