In a game filled with cheaters, Ken Griffey Jr. did it the right way

I’m not sure Ken Griffey Jr. knows how to inject HGH or even know how to get it. I don’t think he knows what “the clear” actually is or what it does, and the same goes for “the cream.”

I don’t think taking steroids and cheating the game of baseball has ever crossed Griffey’s mind. And that’s why he’ll always be viewed as a true hero during the darkest days that baseball has ever seen.

Griffey announced his retirement on Wednesday night. He’ll leave the game with 630 home runs (which rank him fifth all-time), 13 All-Star appearances, 10 Gold Gloves, seven Silver Slugger Awards and one MVP honor (1997). He’s a sure-fire Hall of Fame inductee and as I’ve alluded to above, one of the few sluggers whose name has never been mentioned for steroids.

I’ll always remember the days when people would compare Griffey and Barry Bonds in terms of what young outfielder was better. People always said Griffey until injuries started hampering his career and Bonds started crushing 500-foot home runs (while his head grew to the size of a grapefruit). But looking back, Griffey will always be remembered as the better player because he didn’t have to cheat to have his success. Bonds has better numbers, but we all know how he got them later in his career. We also know how Griffey got his: pure, God-given talent.

Griffey’s retirement doesn’t come as a surprise. He wasn’t getting regular at bats in Seattle and wasn’t a part of the Mariners’ present or future. He’s also 40 year’s old and it’s harder for players to balance baseball and their family life when they get to be that age. It was time and I found it appropriate that he made the announcement rather quietly. He’s never been flashy.

Thanks for all the memories, Junior. You never let us down.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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