The sweetest swing I’ve ever seen is officially retired. Ken Griffey, Jr. called team President Chuck Armstrong to tell him the news Wednesday night before the Mariners’ game against Minnesota.
“While I feel I am still able to make a contribution on the field and nobody in the Mariners front office has asked me to retire, I told the Mariners when I met with them prior to the 2009 season and was invited back that I will never allow myself to become a distraction,” the 40-year old Griffey said in a statement.
“I feel that without enough occasional starts to be sharper coming off the bench, my continued presence as a player would be an unfair distraction to my teammates and their success as a team is what the ultimate goal should be,” he said.
Griffey, a 13-time all-star outfielder who ranks fifth on the career home run list with 630, never did get a trip to the World Series. But he won an MVP award and was an 11-time Gold Glover.
“It’s a sad day for the Mariners, our fans, for all the people in the community that have loved Ken, admired him as a tremendous baseball player and a great human being,” Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln said. “It’s always tough for great superstars like Ken or anyone else to make a decision to retire. This has been his life for so many years, but he has made his decision and will support it. We will honour him in every way possible.”
From the story: “A star from the time he was the overall No. 1 pick in the 1987 draft, Griffey played 22 years in the majors with Seattle, his hometown Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago White Sox.
His final stats?
• 630 home runs, fifth all-time
• 2,781 hits
• 1,836 RBIs, 14th all-time
• 5,271 career bases, 12th all-time
• 10 Gold Gloves
• 5,134 put outs in center field, fourth all-time
• 13 All-Star appearances
• 246 intentional walks, fourth all-time
• .907 OPS
• 78.4 wins above replacement, 38th among position players all-time
Hope he enjoys his retirement. He’s earned it, but I’m pretty sure we’ll all be seeing him in some analyst role in the very near future.