For 20 years, you have been the man. You deserved better. Florida didn't deserve to see that home run as much as they don't deserve the BEST PLAYER IN BASEBALL in Hanley Ramirez (folks, I know much of you read this for football and basketball...but don't let anybody tell you different. Hanley Ramirez is the best player in baseball today.) Griff, I'm gonna admit I was a David Justice fan when I was growing up. I rooted for Atlanta, but I feel like I can keep it real with you. See, I'm from Oklahoma. Now, I live in Cincinnati. These people in Cincinnati say they love you. They're quick to talk about your legend, when you went to Moeller High School here in the 'Nati, but you deserve better. There isn't anything you can do about your injuries (or as my frat would say, "Tearing your hammy off the damn bone,") or not winning a championship. I got my memories. No one can touch you.
I know that you are the only baseball player to ever have a signature shoe, and I had two pair. All of my friends lined up at the mall, not to buy Jordans, or Iversons, but the Griffeys.
I know that you were just as big as Jordan in the 90s. Your shoe deal was just as comparable. You were the best player in your sport for at least 10+ years. You had the number one selling jersey for plenty of years. You've made $140 Million since being in the league just in contract money (please realize he took LESS MONEY to go home to Cincinnati), and made it possible for Torii Hunter, Andruw Jones, Vernon Wells, BJ Upton, Carlos Beltran, and any other minority center fielder to get their money.
Not only could you play, but it was how you played. No homo, but you was a cool motherf*cker. Along with the signature Nikes, he made EVERYONE want to wear #24 in baseball. Rocking the hat backwards in the home run derby (equivalent of Jordan rocking the gold chain in the slam-dunk), rocking the three-quarters shirt under your jersey, and oh, by the way, having the sweetest swing in the history of baseball (think Ray Allen's jumper, folks.) You did it, man, and I applaud you. First ballot hall-of-famer, perennial all-star, and the greatest player of my generation, period. We only ask is that you keep going. You can still play. Go get 650, 700, or even...762 home runs. America might finally then give you R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
Ken Griffey, Jr.'s career stats and awards:
STATS: 600 HR, 1730 RBI, .289 BA, 1199 BB, 186 SB
AWARDS: 1997 MVP, seve-time Silver Slugger, 12-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glover, Led MLB in HRs four times, 1992 All-Star MVP
P.S. - Shoutout to Ryan Parker (RyanParkerSongs.com) for a nice tribute to Ken Griffey Jr. Pretty funny. (Listen for "no anabolic juicing!" lol