Ken Griffey Jr., once thought to be the best player in baseball, is reportedly on his way back to where it all began for him. Griffey is said to be close to a deal with the Seattle Mariners, the team he began his career with back in 1989. Read more, see photos and video below.
Talks between Ken Griffey Jr. and the Seattle Mariners have seemingly reached the point that hard speculation has begun that he will return there. Jr. began his successful career with the Mariners some 20 years ago. From the Seattle Times:
The Mariners have mulled a Griffey signing all winter, but have pursued other options for offensive help. However, when free agent Bobby Abreu reached agreement with the Angels earlier this week, the Mariners reportedly began moving seriously toward reacquiring Griffey, considered the greatest player in club history.
Griffey as long been regarded as one of the most prolific homerun hitters in baseball; accumulating 611 homeruns in his career, and becoming only the sixth man to ever reach the 600 homerun barrier. He just finished 2008 season with the Chicago White Sox, where he had been traded at the July 31st deadline. Griffey had spent nine seasons in Cincinnati where his father had played when he was a kid.
Jr. came up with a lot of promise, and some would say that his career has not always turned out like some thought it would. Years ago, many predicted that Griffey would be the man who would eventually break Hank Aaron’s all time homerun record. But that was before Griffey began to be plagued with a string of injuries, and before the age of steroids when many players have quickly shattered once thought to be unbreakable records.
In 1987 Griffey was selected as the first overall pick in the MLB draft by the Seattle Mariners. During his eleven seasons in Seattle, Griffey established himself as one of the best centerfielders in the game; and some thought maybe off all time. He won the league’s MVP in 1997, and led the league in homeruns four of those years, 1994, 1997, 1998, and 1999.
Early on, Griffey was in high demand in the marketing world, gracing the “Wheaties” cereal box and having his own signature line of sneakers with “Nike”. Griffey was the second face of “Nike” behind only Michael Jordan, which is until Tiger Woods came along.
Griffey has quietly had a great career, piling up stats and awards just like the experts thought he would. His frequent injuries however, have held him back to performing below his potential. In 2005 Jr. was honored by the Sporting News on a list of the 100 greatest players of all time, he was 93rd on the list. It is fitting that Jr. would finish his career in Seattle, a long journey ending where it began.
In November of last year, Griffey was named as a diplomatic envoy for the state department by former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. His first trip will be to Panama.
More photos and a video of Ken Griffey Jr are below.
Bring Griffey Back Video
Ken Griffey Jr Envoy Video
Ken Griffey Jr Cloning Video