The Kid Remembered

Jun 3, 2010, 5:20 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:52 pm

Today is not a day to mourn the retiring of The Kid, but a day to celebrate the time he spent here in Seattle. Today’s show was all about our favorite memories of Junior and there was no shortage of those.junior

Long time announcer Dave Niehaus had only great things to say, and while he was sad to see him go, had some great stories to share. His favorite included the time Junior lost a bet of a steak dinner to Lou Piniella and paid the debt by placing a cow in the manager’s office. Something else that stood out to Neihaus and what helped make The Kid so great was his ability to never stop loving the game, even after 22 years:

He came here as a 19-year-old kid and I think he leaves as a 40 year old kid…He has had all theses 10 gold gloves and 630 home runs. He has never lost his love for the game. He is the biggest icon this city has ever had in professional sports.

The Big Unit, Randy Johnson said he could understand what Junior was going through. It can be hard to play a sport you love for most of your life and one day have it come to an end. But he said Griffey’s career will be used to measure others, and that will be hard to measure up to:

He was a superstar from the get go and the career has ended for him. What he has done will be measured by other people trying to do those same things. And a lot of people will probably come up short. That is how good of an outfielder and offensive hitter he was.

Now a commentator for the Mariners, Mike Blowers, has great memories of Griffey as a teammate and a friend. Blowers reminisced about the time he and Griffey went golfing at Pebble Beach. Mike continued to say that in ’95 Griffey was a great boost when he came back from his injured wrist.

Mike Blowers

 

Rob Johnson, the M’s current catcher, shared some of his memories from his former teammate and friend. Rob said that Junior brought the clubhouse together and helped team in tough times.

The joy that guy brought to the clubhouse, the joy that he brought to our personal friendship was really special. The guy would show up every day constant with who he was as a ballplayer and who he was as a person. He brought a lot of happiness to hearts through out baseball.

Rob remembered a talk he had with Griffey saying that he did not what to leave in the spotlight.

Griffey pile
Junior told me one day that when he retires one day he is going to pack up and leave and he is going to be gone. And that is how he did it, and that is how Junior is. I think that there will definitely be a time when he comes back and he is doing to tell everyone goodbye. But I think that will be a later date. I think that he’ll give his farewell to the fans and the rest of the team.

John McGrath, long time writer for Tacoma News Tribune, shared his memories about the Kid.

Look at the swing. Look at the way he played. It was effortless. There are kinds of ballplayers, and in your sport football, where the guys like them were not trying but they did more than anyone else on the field. It was a knack that he had. It was God-given…He took his craft very seriously and it showed because he loved it so much.

John continued by saying that he was not surprised Griffey left quietly, but he’ll be back to say goodbye.

Well it was not a surprise and yet it was. It was one of those things we thought and envisioned that he would be faded and celebrated with a sold out crowd with gifts and a retired jersey and everything. As it turned out, he just went quietly through the back door. It was sort of mysterious and yet maybe that was appropriate too, because he always had a capacity for kind of surprising you until the very end.

Our own Shannon Drayer, who has spent so much time with the M’s and The Kid, has plenty of memories. One that sticks out to her includes both Griffey Jr. and Sr.

When Griffey first played with his father, he was scared to death to play out there. They were in spring training, he was dropping balls, he wasn’t hitting anything. And they decided that he was kind of nervous because he was on the same field with Senior. I heard a story that they had a construction trailer behind the main ball field. And one day Senior was not out on the field, and he was acutely in the construction trailer watching through one of the windows. Junior just starts yanking balls out of the park during batting practice. He came in later and told him I was there, settle down and then it happened. It was a special, special thing to see.

USS Mariner Blogger Dave Cameron talked about the glory days of Junior. If the M’s got behind they always had a chance with Griffey.

Now if the Mariners are down six-nothing we all turn off our TVs and go home. Back then, when Griffey was playing in his prime, you knew that as long as he was in the line up you could score six runs in a hurry.

 

 

For memories’ sake, here is “The Double” and the “Hit it Here” Nike commercial.

 

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The Kid Remembered