So long, Kid: Ken Griffey Jr. announces his retirement

Ken Griffey Jr.(notes) is hanging up his backward cap for good.

We know because Griffey told John Hickey, a reporter for AOL Fanhouse, who covered Griffey in Seattle the first time around.

Here's the crux:

Sources said that Griffey, who didn't report to Safeco Field for the Mariners game against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night, is saying "it's over.''

It's over. Just like that. Seemingly on his own terms, not those of others, in a tumultuous (also sometimes sleepy) final go-round with the Seattle Mariners. He was hoping for one last chance at a World Series, but the M's season has not gone as hoped.

Griffey played 22 seasons, breaking in as a sweet-swinging 19-year-old in 1989, before getting a chance to play with his dad the next season. Early in his career, he drew comparisons to Willie Mays by playing with a combination of unparalleled athletic talent and youthful exuberance. He was a superstar on the field and as a TV pitchman, rivaling Michael Jordan as the country's most popular pro athlete.

Though injuries sapped him of playing time and, later, much of the joy with which he played, Griffey still put together one of the best careers of the past half-century.

He finishes with:

• 630 home runs, fifth all-time
• 2,781 hits
• 1,836 RBIs, 14th all-time
• 5,271 career bases, 12th all-time
• 10 Gold Gloves
• 5,134 put outs in center field, fourth all-time
• 13 All-Star appearances
• 246 intentional walks, fourth all-time
• .907 OPS
• 78.4 wins above replacement, 38th among position players all-time

* * *

Courtesy of Lookout Landing, here are M's honchos Dave Niehaus (longtime broadcaster) And Jack Zduriencik (the current general manager) on Griffey's retirement.

* * *

The Stew will devote most, if not all, of Thursday to Ken Griffey Jr.'s unique career. Please join us and reminisce.

What to Read Next