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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. SouthofHeaven - Jun 3, 2010 at 9:01 AM

    To me, growing up, even as a life-long, die-hard Yankees fan, Griffey was the man, and the epitome of everything that was awesome about baseball. I really hope that’s what people remember in the end

  2. nps6724 - Jun 3, 2010 at 9:08 AM

    My favorite non-Brave. He played the game the right way, always looked like he was having fun, and was a joy to watch. When he was healthy, he could do it all. And if not for all the ‘roids flowing around and his own injuries, HE would’ve been the guy breaking Hank’s record and not Bonds. I’ll miss him for sure.

  3. Joey B - Jun 3, 2010 at 9:17 AM

    “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.”
    It happens far too often. If you wait until the last possible second, then you’ve probably waited too long. It’s not like I was hoping Yaz would ever retire, but I also didn’t want him to wait until he was asked to leave. Griffey really could’ve seen that his performance was hurting the team and volunteered to move to a bench coach type of position.

  4. Moses Green - Jun 3, 2010 at 9:34 AM

    If Don pushed him out, good for him. It had to be done. Every player on a 25-man roster is important to a team, and there’s no room for nostalgia when you’re filling out a lineup card. Teams will only sit at 24 guys on the roster when their best players are day-to-day, hoping that the net benefit of not having to wait 15 days will outweigh being short a player for a few games. The only exception to this rule is Kansas City. They can’t possibly win, and they should make George Brett their 25th man. Today.

  5. JBerardi - Jun 3, 2010 at 10:28 AM

    Was Griffy pushed into retirement? Yes, absolutely. He was pushed there by his lack of ability to play baseball at the major league level anymore. Doesn’t really matter if his manager (or whoever) asked him or not; the manager is simply the bearer of bad news in that situation.

    Also, can we please knock it off with this whole “Griffy was awesome because he didn’t do ‘roids” nonsense? Does anyone have one iota of evidence that the guy wasn’t using, other than the fact that you really don’t want him to have done so? Goodness, it’s cogitative biases on parade in these Griffy threads…

  6. anmsfan - Jun 3, 2010 at 11:04 AM

    Griffy was awesome because he didn’t do ‘roids.

  7. Steve - Jun 3, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    Why is it that you have to suggest or imply that, you dont know so freakin let it be. If the manager had a chat with him, so be it. Baseball will miss its last true superstar. what he could of ended up with in the record books will never be know, the chapter has ended, Close the Book, Thanks Junior.

  8. JBerardi - Jun 3, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    “Baseball will miss its last true superstar.”

    You have got to be f’n kidding me.

  9. bravesfan - Jun 3, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    Don’t know where you are from, but in USA you are innocent until proven guilty. Griffey has not even been mentioned in the roid scandal, let alone been proven to have partaken. So as for right now he was a great baseball player that would have shown even brighter than he did (and that was already very bright) if not for being overshadowed by players we either know cheated (McGuire) or players we have a good idea cheated (Bonds) by using steroids.

  10. gigi - Jun 3, 2010 at 12:19 PM

    From someone who had the pleasure of watching Ken Griffey Jr. play and interact with the crowds on many occasions, he brought the one thing to the game that is sorely lacking…fun! He played the game like it was fun and that made it special to the fans. Good luck, Jr…we will miss you!

  11. Chris Hirsch - Jun 3, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    I am not in agreement with this Griffey worship mentality. Yes at one time he was a symbol of what was good in the game but he was a very selfish individual. When he came to Cincinnati he was always pouting. He was a cancer in the clubhouse. There is a good reason that he never played for a ring. His self centered attitude prevented him from leading and elevating his teams play. The teams in contention in any given year were well aware of his narcissism and did not want his presence to negatively affect their clubhouse chemistry. Great natural talent but he could have been the best ever if he had ever looked beyond himself.

  12. JBerardi - Jun 3, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    Don’t know where you are from, but in USA you are innocent until proven guilty. Griffey has not even been mentioned in the roid scandal, let alone been proven to have partaken. So as for right now he was a great baseball player that would have shown even brighter than he did (and that was already very bright) if not for being overshadowed by players we either know cheated (McGuire) or players we have a good idea cheated (Bonds) by using steroids.

    So wait. In this “USA” you come from, is it innocent until you’re proven guilty, or innocent until there’s a good idea that you’re guilty?

    Griffy is under roughly the same cloud of suspicion as everyone else who played in the 90s, IMHO.

  13. cannon - Jun 3, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    I totally agree. Griffey as part of the 90’s is guilty until he proves he is innocent. There is still approximately 100 names on that secret list.

  14. JBerardi - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:01 PM

    It’s not like anyone will ever be able to PROVE that they’re innocent. That’s the whole reason we have that “innocent until proven guilty” thing that no one seems to understand in this stupid country anymore.

  15. JS - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    Griffey’s career stats speak for itself…nobody will remember the last two months. When people think about Michael Jordan, do they remember his playing days as a Wizard? I don’t think so.

  16. "The kid" - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:06 PM

    Hey JBerardi. So you are in the guilty until proven innocent group huh? Good for your and lack of trust and respect. True ALOT of guys are and were on the juice but I hate to point it out but if Junior were on the juice he would have had his best years after he turned 35 like the rest of them (not gone down with injuries).
    I would like to take this opportunity to mention that Junior was the best player of his generation and that you sir are an idiot!

  17. MW - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Roids. Period.
    Stop giving the guy a free pass.
    Check the numbers. Nice little power spike right at a very interesting time in MLB history; followed then by years of his body letting him down with pulls, strains, more pulls, etc etc

  18. nick geerz - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    CLASS ACT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Doc Twolf - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:19 PM

    As to what he accomplished between the lines, Jr. is one of the greatest; a no-brainer HOFamer. As to what he brought to the team, it’s really tough to put a value on the ‘tension relief’ factor – his incredible ability to bring lightness and humor into the sport, which only increased his credibility to share what he’s learned with other players. As to him as a person, we saw him grow in that regard – beyond some things he did and said early on – it’s not easy to ‘grow up’ always in the spotlight, but all in all, Ken Griffey, Jr. did it as well as anyone.
    It was such a joy to see him play a game he loves.

  20. Xao - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    It’s about time someone exposed the travashamockery of Griffey’s career. If only he’d been more upbeat in the clubhouse, he would have been crushed by the weight of his World Series hardware. We all know that baseball is simply a morality play writ large and it speaks well of our society that no curmudgeonly, foul-tempered, egocentric ballplayer ever won anything! The day we let anything short of a Jeteriffic paragon of humanity win a World Series is the day we will know that Western Civilization has finally been buried beneath a middenheap of ruined morals and tarnished character.

  21. Jay Buhner - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    I used to shoot him up with my leftovers…

  22. JBerardi - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:41 PM

    “Hey JBerardi. So you are in the guilty until proven innocent group huh? Good for your and lack of trust and respect. True ALOT of guys are and were on the juice but I hate to point it out but if Junior were on the juice he would have had his best years after he turned 35 like the rest of them (not gone down with injuries).
    I would like to take this opportunity to mention that Junior was the best player of his generation and that you sir are an idiot!”


    “Roids. Period.
    Stop giving the guy a free pass.
    Check the numbers. Nice little power spike right at a very interesting time in MLB history; followed then by years of his body letting him down with pulls, strains, more pulls, etc etc”


    Why is it that the vast majority of sports fans refuse to accept the fact that we simply can’t know everything? I have no idea if Griffey used, what he might have used, when he might of used it, or what kind of effect it had on his career. I don’t know, and I don’t know of any way of knowing. I’m opposed both to giving him extra credit for being clean, or demerits for being dirty.

  23. Moses Green - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    Ditto on extra credit/demerits. Why can’t we just appreciate his accomplishments? Guy had a truly amazing career, and I wish him well in whatever lies ahead for him. He’s managed to create generational wealth at the same time as he brought a lot of happiness and fond memories to baseball fans around the world, and particularly in Seattle and Cinci. Seems like a win-win to me.

  24. 60eagles - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    He lived and played in the steroid era. Hit over 600 HR’s. You bet he was dirty just like most of the other sluggers of that period.

  25. Shawn Moore - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    If you don’t know, then don’t taint someone with your lack of knowledge. 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.

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