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Was Griffey pushed into retirement?

Jun 3, 2010, 8:41 AM EST

Griffey on shoulders.jpgLast month Larry LaRue famously reported that the Mariners were either hoping or actually trying to get Ken Griffey to retire. People freaked out about that, mostly because of the sleeping-in-the-clubhouse stuff, but also over the mere suggestion that Ken Griffey Jr. should leave the game before he was good and ready to.

Ken Rosenthal thinks that, public sentiment notwithstanding, Griffey was pushed, reporting that Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu spoke in private with Griffey recently in an effort to persuade him to call it a career.

Wakamatsu said “this was Ken’s decision” and that he “would honor Ken and his career and never even
approach that.”  He would not, however, comment on the matter of the conversations, saying “I won’t be quoted talking about any private conversation I had with a
player.”

Rosenthal also notes that Griffey’s statement yesterday — “nobody in the Mariners’ front office has asked me to retire” — conspicuously omits Wakamatsu from the equation.  Did he ask Griffey to retire?

Given that no one is going to publicly rain on Griffey’s retirement parade now, this is probably one of those unknowable things. At least until someone writes a biography of Griffey, at which point it will only be a footnote.

Still, it’s sad to me that Griffey’s career is ending on such an ignominious note.  Last year, at the end of the season Griffey left to the cheers of the fans while riding on his teammates’ shoulders.  Too bad that, and not these awful past two months, wasn’t the final chapter.

  1. '95 forever - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    Sorry, Griffey didn’t do roids. That’s why his body changed, became flabby, and he couldn’t hit past his mid thirties. That’s the way nature goes, you shouldn’t hit 73 home runs when you are almost 40 years old. Look at the stars of the pre-steroids era — your best years should be in your late 20’s. Just like Griffey. He da’ (clean) man!

  2. Moses Green - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    No you don’t, not unless you’re a douchebag. Which you are. There’s just no way to know.

  3. JBerardi - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    “I have no idea whether you do anything illegal in your life. Not knowing, and having no proof, it would be wrong, unfair, and possibly libelous for me to suggest it. Don’t do it to Griffey.”

    It would also be wrong for you to give me some kind of award for not doing anything illegal in my life without having any proof of it. I’m not trying to denigrate Griffey for being a user. I’m saying that giving him extra credit for not using is also unfounded.

    That’s the real consequence of not having any drug testing. It’s not so much that guys got away with using. It’s that the guys who didn’t use don’t have any factual basis to prove that they’re clean. We don’t know, and there’s nothing that can be done about it now.

  4. Michael - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:20 PM

    You’re an ignorant a-hole. He will go into the hall; 1st ballot, as one of the greatest center fielders of all time. If he hadn’t been hurt so often he’d own the homerun and rbi stats. You know nothing about baseball.

  5. JBerardi - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    Dude, Griffey is clearly one of the best CFs ever. I have never, ever challenged that. I just object to giving him some sort Gold Star for supposedly being clean. You can’t prove he was clean, just that he was great. He was great.

    As far as what he’d done if he hadn’t been injured, well… what would Ted Williams have done with his whole career? Satchel Paige? Again, you’re missing the point. What matters is what actually happened, not what could have happened. More to the point, Griffey doesn’t particularly need the help; again, he was actually great.

  6. just sports - Jun 3, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    JBerardi is a client of John Mark Karr, the female version.

  7. nresq - Jun 3, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    Boy, oh, boy. I guess with you Berardi its “Guilty until proven innocent” huh? Let’s apply that little test to your life: I say you’re a child molester. Good luck proving you’re not.
    Griffey was a class act. He wasn’t awesome because he didn’t do ‘roids; he wasn’t a cheater because he didn’t do ‘roids. He was awesome because he played the game the way it was supposed to be played.

  8. nresq - Jun 3, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    “That’s the real consequence of not having any drug testing. It’s not so much that guys got away with using. It’s that the guys who didn’t use don’t have any factual basis to prove that they’re clean.”
    My last post was done before I read all of the subsequent comments. Mr. Berardi, you are apparently a little more thoughtful than I gave you credit for. The quoted statement is thoughtful and cogent.
    Having said that, one simply cannot and should not taint someone with an allegation of cheating with no facts. The absence of any facts that Griffey did cheat, on the other hand, does allow the conclusion that he is not a cheater. All of the rest is stupid chatter that does not dignify a response.

  9. Griffey Fan - Jun 3, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    If my crying all the way home from work when I heard the news yesterday tells you how I feel about Griffey then so be it. He has provided the city of Seattle with some amazing memories. I hope he reads this — he has no idea how many people are shocked and sad today to think that #24 won’t be with the Mariners. HOWEVER, we are hopeful that he will join the Mariners in ANOTHER role VERY SOON! No one loves Griffey like Seattle.

  10. JBerardi - Jun 3, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    “Having said that, one simply cannot and should not taint someone with an allegation of cheating with no facts. The absence of any facts that Griffey did cheat, on the other hand, does allow the conclusion that he is not a cheater. All of the rest is stupid chatter that does not dignify a response.”

    That’s what I’ve been saying the whole time. Griffey gets to live in the same nebulous cloud of “maybe” that surrounds nearly every player of that generation. It’s not something Griffey is responsible for, it’s simply the consequence of condoning widespread PED use in baseball for a decade or more. We don’t get to ignore the problem for decades and then retroactively say “oh, this guy was clearly using, this guy was obviously clean”. It might make people feel good to think that they can reconstruct the record book to what it “should” be, but you can’t. What’s done is done.

    Anyway, Griffey doesn’t need the No-Roids Award anyway. He’s an all-time great based on his actual accomplishments, not the ones we can only assume.

  11. Judy - Jun 3, 2010 at 5:25 PM

    Having watched Junior his whole career, it makes me sad that he is leaving…made me cry in fact. He is an absolute joy and one of a kind. They broke the mold with Junior. I pray his retirement is wonderful and he comes back to Seattle often. Where is that hanky…

  12. BFletcher - Jun 3, 2010 at 9:20 PM

    Isn’t it obvious? He wouldn’t have been hurt so much if he’d been using. Don’t throw innuendo on the parade. We all loved him and wish him well. If those other jerks hadn’t been using to be able to hit all those home runs, he would have gotten his just rewards.
    We don’t need jerks like you doubting what is obvious to most others.

  13. Mikey Needles - Jun 3, 2010 at 9:37 PM

    Actually, roid abuse leads to injuries of the “soft connective tissue” type. You know, like the kind Griffey suffered from.

  14. Vote24Junior - Jun 4, 2010 at 12:00 AM

    Ken Griffey Jr. may have retired but is STILL in 3rd place in ASG voting standings among American League DH. In 1989 fans voted in Mike Schmidt after he retired in late May, he was also having a poor year at the plate. Please continue to help the campaign, take 5 minutes and vote 25 times per email address at http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2010/ballot.html
    Let’s give Griffey what Ripken got, one last all-star memory!
    CHECK OUT WEBSITE TO SUPPORT AND TO READ MORE: http://vote24junior.blogspot.com/

  15. Vote24Junior - Jun 4, 2010 at 12:02 AM

    Ken Griffey Jr. may have retired but is STILL in 3rd place in ASG voting standings among American League DH. In 1989 fans voted in Mike Schmidt after he retired in late May, he was also having a poor year at the plate. Please continue to help the campaign, take 5 minutes and vote 25 times per email address at http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/y2010/ballot.html
    Let’s give Griffey what Ripken got, one last all-star memory!
    CHECK OUT WEBSITE TO SUPPORT AND TO READ MORE: http://vote24junior.blogspot.com/

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