I’ve got the brand new doo-doo. Guaranteed like Yoo Hoo. I’m on like Dr John, yea Mr Zu Zu. I’ve got more action than my man John Woo. And I’ve got mad hits like I was Rod Carew. -Beastie Boys
Public Service Announcement: Ok, here we go! Like my main Calogero ‘C’ Anello always says, “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever.” Last night, up in the Bronx, Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr. both went yard at the new Yankee Stadium. It was only the second game in major-league history in which two players, each with at least 550 career homers, hit home runs. Holy cow! The other was in a Braves-Giants game in 1971, when Hammerin’ Hank Aaron and Say Hey Willie Mays both went deep. Alex Rodriguez has made some choices. Some not very good choices. And as far as we can tell, Junior made some different choices. It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.
Griff is one of the good guys. One of those guys who did it the right way. The Greg Maddux way. The Frank Thomas way. And more, much more than this, I did it my way. Been doing it his way from the giddy-up. From the giddy-up when he was selected with the first overall pick by the Seattle Mariners. Louder than bomb. Just tearing it up his rookie year. Rookie of the Yearing it up. Then it happened. Then the first of many. Griff slipped in the shower and broke a bone in his right hand. He got knocked down. But he got up again. You’re never going to keep him down.
Throughout the nineties he was a beast. The high priest. The best from West to East. Junior was arguably the best player of the decade. Elected to the All Century Team. Voted one of the top twenty-five players of the 20th century. He produced runs. He hit for average. He hit over .300 in seven years of the ’90s. It’s gettin’ it’s gettin’ it’s gettin’ kinda hectic. He’s got the power. He mashed 422 bombs during the decade. He was the best center fielder of the decade. Gold Gloves from 1990 to 1999. Great range. Sick range. Home, home on the range. Where the deer and the antelope play. Diving plays. Spectacular plays. Freddie Lynn plays.
From 1990 to 1999 he was chosen as the American League’s All-Star centerfielder. In 1992 he was named the All-Star game’s MVP. Wheaties boxes. Knock you off your sockses. Bagels and loxes. He was the man. He won games with his legs. Saving baseball in Seattle with his legs. You remember. You remember Game Five. Game Five versus the Bombers. Series even at two apiece. Bottom of the 11th against the Bombers. Junior on first. Edgar with the hit. Hit it just a little bit. Hit it lickety split. There goes Griff. He…could…go…all…the…way. He does! He does! He scores from first base! Mariners win! Mariners win!
Then he moved to Cincinnati. Then the injury bug hit. The injury bug hit hard. From 2001 through 2004, Junior was plagued by an endless string of injuries. Griffey missed more than 600 games, nearly four full major-league seasons, due to injuries. Season-ending injuries. Torn hamstrings. Dislocated shoulder. Torn ankle tendon. Torn knee tendon. Dislocated toe. Nothing a little HGH couldn’t fix. The choices that you make will shape your life forever.
The injuries lowered his bat speed, lessened his power and curbed his home run production. He slugged only .426 before going down in 2002. His lowest output in seven years. He’s never really been the same. Ain’t that a shame. My tears fell like rain. But last night, up in the Bronx, they were tears of joy. Tears of joy for my boy. Tears of joy for Ken Griffey Junior.
Peace out homies. Six two and Even!