Ken Griffey Junior was a baseball singularity. His swing was perfectly calibrated to both crush opposing pitches and demonstrate the unmatchable, iconic coolness of its wielder. No other player in a generation came close to touching Griffey Jr.’s raw magnetism. The swing, the smile, the backwards cap — he was the face of baseball. And, somehow, he did this in Seattle.
Griffey was the pivot on which the whole franchise turned. Before his arrival, the Mariners were a team which baseball happened to happen near. This was a group of guys, serving their time together before being scattered to the winds, leaving behind nothing but the odd prank and the vague stench of misery.
Now the trajectory of the Seattle Mariners changes from sketch comedy to actual, bonafide narrative. With Griffey, the team had their protagonist, and to him swarmed other heroes, like moths to a flame. The motley collection of Some Guys had been usurped by The Kid. For the first time in their history, the Mariners had their very own story to tell.
Here it is.