Since leaving Seattle after the 1999 season, Ken Griffey Jr. has lost the lustre that he built while introducing the Mariners to the national spotlight.
While playing for the Seattle Mariners, Ken Griffey Jr. was a phenomenal athlete, with the sky as his limit. He not only built himself into a household name, but he single-handedly saved baseball in the state of Washington.
It was Griffey, and his passion for the game, that drove the Mariners back into contention, and caused Seattle to build one of the top three state of the art stadiums in the Major Leagues—Safeco Field.
We watched a young kid turn into a legend in his prime. Amazing catches, complemented by the sweetest swing in baseball, made for a one-of-a-kind athlete.
But since his trade to the Reds, Ken Griffey Jr. has managed to hit over .300 only one time (2005: .301). Injuries and noticeable decreases in home runs and RBI production have allowed Ken Griffey to slip out of the spotlight until his recent quest for Home Run No. 600.
The rumor is that once the milestone is passed, the Reds will make room for the younger slugger Jay Bruce by trading Ken Griffey Jr. If this is the case—what an early Christmas it could be for the die-hard Seattle fans!
After almost inevitably losing the Supersonics to Oklahoma City, the fans of Seattle deserve something to bring spirit back to their city.
Bringing Ken Griffey Jr. back to Seattle would be one of those surreal moments that make sports worth watching, even if your team is 13.5 games out of first place only a third of the way through the season.
Even if he never hit another home run in his life, if the man who once walked into the Kingdome as an 18-year-old rookie took the field at Safeco wearing the No. 24 jersey, 6.5 million Washingtonians would be forever grateful.