For a franchise that still seems young at times, the Seattle Mariners have their version of rich history. The greatest years for Mariners baseball were honored recently in the Mariners Hall of Fame induction of the legendary Ken Griffey Jr. Not only was it great to see Griffey there but members of that great young team in the 1990’s were there as well. It was a great touching moment that easily takes the cake for the Mariners’ best moment of 2013.
Here was a guy that was talked about from the earliest years of his career as having a chance to beat Henry Aaron’s career home run record. Seeing him emotionally accepting his honors in front of the adoring fans in Seattle made me think about all of the problems baseball has had over the years. Of course the recent PED suspensions are the first thing that crosses your mind. If it weren’t for injuries during his time with the Cincinnati Reds, Griffey would have given us a career home run champion that would have no need for an asterisk.
Even without those records however, he remains one of the greatest baseball players of all time. I recently saw a video of what was called the “Quickest Fastball on Record” at 104 miles per hour and change. The moment the video started and I saw Griffey Jr in the box; I knew that record-setting pitch wasn’t going to land in the catcher’s mitt. Sure enough it took once to get the timing and then one of the greatest swings in the history of the game deposited the ball far over the right field wall.
Griffey gave baseball fans and specifically Mariners fans so many wonderful memories during his career. Perhaps the greatest thing about his career is looking back and being thankful that we who saw him were able to witness true greatness without a scandal of any kind to tarnish the statistics or more importantly the man.