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Ken Griffey Jr.: Hall Of Famer

an uncomfortable photograph
an uncomfortable photograph
Doug Pensinger

I haven't figured out how to begin this post, and I'm kind of in a hurry. I just found out my Firefox spell check still doesn't recognize "Griffey", which is interesting, since it most definitely recognizes "Hultzen", "Taijuan", and "Furbush". It's also interesting because Ken Griffey Jr. is about to become an official Hall-of-Famer, technically. Boom!

Ken Griffey Jr., considered by most to be the greatest player to don a Mariners uniform, will be inducted into the club's Hall of Fame on Aug. 10, the team announced Tuesday.

Griffey, who retired from baseball on June 2, 2010, will become the seventh member of the Mariners Hall of Fame.

We're not talking Cooperstown yet, although that shouldn't be any trouble down the road. Of course, maybe it will turn into trouble, after someone raises suspicions about Griffey on account of the era in which he played. They'd be completely unfounded but that hasn't stopped some of the voting members of the BBWAA so far. Eventually, Ken Griffey Jr. will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Less eventually, Ken Griffey Jr. will be inducted into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame, which despite everything is a proud institution.

Last year saw Randy Johnson and Dan Wilson get inducted, and one of those players was a franchise superstar. Griffey's another, and he'll get his on-field ceremony, the details of which either aren't yet known, or haven't yet been released. Assume that there will be speeches, and video highlights. Video highlights on the brand-new completely bitchin Safeco video board. Do not assume that there will be falcons. There could be falcons, but that would be more of an unusual twist. "That's a new way for me to lose garlic fries."

The full Mariners Hall of Fame:

  • Ken Griffey Jr., basically
  • Dan Wilson
  • Randy Johnson
  • Edgar Martinez
  • Jay Buhner
  • Dave Niehaus
  • Alvin Davis

Griffey was an icon, a guy who helped put Seattle baseball on the map, and he stands as having been one of the greatest all-around talents in baseball history. Wilson was a fantastic defensive catcher with whom pitchers loved to work, Johnson was an unhittable ace, Martinez was an unpitchable one-man juggernaut, Buhner was a slugging menace, and Davis was an AL Rookie of the Year who gave Mariners fans hope at a time at which hope was an otherwise unfamiliar sensation. I can't find any trace of a Niehaus playing record, with the Mariners or with anyone else, so my best guess is he was inducted by error, perhaps having been confused with someone else. There was a Tom Niedenfuer, but he wasn't very good. This one's a mystery.

It's an interesting, if ultimately meaningless question, what Griffey is to the Mariners. Is Ken Griffey Jr. the greatest all-time Seattle Mariner? He was the Mariners' first true celebrity, their first true superstar, but he'd go on to wear another uniform, which Edgar never did. Griffey's best years didn't beat Alex Rodriguez's best years, purely statistically. What Rodriguez went on to become -- a shitty dude -- doesn't matter so long as we're just discussing Mariners accomplishments. Griffey didn't have hands-down the best Mariners season(s). He wasn't a Mariner for life, and in fact asked his way out before finally returning. I don't know the answer, myself. Maybe Griffey has the best blend of talent and duration. I can see why some would call Griffey the best-ever Mariner; I can see why others might be more hesitant. At the least, Griffey was an amazing, artistic, unforgettable Mariner, with a blemish here and there.

From the bottom of Johns' article:

To be eligible for selection in the Mariners Hall, a player must have been active in a Mariners uniform for at least five seasons and be retired as a player at least two years.

Call's comin' any day now, Gil Meche.

So: Ken Griffey Jr., Seattle Mariners franchise Hall of Famer. It's hard to think of an announcement that would be less of a surprise. "Air necessary, study finds." Of course Ken Griffey Jr. is going to be in the Mariners Hall of Fame. The Mariners Hall of Fame might one day be named after Ken Griffey Jr. That would make it less obvious that it's a Hall of Fame for Mariners dignitaries, but I could see why the institution might want to distance itself from the franchise for at least a while, considering, you know.