Ken Griffey Jr. was born a Cincinnati kid, he played high school ball at Moeller High School in Cincinnati, his Dad was apart of the Big Red Machine. A team that has become an institution in Cincinnati, all the players are still looked at in awe to this day. Junior was born and bred to play for this city.
Unfortunately he went to Seattle as the first pick in the 1987 draft at 18 years old. He would play for Seattle from 1989-1999. His best years were spent in Seattle and man were they spectacular. As a kid growing up in Cincinnati in the 90’s even I had a Junior Griffey player t shirt. He was incredible, making plays no one else would.
Griffey left Seattle in 2000 for Cincinnati. He left Seattle with .292 BA, 417 HR, and an on base percentage of .374. All of those are respectable numbers, certainly the home run number and nearly a .300 hitter. The Reds thought they were picking up someone they could build around, someone who would take them to the promised land.
Unfortunately we all know how this story ends. Griffey Jr. cam here, he played but he spent as much time on the bench injured as he did on the field playing. He only played in over 130 games twice as a Red. 2000 his first season as a Red Griffey has his best season as a Red. From that point on though it was a slow slide.
2007 saw a resurgence in Griffey, he played in 144 games batting .271 and hitting 30 home runs. He changed his number from 30 to 3 and re-energized the fan base a little.
In 2008 though Griffey hit his 600th home run for his career. He was then traded at the deadline to the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Nick Massett. (No one really won that trade).
The question is though should the Reds retire his number. The answer is no. The Seattle Mariners should retire Griffey’s number. If it wasn’t for him they may have never moved our of the King Dome.
Griffey was never a huge impact in Cincinnati, we didn’t get a stadium because of him, we never won a playoff game because of him. Griffey was just an average player when he was in Cincinnati.
He was spectacular in Seattle, we shouldn’t take away anything from Seattle in this situation. Let them retire his number, let them celebrate his career. Reds fans we can just thank him for sending the club in a new direction of developing a farm system.
Let us worry about getting Pete’s number retired instead.