I was one of those 90's Seattle kids who spent the $25 on the '89 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card. I bought Beckett magazines monthly thinking that I had invested in the sports card trading equivalent of a mid-80's Microsoft share. I watched the card value spike up to $100 by 1994. What a return.
And what a return The Kid, Ken Griffey Jr. made to Seattle this weekend. Seattlites packed Safeco Field aka "The House That Griffey Built" for the Griffey's homecoming and welcomed him with continuous standing ovations throughout the Reds series. Griffey jerseys -- both Mariners and Reds varieties -- sold out Ichiro jerseys 20-1.
The Mariners orchestrated a pregame ceremony before Friday's game (see picture) and Griffey gave Seattlites the treat of watching his signature swing hit two balls out of the park, passing Mark McGuire's homerun count, in a Mariners' win on Sunday.
The weekend was nostalgically pleasant, and appropriately ignorant of the rather sour feelings this city had when its first sports superstar departed after his 11-year career in Seattle.
No need for hard feelings, afterall, The Kid is no longer. His post-Mariners career has been below average and cursed by injuries -- torn left hamstring, torn right knee tendon (twice), torn right hamstring (twice), dislocated right shoulder, torn right ankle tendon, dislocated toe.
No, this was a time to celebrate how Ken Griffey Jr. made going to Mariners game fun and put this city on the baseball map.