Ken Griffey Jr. and Babe Ruth were different men from different era’s but share a few things,one of which is the date they chose to retire : June 2nd. Babe Ruth considered to be the greatest player of all-time retired on June 2,1935 and Ken Griffey Jr. The “Yankee Killer” retired on June 2nd 2010, 75 years apart. Babe Ruth is credited with saving the game of baseball after the “Black Sox scandal” and Griffey is credited with saving baseball in Seattle. Both men had a presence at the plate and in the eyes of the nation that cannot be measured in statistics alone, though with 714 and 630 home runs respectively the numbers were awesome. I never got to see Babe Ruth play but my Grandfather Gordon Dusty Rhodes played with Ruth from 1929-32 while he was with the Yankees which is how I obtained this original photo of the “Babe”
I did however get to see Ken Griffey Jr. in action many times both at the old Kingdome and at Safeco field. Both of these players were and will always remain bigger than life and represent the timeless game of baseball in the minds and hearts of fans across the nation and world. Griffey played the outfield with a lot more ability and daring than Ruth, but Ruth also was an excellent pitcher when he started out with the Boston Red Sox.
Both men are legends who specialized in a flair for the dramatic, First Ruth with his famous home run in the 1932 World Series against Chicago where he pointed to centerfield then hit a home run to the spot he pointed to. Griffey of course will be best known for the five home runs he hit against the same Yankees in the 1995 division play-offs, capped off by his mad dash from first to score the winning run in game five of that series.
While Griffey off the field is respected as a family man who never got involved in the steroids scandal, Ruth on the other hand was known as a party-animal and a bit of a ruffian. However both players had huge hearts and spent time visiting sick children and other social work that often time gets over-looked in an era where people seem to enjoy dirty-laundry and gossip.
True American heroes are rare and hard to come by these days, but Babe Ruth and Ken Griffey Jr. who as fate would have it retired on the same day are heroes in my book. We will never know if Ken Griffey Jr. would have broken the all-time home run record had he stayed healthy, or if Ruth would have been a great manager as he always dreamed of if given a chance, but we do know we will never forget them. http://jeffsmariners.com