Jewish Journal

The Greatest Baseball Player of My Generation

by Jeremy Fine

June 6, 2010 | 6:45 am

Today was a sad day in baseball. It is true that my favorite player of all-time is Frank Thomas. But if Big Frank wouldn’t have been on the White Sox I probably would have had Ken Griffey Jr. posters all over my room. Griffey was the greatest player of my generation. People can argue Bonds, Clemens, or whoever else they want. I would take Griffey. After Griffey left Seattle the first time his career took a major turn due to injury after injury. Yet he still is 5th all time in HRs. The top 6 are Bonds, Aaron, Ruth, Mays, Griffey, and Sosa. If you take away Bonds and Sosa for obvious reasons Griffey is left with the greatest players who ever played the game of baseball.

But besides his HRs he played a center fielder like only Mays could. Youtube is catches from his early days. You will be WOWed. If you are teaching your son or daughter how to hit, watch Griffey’s swing. Everything about this man was perfection. Sweet swinging, fence jumping, home run hitting, The Kid Ken Griffey Junior. In an age of steroids and corked bats, Griffey was the model citizen who succeed without cheating. That is why we should all rally around his amazing career.

Two years ago Griffey was traded to the White Sox. Sure he was past his prime. But I bought tickets the second he was traded to the South Side, because to see the best player of my era in Black and White was such a thrill. Chills went up and down my spine. Imagine Michael Jordan playing 30 games in your team’s jersey. Imagine Barry Sanders lining up in your team’s backfield for the last three weeks of a season. Would you go? How fast would you buy those tickets?

Well the age old question on TGR. How is this Jewish?

For once I wanted to not have a link and just give Griffey his props. But I couldn’t do that. I got the news from reading Sportsline.com. Through this article I realized that Jack Zduriencik (Jewish), Mariners general manager was Jewish. Zduriencik was responsible for bringing Griffey back to Seattle and giving Griffey his final hoorah as a Mariner. Zduriencik said, “This is a sad day for the Mariners…It is rare in this game when you get an opportunity to reunite a player and a team. We feel honored that Ken was able to end his career where it began, here in Seattle.”

I guess it was time for Jack Zduriencik and the Mariners to cut ties with Griffey. The fact is he isn’t producing and is a defensive liability. But what a class act by Zduriencik to bring Griffey back home. To honor him the way he should be. To solidify Griffey as the face of the organization.

Goodbye to the Griff. The game won’t be the same without you.

And Let Us Say…Amen.
-Jeremy Fine
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Rabbi Jeremy Fine is the Assistant Rabbi at Temple of Aaron in St. Paul MN. He was ordained from the Jewish Theological Seminary where he also received a Masters in Jewish...

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