The Seattle Mariners have certainly had their struggles thus far this season, as high expectations heading into the year haven’t amounted to much.

The lack of production at the designated hitter slot has been a major issue, and Ken Griffey Jr. finally took action Wednesday, when he officially announced his retirement after a 22-season career that should make him a first-ballot Hall of Famer. 

Griffey’s career has been one for the ages. His 630 home runs are fifth on the all time list, none of which came this season, as he hit a meager .184 with only seven RBI. 

The Kid made his return to the house he built—Safeco Field—last year after nearly a decade spent in Cincinnati, and briefly on the south side of Chicago with the White Sox.

He was a major reason that the Mariners had one of the best turn-around years in the history of MLB, as many players cited his leadership as a major inspiration. His 18 home runs last season didn’t hurt, either, as the Mariners weren’t—and still aren’t—exactly the greatest slugging team in the majors.

After two decades worth of roaming center field and taking a pounding, Griffey’s knees are gone, so his role was reduced to part-time DH—a position hardly fitting for a man who played a major part in the resurgence of baseball in the mid-1990s.

However, Griffey’s leadership was overshadowed by his struggles at the plate, where he clearly was no longer even a fraction of the player that he used to be.

Griffey took the high road in his retirement, and saved the Mariners from a publicity nightmare if they had decided to designate him for assignment. Bottom line is, he’s not the player he used to be, so there’s no shame in retiring midseason. 

Griffey departs the game with class, just as he had his entire career.

Griffey was never once legitimately accused of steroids, and though he leaves the game on a low, albeit quiet note, his decision to hang it up now will not tarnish his legacy as one of the greatest of our generation. 

Griffey, you will be missed.

Read more MLB news on