It is hard to believe that Ken Griffey, Jr., is retiring after 22 seasons.
For starters, I remember playing games with his dad's Strat-o-Matic card.
But, I was also in the stands in Oakland, April 3, 1989, Opening Day that year, when Junior belted a double off the center field wall off Dave Stewart for his first major league hit during his first major league at-bat.
And now it is 22 years later and 630 home runs and 1836 RBI later, he has called it quits, leaving the team with whom he broke in with the same style and grace.
Since Junior debuted, during the administration of George Bush the elder, we have seen three more presidents--two of whom served full terms--along with the rise and fall of the dot.com boom. Not to mention 9/11 and what followed.
We saw the careers of Jose Canseco and Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro all begin with promise, and end under a haze.
But, we also saw Greg Maddux and Albert Pujols and Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter end, begin, and continue, respectively, brilliant careers with much less hubub.
I personally existed in one marriage, which disolved, and met my pal Catherine, who passed away in 2005, and then met Diane, meaning three serious relationships went and came and went and came during Junior's tenure, as did my son Joey and my dog Macaroni.
During that time we went from computers being exotic and expensive luxuries, to not just necessities, but ones we could for the most part tuck into a pocket (I am thinking IPhone, here).
But, through most of it, Ken Griffey, Jr. played ball hard and fashioned his sweet swing into 524 doubles and 2781 hits, not that he needs 3000 to gain first ballot admitance into the Hall of Fame.
For, if anyone deserves such an honor over the last 22 years, it is he.
Thanks Junior. For making the game worth watching at the plate, on the base paths, and of course in the outfield where you skills were non-pariel for so many years.