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Ken Griffey Jr. called it a career on June 3
The month of June started off with a legend hanging up the cleats.
On May 31, in the bottom of the ninth inning in a game against the Minnesota Twins, Ken Griffey Jr. pinch-hit for Rob Johnson. He grounded into a fielder's choice and was subsequently pinch-run for.
This would be Griffey's last plate appearance of his illustrious career. Four days later, he announced his retirement from baseball.
Junior ended up with 630 career long balls and was the American League MVP in 1997. He will be forever idolized for his enthusiasm, his energy, and his everlasting positive attitude. There was a period of time when his career looked to be in constant jeopardy as he suffered injury after injury. But he persevered and played 22 seasons and is almost certain to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
While one Kid said goodbye, plenty more said hello. June is also the month in which Major League Baseball conducts its First-Year Player draft. Once again this year, the Washington Nationals had the first overall pick. Their choice was Bryce Harper, a standout from the Junior College of Southern Nevada.
Harper, who will turn 18 in October, was primarily a catcher in college, but the Nationals have indicated that they plan to have him play in right field, at least initially.
Just days after the completion of the draft, the Nationals' first overall pick from a year ago made his much anticipated Major League debut. Stephen Strasburg made his debut against the Pirates in a home game on June 8, and he made it known instantly why he was drafted first overall—he struck out 14 Pirates in seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits.
The 14 Ks sit one short of the all-time record for a pitcher making his Major League debut (Karl Spooner in '54 and J.R. Richards in '71 each had 15).
In a season where no-hitters and perfect games became almost commonplace, June remained par for the course. On June 2, Tigers hurler Armando Galarraga came one blown call within the third perfect game of the year.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Galarraga had held the Cleveland Indians to no hits, no walks...no baserunners. But with a 1-1 count, Jason Donald hit a weak grounder to second base. Though Donald appeared to be out, first base umpire Jim Joyce declared that he beat the throw and robbed Galarraga of his perfect game and no-hitter. After the game, Joyce watched the replay and admitted his error by embracing Galarraga, teary-eyed and emotional.
But baseball did in fact witness its fourth no-hitter of the season after all. On June 25, Edwin Jackson logged an eye-popping 149 pitches and walked eight Tampa Bay Rays en route to the first no-no of his career.
June brought more managerial changes in the big leagues. The Baltimore Orioles dismissed manager Dave Trembley on June 4 and replaced him with interim skipper Juan Samuel. Also, on June 23 the Marlins replaced manager Fredi Gonzalez with Edwin Ramirez. Ramirez had been managing the Marlins' Triple-A team in New Orleans for the previous year and a half.