06/02/2010 7:42 PM ET
Griffey Jr. announces his retirement from game
Griffey Jr. ends historic career ranked 5th on all-time home run list with 630
SEATTLE, Wash. -- After 22 seasons, 630 home runs and a highlight reel of catches, Seattle sports icon Ken Griffey Jr. has announced his retirement from professional baseball in a statement today.
He made his Major League debut with the Mariners as a 19-year-old teenager in 1989, and ends his career as one of the most decorated power hitters in baseball history.
Griffey ranks among baseball's all-time leaders in home runs (5th/630), multi-homer games (T7th/55), extra base hits (T6th/1,192), total bases (12th/5,271), runs scored (31st/1,662), doubles (36th/524), intentional walks (4th/246) and hits (46th/2,781). On the all-time home run list, he trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Willie Mays (660), and ranks 3rd among left-handed hitters.
Griffey, 40, spent the first 11 years of his Major League career (1989-1999) in Seattle, after being the first overall pick in the June 1987 Draft. He played the next eight and half seasons with the Cincinnati Reds before spending the second half of the 2008 season with the Chicago White Sox. He returned to the Mariners in 2009, contributing to baseball's most-improved team.
He ranks near the top of every offensive category in the Mariners record book, including home runs (1st/417), slugging percentage (2nd/.553), RBI (2nd/1,216), hits (3rd/1,843), doubles (2nd/341), total bases (2nd/3,495), runs (2nd/1,113), games (2nd/1,685) and at-bats (2nd/6,317).
Griffey has been a 10-time American League All-Star (1990-99), winning the All-Star Game MVP in 1992 and three Home Run Derby's (1994, 1998, 1999). He was voted the American League Most Valuable Player in 1997 and selected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999. He was also a three-time National League All-Star (2000, 2004, 2007).
Ken also won 10 Gold Glove Awards (1990-99) and seven Silver Slugger Awards (1991, 1993-94, 1996-99).
President & COO Chuck Armstrong
"Ken is both the finest ballplayer I have ever known and one of the finest people I have ever known," Armstrong said. "I consider myself unbelievably fortunate to have had the opportunity to watch a first-ballot Hall of Famers' career unfold in front of me, and in front of the great fans in Seattle."
"Ken is truly the heart of soul of this franchise. Without his contributions there is little doubt that Safeco Field would not exist and, almost certainly, baseball would have left the Northwest."
"He always gave his all on the field, and quietly was a force for good in the community."
"On the personal side, over the years my family and I have developed a close relationship with Ken and his family that we cherish. Ken Griffey Jr. epitomizes all that is good and right about professional athletics. He is a role model for the youth of today. In the years to come I do not expect our personal relationship to diminish. On behalf of all of us in the Mariners Family, I wish all the very best of health and happiness to Ken Griffey Jr. and his family.
"On a side note, just a few minutes ago I informed Commissioner Selig of Ken's decision and he asked me to express his personal thanks and admiration for all that Ken has meant to the game of Baseball."
CEO Howard Lincoln
"Ken Griffey Jr., one of baseball's true hero's, retired today. Ken's enduring legacy will be as the ballplayer most responsible for keeping Major League Baseball here in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. His achievements in baseball are well known and second to none. In the near future, I look forward to seeing Ken inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. For me, Ken Griffey is more than just a fabulous baseball player. He is a great man in every sense of the word. He is a wonderful family man; he is a man of deep compassion who has given generously to his fellow man; and he is a man who has played the game of life clean and with passion and conviction. Like all Mariners fans, I wish Ken the very best in the years to come and on behalf of our ownership group, our front office and our players, I thank him from the bottom of my heart for all that he has given to our community. "
Executive Vice President & General Manager Jack Zduriencik
"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'd like to wish Ken, Melissa and his family the very best."