First off, let me say I am the biggest Ken Griffey Jr. fan you will find anywhere. As much as it pains me to say what I'm about to, I feel I must. Junior, please retire.
As a kid growing up in Cincinnati I would watch SportsCenter every morning because it was the only way I could watch highlights of my favorite player and know there would be some clip of him smashing a home run or robbing some poor guy of a round tripper.
Everyone knows what Junior did in the '90s -- the prettiest swing ever, the power, the graceful fielding, that arm -- so there is no need to say more than that. He was bigger than the game. When someone said, "baseball," Ken Griffey Jr. was the first name anyone thought of. No doubt, he was going to leave the game as the greatest of all time.
Oh, how times have changed. When Junior came to the Reds in 2000 I was in shock. My dream had come true. My favorite player was in my hometown and I could watch him whenever I wanted. The Reds were destined to win a World Series, I thought. Father Time had other ideas.
The injuries started to pile up, the Reds were losing and everyone in Cincinnati needed a scapegoat, so naturally he was it. I wasn’t mad at all his injuries because they were all while he was playing. Whether it was diving for a ball in the outfield or running the bases, it seemed like he couldn’t do anything without getting hurt. In 2005 he had a comeback year, hitting 35 home runs; it looked like he might be back. Again, Father Time had other plans.
Junior has now been on the White Sox for almost two months and he has two home runs. Even earlier this year for the Reds he was batting third and struggling. I love Junior and everything he has done, but he clearly isn’t even a shell of the player he was in 2005. Has he even helped the Sox at all?
All I can hope for now is that at the end of the year he will sign a one-day contract with the Mariners and just retire. Please Junior, don’t tarnish your legacy even more by trying to still play the game you gave so much to. You are a legend and people know it, but the game has passed you by. It’s OK, say goodbye now and everyone will applaud, don’t stick around and hurt your fans anymore.