Mariners News: For many, Julio Rodriguez shows shades of Ken Griffey, Jr.
By Quinn Butler
Julio Rodriguez, in just one major league season, has reminded many fans of a Seattle icon. Of course, that would be Ken Griffey, Jr. the most famous Mariner of all-time. Rodriguez had a slow start to his rookie season, but once things started clicking, he took games over and put the team on his shoulders, leading them to the playoffs for the first time since 2001. The hope is that they will only get better as the team grows and Rodriguez grows as well.
As a team through 46 seasons, the Mariners have made the playoffs only five times. Two of those came during Griffey’s tenure there and the other two during Ichiro Suzuki’s tenure there. Rodriguez helped guide the team there in only his first season with the club and hopefully, for fans of the team and baseball there will be many more opportunities for repeat trips in the coming years of his career in Seattle.
The part that most reminds Mariners fans of Griffey is the pure joy that Rodriguez plays the game with. He is always smiling and always having a good time out there, just like Griffey did. He plays the same position, has speed and power and his batting average will also continue to improve with his comfort at the MLB level. The power should also continue to improve and who knows how quickly he will have his first 40 home run season at the big-league level.
In their 46-year history, the Mariners have also never won a World Series, only making it as far as the ALCS. Will this new era in Seattle with Rodriguez leading the team along with many other young stars on the roster help propel them to new heights and a possible World Series appearance and win? This is just one of the many questions and hopes that fans have and will continue to have if Rodriguez continues to play for them. Bringing a World Series championship to the Pacific Northwest for the first time would be a great thing for the city of Seattle and all of baseball.
For a big part of the season in 2022, Rodriguez was looking like he may become only the second rookie in major league baseball history to reach 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a season. He would have joined Mike Trout and been the only player to ever do it in their first season in the big leagues. Unfortunately, he missed some time due to injury and his base stealing slowed down a bit, but he did finish with 28 home runs and 25 stolen bases in his rookie season, quite the accomplishment especially considering it was his first taste in the bigs.
The future of baseball in Seattle appears to be very bright which is a great thing for Seattle fans, as well as baseball itself as we usher in the new wave of players vying to be the face of the game for the next decade plus in baseball. Rodriguez has already put his name on the ballot for that role.