Growing up in the Northwest in the 80's and 90's it felt as though the region grew up with us. My lifetime is almost exactly as old Microsoft's. We've gone from a geographically splendid backwater town to a global icon. We are in our prime and this place, for its many flaws, is poised for great things on a huge scale.
Our sports teams have mirrored this. Other than a Sonics championship in '79 Seattle teams gave us few glimpses of the highs that sports are capable of imparting. We waited, we watched, we learned other people's histories, longed for their legends, their timeless tales we could pass on to other as we grew into adulthood. Then in 1989 the Mariner broke camp with Ken Griffey Jr.
Seeing Griffey play the first time was the equivalent of abandoning the Amish farm you grew up on and the first car you're in being a Ferrari Enzo. Everything was luxurious to a degree that we may as well have traveled forward 200 years into the future. In the cavernous concrete of the Kingdome burst our first sports legend, and there's nothing quite like your first.
Today, after almost 40 years of existence the Seattle Mariners will have a player representative in the hall of fame. In Cloud Cuckoo Land where everything is beautiful and perfect they would have had two. Edgar Martinez's day will have to wait though, hanging onto the hopes that the internet age can drag enough people into the modern era to recognize his true greatness. Edgar's support did see a drastic increase this year, up to 43.4%. It's encouraging, and with Junior's election today the sizable and frenetic Seattle sports online presence can turn its inexaustible energies towards getting Edgar in Cooperstown as the greatest designated hitter to ever live.
In the present we live in the knowledge that first two Mariners enshrined in the hall of fame are Dave Niehaus and Ken Griffey Jr. and through all the ridiculousness, politiking, hand-wringing, hypocrisy and impossible bullshit that is hall of fame voting I think that's the way it should be. The Seattle Mariners are Dave Niehaus and Ken Griffey Jr., and to see them be the franchise's official first entrants into the game's history is hard to be upset about.
There was speculation that Junior would be the first unanimous inductee in hall of fame history, but that predictably did not happen. Grant wrote it true this morning; there's always someone. As it stands Griffey entered with 437 of 440 possible votes or 99.3%, the highest in the history of hall of fame voting. The first Mariner player in the hall of fame enters historically. You can complain about and harass the few that kept Griffey off their ballot but doing so only validates their need for attention. There's no need to be upset, at least for today.
Ken Griffey Jr. will always be Seattle sports first superstar, our first love, our first so, so, so, many things. He is a connection to childhood, to games of catch, recreations of famous plays in backyards, saving up money for video games and chocolate bars and sneakers. He is a reminder of MTV being cool, of youth, of limitless talent. He is the ours that became the world's. Today he became a hall of famer.
Put your hat on backwards. Say hey......ho......