Storybook Ending: A Recap of Ken Griffey Jr.'s Illustrious Career

Gage ArnoldCorrespondent IJune 3, 2010

All good things must come to an end. It's just like reading a really interesting novel. It begins with a bang or an interesting storyline that draws you in immediately.

For instance, it happened to be a young baseball player getting the opportunity to play with his dad in 1990. While it may not seem like much to anyone, Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr. coexisted in the same game at the same time, and thankfully for all of us, this was just the beginning of the story.

Griffey Jr. went on to post a .264 batting average with 16 home runs and 61 runs batted in during his first full MLB season. These numbers were but a taste of this young man's potential at the plate, as he had already given the Mariners a display of his defensive skills with diving catches and catches at the wall that continually made SportsCenter 's Top 10 Plays.

The numbers were only on the rise, and in the next four years Griffey Jr. passed the 100 RBI mark and hit the 30 HR plateau as well. All the while his M's had become, well, honestly, relevant.

See, no story is good without a subplot to throw in, that twist that turns the story completely upside down right when the hero is about to save the day.

That is the case here, as Griffey Jr. almost singlehandedly revived a town with baseball. Not to crown him as the savior, but baseball and Seattle didn't normally go together in a sentence positively.

With relocation looming, the M's started something that still stands incredible.

The team looked for hope and found that in Ken Griffey Jr. He proved to be the hero in this fairy tale, and though often overlooked, he still answered the call when it was needed.

The 1995 playoffs were ahead of Griffey and the M's, and the Yankees stood between them and the ALCS. It was Griffey's grit and perhaps his "Kid-like" personality that pushed him to round third base and score the winning run to send the M's to the Championship Series of the American League.

The mosh pit with Griffey smiling on the bottom still remains one of the greatest pictures in sports and will forever. It's moments like this that will stand the test of time.

Following this season, Griffey posted incredible numbers with four straight 50 home run seasons in which he had 140, 147, 146, and 134 as his RBI totals.

Upon posting the highest numbers of his career, "The Kid," as he was sometimes referred to, turned to the next chapter in his life: New Directions.

Griffey Jr. was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 2000, and this began a sad and looming downfall to such a promising career.

Griffey posted 40 HR and 118 RBI in his first season in Cincy, but sadly injuries and disappointing seasons made this the best year he'd ever have in Cincinnati.

His numbers progressively broke down lower as his body couldn't cash the checks he was trying to write. But after the turmoil, Griffey did what we all long to do: He went home.

And so Griffey turned to the final chapter on his baseball life and decided to come back to Seattle, where it all began.

Griffey posted just a .184 BA with no HR and seven RBI, and he knew just as well as every MLB fan knew that it was his time to hang it up.

Numbers don't matter anymore. At this point we can look back and celebrate the "Good Guy" of a sport littered with stories of failure and wasted opportunities.

As when you're reading the final paragraph of a novel and you begin to piece everything together and see the end slowly falling into place, remember that what Ken Griffey Jr. has done is be a beacon of hope and a great example to anyone.

Griffey may have done it his way, but he was a genuine man and one of the greatest players to step on a baseball field.

To some he may be known as "The Kid." To some maybe he's the "Savior of Safeco." To some he may just be Ken Griffey Jr.

But just as the book is closed on the long and joyful career of a great man, we can look back and say that Ken Griffey Jr. did it the right way, and that is something that should be celebrated always.