Top 10 Most Memorable Ken Griffey Jr. Plays
As always, Ken Griffey Jr. did not need a giant "Look at me" sign while deciding to step away from the game Thursday, even though most of his career we couldn't look away.
And as with his entire career, we looked toward controversy (a missed call in the final out during a perfect game) rather than pay attention to him.
Griffey should be used to being ignored for controversy since we marveled at steroid users instead of appreciating someone who was not only better than steroid users, but far cleaner.
While it is nearly impossible to rank the plays made by a player like Griffey, here are at least 10 of his most memorable ones.
Oh, and he also made the greatest baseball video game of all-time, Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball and was fantastic on The Simpsons.
10. Griffey Robs Jesse Barfield of his 200th Home Run
This play signifies everything about Griffey's defense. He times the hit perfectly then scales the wall to bring back a home run.
Fast forward to 2:00 minutes in...or better yet just watch the whole video.
9. 1995 ALDS Winning Run
While the hit itself came off the bat of Edgar Martinez, who could forget Griffey running around the bases scoring the winning run in a must-win Game Five after the Mariners trailed 2-0 in the series?
No one will forget Griffey jumping up and hugging his teammates upon hitting the plate.
8. Griffey Goes Back-to-Back With Dad
It would seem as though Griffey's home run off Kirk McCaskill on September 14, 1990, was just another homer.
What made it special was the fact Ken Griffey Sr., signed by the Mariners at age 40, had just hit a two-run homer the at-bat before.
No father and son had ever played together, let alone gone back-to-back in home runs.
7. Griffey's First At-Bat in the Kingdome
On April 10, 1989, Griffey had his first at-bat at home in Seattle's Kingdome.
Griffey didn't waste any time, taking the first pitch he saw from White Sox pitcher Eric King out of the ballpark.
6. The Body-Crumpling Kingdome Catch
No catch shows the disregard for his body more than the catch Griffey made off the bat of Ruben Sierra in the Kingdome.
How did he not break his wrist and/or ankle is the reaction every person has?
Fast forward to 3:40.
Unfortunately the wall would finally catch up to Griffey as he hurt his wrist doing essentially the same play.
Fast forward to 1:05.
And I wholeheartedly apologize for the awful music in that video.
5. Griffey Hits the Final Home Run in Kingdome History
Fittingly Griffey closed the Kingdome's homer list on June 27, 1999, hitting a three-run bomb off Aaron Sele of the Rangers.
Safeco Field would open July 15 and Griffey would hit 14 home runs there before going to the Reds.
4. Griffey Returns to Seattle with a Bang
Griffey had been away from Seattle for seven years until in 2008 he returned to them in a Reds uniform and fans greeted him with sellout crowds and standing ovations and he responded by giving them two solo home runs in the final game of the series so they could remember what that sweet swing looked like.
3. Griffey Homers in Eight Straight Games
On July 28, 1993, Griffey hit a home run off Minnesota's Willie Banks that not only reached the third deck of the Kingdome, but marked the eighth consecutive game Griffey homered, tying the major-league record of Don Mattingly in 1987 and Dale Long in 1956.
2. Griffey Hits Number 500
Griffey hit his 500th home run off Matt Morris of the St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis.
It occurred on Father's Day with Ken's dad in attendance. It was Griffey's 2,143rd hit, which is the exact amount his father had in his 19-year career.
1. Final Milestone
Griffey hit his 600th home run off Mark Hendrickson of the Florida Marlins on June 9, 2008, in Florida.
He would finish with 630 home runs.
It was a joyous occasion, but all fans couldn't help but think about what could have been had Griffey been healthy his entire career.
There certainly would be no need for asterisks or lying to our children about who was the home run king and how he got there.
Griffey will always represent everything the game is supposed to be.
People will remember his smile, his perfect swing, his defense, and the fact he did it the right way while keeping a competitive edge.
He's the one you will tell your kids about.