A Tribute to Ken Griffey Jr.

There was a time when baseball was a big part of my life. I remember being in fifth grade in suburban Seattle. The talk of the town centered on The Kid, the Mariners’ 18 year old rookie outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. Following in his father’s footsteps as a major league baseball player, Griffey Jr. entered the scene with the expectations of a city on his shoulders. I was a fan immediately. When my dad and I discovered he would be signing autographs for the public one day, he took me to join the throngs of people in line to meet Griffey Jr. For whatever reason that day he showed up late and I was too far back in line to make it to his table before he had to leave. When we left, I was without his autograph and a disappointed. As was my dad. He couldn’t believe that a role model (back when athletes could be considered role models) could be so arrogant to not have the decency to show up on time or finish the task at hand. He put his thoughts in a letter and mailed it to the Seattle Mariners (how did people obtain information in the pre-Internet era?). Lo and behold, a few weeks later a poster of Ken Griffey Jr. personally autographed by him shows up on our door step. I was proud to own that poster and hung it in my room for years afterwards.

When I moved out of the house at the age of 18 I gave the poster to my younger brother, who swears he has no idea where it is now. It truly is a shame. As Ken Griffey Jr. announced his retirement this week from the same team where his career started 22 years ago, I am reminded of a baseball player for the record books, a home run slugger that was never once implicated in the steroid scandal. A baseball player that stopped to sign a poster and respond to a letter twenty years ago. Thanks, Ken, for the poster and thanks for the baseball memories.

One Response

  1. From what I’ve heard, the Kid is a douche if you want autographs. It seems like most former players’ kids that end up in the bigs are.

    I can understand to a point, there are a lot of people out there just trying to a buck off of selling something that a famous person squiggled on.

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