Throughout history, there have been a number of players that transcend the numbers and stats.
Yes, they are good; excellent even, but become heroes for their charisma, flair, style, or just because of the way they play.
For kids who grew up in the nineties and the start of the 2000s, Seattle Mariners legend Ken Griffey Jr. was that player.
There was something about him that infatuated young fans: his swing was a thing of beauty that every kid grew up mimicking, his all-out fielding style, his immense raw power, his home runs, his smile, and his overall game captivated Mariners fans and supporters from other teams.
Junior hated the New York Yankees, and most of their young fans still loved him!
He was on the cover of baseball video games, magazines, newspapers, and other publications.
The Mariners, the team that drafted him and where he played from 1989 to 1999 and then in 2009-2010, remembered his contributions as they celebrate Black History Month.
“He transcended the game, became a pop culture icon and inspired a new generation of players. Ken Griffey Jr. left a mark on baseball that can never be duplicated. #BlackHistoryMonth,” they tweeted.
He transcended the game, became a pop culture icon and inspired a new generation of players.
Ken Griffey Jr. left a mark on baseball that can never be duplicated. #BlackHistoryMonth pic.twitter.com/MgRmG859gl
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) February 2, 2023
Before Andrew McCutchen, CC Sabathia, Jimmy Rollins, Dontrelle Willis, Marcus Stroman, Ryan Howard, and other Black stars from the late 1990s and the 2000s, there was Griffey paving the way for them and becoming an admired baseball figure around the country.
He also earned respect from all audiences for not being involved in any steroids-related controversy.
Not even a rumor.
Griffey hit 630 home runs in his career while being heavily affected by injuries for much of his late-30s.
He was a true difference-maker, on and off the field.NEXT: Mariners Sign A Key Player To An Extension