When I was a young kid in the early 1990s Ken Griffey, Jr., in my eyes, was the Michael Jordan of baseball. Although he was new to the game you could see, from the first day he stepped on the field in San Bernardino, CA for the San Bernardino Spirit, he was undeniable superstar in the making. I watched Ken Griffey, Jr. go from playing less then 2 miles from the house I grew up in to being considered one of the greatest outfielders the planet has ever seen. In addition to winning 10 consecutive Gold Gloves for his incomparable play in center field Junior also won 7 Silver Slugger awards in 9 years making him an equal threat on both sides of the ball. Ken Griffey, Jr. has been described by many to be a “freak athlete” due to his ability to track down any batted ball, throw out anyone from any spot on the field and for his technically incorrect but completely phenomenal swing. Ken Griffey, Jr. is considered to have one of the most beautiful and effortless looking swings in Major League Baseball history despite it being very long with large dip and a less then perfect bat level when crossing the plate. And still, somehow, “The Kid” managed to record 630 regular season home runs, 2,781 hits and 1,836 RBIs with a career slugging percentage of .538 during his Hall of Fame career.
Although Ken Griffey, Jr. can’t be seen playing hardball 4 nights a week anymore you can still see his signature Nike shoe series on shelves from time to time. One of those times was just a couple days ago, August 6th, 2011, when the Nike Air Griffey Max 1 in the “Emerald” color way made its return to retail after 15 years. Nike debuted the Air Griffey Max 1 in 1996 while still riding the wave of success Griffey and the Mariners’ had late in the 1995 regular and post seasons. Today no wave is needed to sell Junior’s shoes as they will be purchased without any hesitation by fans like me, and others, who grew up watching every move he made on and off the field.