The words Frank Sinatra made famous, “I did it my way,” are being sung up in the rainy city as longtime Seattle Mariner, Ken Griffey Jr., decided to call it a career after 22 seasons in the big leagues ending with 630 career home runs.

I remember watching him so many years ago when he first broke into the league. He was the sweet swinging left-hander that made it look so easy. His stroke seemed effortless, yet he could send a ball 500 feet with one swing of the bat.

In total, Griffey played in 1,685 games with Seattle hitting .292 with 417 homers, and 1,216 runs batted in. He is the best player that the Mariners have ever had in their organization, and to think he was their number one overall draft pick back in 1987.

The numbers for Griffey are undoubtedly Hall of Fame worthy. He was an 11-time Gold Glove award winner, a 13-time All Star, a career .284 hitter, had eight seasons of 100 or more RBI, and seven seasons with 40 or more home runs.

I remember always wanting to watch his at bats, regardless of who he played for. I wanted to see the swagger he walked to the plate with, the back and forth motion of the bat as he waited for the pitch and the swing that would send a belt-high fastball deep into the night.

What I respect so much about this future Hall of Famer is the way he went out. He didn’t go out complaining about his lack of playing time, he didn’t go out with excuses of why he didn’t play better than the team expected.

Instead, Griffey was humble and said in a prepared statement that he didn’t want to be a distraction to his teammates.

“While I feel I am still able to make a contribution on the field and nobody in the Mariners front office has asked me to retire,” said Griffey, “I told the Mariners when I met with them prior to the 2009 season and was invited back that I will never allow myself to become a distraction.

“I feel that without enough occasional starts to be sharper coming off the bench, my continued presence as a player would be an unfair distraction to my teammates and their success as a team is what the ultimate goal should be.”

Sure there will be a lot of speculation that Griffey will return to a championship contender, and sure there will be calls from other teams gauging his interest in playing an “off the bench” role for them, but Griffey knows that his time has come.

This isn’t the way he wanted to go out, especially not having hit better than his current .184 batting average and going without a single home run. Griffey would have rather helped his team to the top of the AL West or perhaps to the World Series.

Instead, he’ll ride off into the sunset and be known as one of the best players to never have won a World Series. Regardless of all that, he will be known for one of the best players this game has ever seen.

There’s no one that swung the bat like him and there was no one as dangerous as him with a bat in his hand. Pitchers feared him as did batters because they knew if they hit it close to him, he was either going to catch it or he was going to make you wonder if you should take that extra base against his powerful arm.

It’s too bad that the next generation of baseball fans, including my future kids, won’t be able to see what I was able to see growing up. They won’t be able to see the kind of player he was on and off the field.

He did it his way, and his way will land him in the Hall of Fame one day.

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