Mariners #1 CF: George Kenneth Griffey Jr – 68.4 fWAR
One of my favorite bits of trivia as a kid was that two of the greatest players in baseball history were named George, and neither one of them went by that name. One was Babe Ruth (George Herman Ruth) and the other was The Kid himself.
Are we ever going to see someone like Griffey again? I don’t just mean the impact on the field, cause there’s some guy named Trout who is doing a darn good job at trying to catch Griffey. I’m talking about the impact off the field, all that he did for the game, the swagger, and growing the game as well. He was the perfect combo and did more for the game than arguably anyone else in baseball.
Shoot, he may have saved baseball in Seattle. Without him, some jerk probably would’ve come and bought the team, promised not to move them, and then moved them to the Midwest.
(No, I’m not bitter or resentful at all after more than a decade.)
Anyone, back to Griffey. There was a very short list, if anything, that kids, and likely adults, enjoyed more in the 90s than watching Griffey play baseball. It was an incredible experience no matter where he was on the field. He floated through the outfield, chasing baseballs down and robbing home runs like very few we had ever seen before. The swing belongs in a museum, and I’ll probably end up with the silhouette tattoo at some point in my life.
I’m sure that as you sit here reading this, you can picture Griffey in BP. Backward Cap, earring glinting in the sun, effortlessly destroying baseballs, and looking incredibly cool while doing so. Shoot, the only way this picture could be cooler is if MJ was in it. There’s being cool, and then there’s being so cool that Michael Jordan stops to ask YOU for your autograph, which is what he did to Griffey.
We’ve talked about Griffey’s greatest seasons before, and it’s insane to think about just how good he could’ve been if he stayed in Seattle for his entire career AND stayed healthy. 800 HR anyone? I think there’s a solid chance. He ended up with 417 HR for the Mariners, and is the best to ever do it for Seattle.
I saw a lot of crazy things with Griffey during my life. We were there when he broke his wrist, and there when he came back. We saw him robbing home runs, hittings bombs, and swiping bases. We were also there the day that he decided to retire for the last time. Walking into the stadium team store and seeing the news break on the broadcast. I’m glad I got to witness Griffey throughout his career, and I hope the next generation of fans has a chance for someone like that as well.
Cameron or Guti? Hendu or Jones? Does anyone need to be moved around? Chime in with your thoughts on anyone that was missed or misplaced on the all-time center field rankings.