When Tyler Griffey made a wide-open layup with 0.9 seconds left to lift Illinois over top ranked Indian 74-72 in men’s college hoops Thursday night,
I thought ‘Wow, what a finish. What a game!’
I also couldn’t help but think of one of my all-time favorite baseball players—Ken Griffey Jr.—and how it’s been nearly three years since his abrupt retirement from the Mariners in early June of 2010.
Griffey quietly walked away after 22 major league seasons having collected 2,781 hits, 1,836 RBI and 630 home runs, the fifth-most long balls in baseball history.
Junior was the total package. The sweet swing, the majestic home runs, the highlight reel catches, the swag, the ever present smile and the backwards cap; I loved it all. Who didn’t?
I even had those ugly Griffey Jr. shoes, several pairs to be exact, when teal was cool back in the day.
It’s hard to nail down my favorite Griffey Jr. moment. I could go on and on. But the time he flew around the bases from first to home scoring the decisive run to eliminate the Yankees in the 1995 ALDS I knew who my favorite player was.
Of course he’s still one of my favorite players and always will be. And in two years it will be nice to hear his name again upon his induction into the baseball Hall of Fame.
Long live The Kid.
Interesting side note to Felix Hernandez’s perfect game yesterday: the last no-hitter thrown by a Mariner was Chris Bosio, the current Cubs pitching coach, who on Tuesday, April 22, 1993, blanked the Red Sox 7-0 at the old Seattle Kingdome.
Here’s a bulleted recap of the game and parts of Bosio’s career:
- After walking the first two batters of the game, Ernie Riles & Carlos Quintana, Bosio was perfect the rest of the way.
- He got a ground ball double-play from Mike Greenwell followed by a strikeout of Andre Dawson to end the top of the first inning.
- Bret Boone’s two-out, two-run HR off Joe Hesketh in the bottom of the third gave Bosio a comfortable 4-0 lead. The Mariners tacked on another run in the fourth and two more in the sixth.
- Jose Valentine, Tony Pena & Riles each grounded out in the top of the ninth to complete Bosio’s no-no and the second in Mariners’ history.
- The game took 2:12 minutes to play, Bosio (1-1) threw 97-pitches.
- The Red Sox fell to (11-5) under Butch Hobson. The Mariners improved to (7-8) under Lou Piniella in his first season of a 10-year reign in Seattle.
- In addition to Boone (3-for-4), Ken Griffey Jr (0-for-4), Jay Buhner (0-for-3), Tino Martinez (1-for-3) and Omar Vizquel (2-for-4) were in the starting lineup for Seattle.
- Bosio, in his eighth season in the majors and first with Seattle, finished the ’93 campaign (9-9, 3.45). He made 29 appearances, 24 starts, and even managed one save.
- He followed up his no-hitter with another win, but only threw five innings allowing no-runs on three-hits in a 4-0 victory against Cleveland.
- Bosio went on to pitch three more seasons in Seattle finishing his stay with a (27-31) overall-record and 4.43 ERA.
- His 11-year stay in the big leagues spanned from 1986-1996 and produced a (94-93) career-record and 3.96 ERA. Bosio’s first seven seasons were played with Milwaukee (67-62, 3.76).
- The 2012 season marks Bosio’s first as the Cubs pitching coach after serving in a variety of coaching positions with Seattle, Tampa Bay & Milwaukee organizations.
Believe it or not, the MLB regular season is already underway. That’s no joke.
If that’s news to you, however, don’t feel left out. It certainly is for most baseball fans, even the diehards, because MLB did little, if anything, to promote the opening series between Seattle & Oakland in Japan.
I bet most of you have no idea who won, who pitched, who homered…who was the home team? I know I didn’t, except for a small blurb I caught on Baseball Tonight. The rest of the story I found online. (Seattle won Game 1, Oakland won Game 2).
Funny enough, there’s such irony in the fact that while MLB tries to expand its horizons, they failed to reach the fans in its own country, and for the season’s lid-lifter no less!
Even those aware of the ‘official’ overseas opener couldn’t find it on television, including players and managers still wrapping up meaningless spring training games.
And there’s your big kick-off to the 2012 season. Hooray?
Gone Fishing..Gone For Good?
‘I know it’s going to take some time and you have some work to do, but I want to be a Chicago Cub if you want me,’” ??? said.
“I knew when I left that restaurant that night that he was our guy,” ??? said.
“The opinion that he wouldn’t be a good teammate or he would be a disruption in the clubhouse couldn’t be further from the truth,” ??? said.
“I’ve seen a lot of cute headlines about me,” he said. “People who have never met me are speaking about me. It’s not very intelligent to speak about someone you’ve never met. That’s something I never do. I’m never going to judge somebody based on what I see on TV or read in the paper.”
“I even looked forward to answering all [the media's] questions today — that’s how much I’m happy to be here,” he said, smiling.
“My whole life all I tried to do was fit in places. I felt like I finally fit. Getting elected to the All-Star team last year by the players was a complete honor. A lot of that changed me. I just felt more comfortable being more open and letting people know who I am.”
“It’s been a lot of years and a lot of pain and grief for the [Cubs] fans out there,” ??? said. “I know with every fiber of my being, I want to win. The Cubs have been on my radar for a while now.
“It’s a new day, new way for this guy,” ??? said.
Jeff Shaw was a two-time All Star and one of my favorite players growing up.
The right-hander was a brilliant setup man with Cincinnati, positioning Jeff Brantley for 44 saves and the 1996 Rolaids Relief Man Award.
The following season, however, Brantley got injured and Shaw moved into the closer’s role. He closed out 42 games and also won the league’s saves title.
But less than a year later the Reds traded Shaw on July 4, 1998 to the Dodgers. In return, the Reds acquired left-hander Dennys Reyes and a no-name 22-year-old first baseman.
Cliff Lee is plain sick.
The 31-year-old spun his second consecutive complete game, beating the Cubs 8-1, while lowering his ERA to an AL best 2.39. His four complete games this season leads the AL.
Lee has not walked a single batter in his last four starts. He’s issued just four free passes all year. His strikeout to walk ratio–a remarkable 19:1. Unheard of!
To put that in perspective, Brett Saberhagen remains the lone starter since 1901 to complete an entire season with a double-digit ratio in that figure. Lee, however, is well on his way to becoming the second.
Despite suffering three losses in 11 outings, Lee has a 2.70 ERA in those defeats, limiting the damage to nine earned runs in 30 innings pitched. Again, just sick.
There’s a case Lee’s the best pitcher in baseball! And whoever get this guy via trade–and he will be traded–becomes an immediate threat to advance to the World Series. The best starting pitcher in baseball traded three times in three years–what’s next?
We talk about it all the time–great players hanging on too long. Ken Griffey Jr. is no exception.
He should’ve retired last year when his teammates carried him off the field. But at last, Griffey is leaving the game of baseball, and on his own terms, nonetheless.
It’s just the kind of exit you expect from Junior, which is why he’s one my all time favorites.
No silly press conference, no poor-pitiful-me attitude and zero fanfare. Just a simple ‘goodbye.’
We may have forgotten about Griffey the past five years, but as time drags on, bringing the Steroids Era into better focus, one of the game’s greatest players will be sorely missed.
Griffey’s Better Than Milton Bradley
Seattle Right Move For Griffey Jr.
Griffey’s Swan Song
Milton Bradley isn’t the only one who should have his head checked this week…so should Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik.
Seattle, at Milton’s request, placed him on the Restricted List so he can seek treatment for ‘emotional stress.’
Bradley must sit for a minimum of five games…although his teammates, I imagine, probably wish he doesn’t return at all.
As expected, Milton’s been up to his usual antics in the great northwest…strained calf…strained middle finger…and a strained relationship with his current employer.
Zduriencik ruined the one of the best offseasons of any club by trading for Bradley. Now he’s paying for it…the same way Jim Hendry did and all other GMs before them. So excuse me for not feeling sorry for the guy.
It’s not like Bradley is the best kept secret in baseball…when you buy him, you buy problems…and Milton has a boat-load of them.
In fact, Bradley’s really no different than all the expensive yachts I see docking at Belmont Harbor…the second best day of owning a boat is the day you buy it…and the first is the day you sell it.
Couldn’t ring more true for Milton The Terrible, either.
No surprises from Milton Bradley during his return to Chicago–this time on the South Side as a member of the Seattle Mariners.
As expected, Milton threw some more blows at the city…ripped the fans…ripped the Cubs…ripped the media…and of course…sat out the game due to injury.
Some things, as they say, never change!
I’ve pasted some quotations from M.B. below…make of it what you will.
I’m glad to see Junior back with the M’s for another season.
His return is a bit of a surprise to me, and unfortunately, I’m not sure it’s the right move either.
Consider that in 117 games last season his average dipped to .214, well below his career average of .285. His defense in center field wasn’t much better, limiting him to strictly a DH role. So it’s interesting Seattle is willing to give the 40-year-old’s tattered wheels another go-round.
At the very least, enough home run power was present to justify Junior being in the lineup, 19 to be exact, and his 57 RBI were serviceable, as well. But when Griffey singled up-the-middle in his last at-bat at Safeco, I figured that was a perfect, and fitting, ending to a most memorable career.