The most iconic athlete in Seattle sports history is in the Hall of Fame, which means it’s the perfect time for us to reflect on his legacy, his induction speech, and whether or not any of today’s local athletes can match his status atop this city’s Mount Rushmore.
Plus, how does our perception of athletes change as we grow up, and what do we want from our sports stars off the field?
All of that, plus Russell Wilson’s new poster, a fair amount of grumpiness, Slick’s love life exposed for all to hear, and a new installment of Tindermonials!
Ken Griffey, Jr. has no idea what he has done for my family, so let’s begin there.
We love baseball, my family. When I was little, my dad would take us to games at the Kingdome a few times each year. We would get there two hours beforehand, as soon as the gates opened, and race up the concrete ramps until we reached the first base side of the 300 level.
It made little sense, arriving so early to take in batting practice from a location where not a single batted ball would travel, but we did it anyway. We liked being up there and soaking it all in.
On November 15th, 2007, a man by the name of Barry Lamar Bonds was served an indictment by a federal grand jury. The indictment alleged counts of perjury and obstruction of justice against Bonds, who, four years earlier, had sworn under oath that he had never used illegal substances provided to him by a Bay Area pharmaceutical company called BALCO.
Had Bonds held any other occupation, the story may not have been nearly as widespread. Bonds, however, happened to be a Major League Baseball player. And at the time of the indictment, the 43-year-old outfielder was resoundingly considered one of the best players in the history of his sport. Bonds was alleged to be nothing short of a liar, and as a result, a criminal. He never played baseball again.
Eight weeks before Bonds found himself indicted, another baseball player, also an outfielder, was fielding his position when he collapsed to the turf.
The legendary sound of one of Seattle’s most revered sports radio hosts graces the airwaves this week, as we welcome Mike Gastineau onto the show and kick Slickhawk to the curb (for the time being).
Gas leads us down memory lane, as we reminisce about the greatness of Ken Griffey, Jr. on the day he becomes a first ballot Hall of Famer. (And be sure to pay close attention to that Dave Niehaus story.)
We break away from the Junior lovefest to discuss the Seahawks venture to the frozen tundra for their playoff matchup with the Vikings. Marshawn is back, the temperature will be well below freezing, and our guest co-host once saved someone you probably know from getting arrested in Minnesota.
Breaking news demands our attention, with Athletic Director Scott Woodward leaving Washington for Texas A&M. What will his legacy be at UW, and how did Woodward shape the current landscape of sports on Montlake?
Finally, Husky hoops takes center stage with a monumental weekend sweep over the L.A. schools to open conference play. Are the Huskies for real? We debate the legitimacy of these young pups.
Forget Stephen Strasburg (and it pains me to say that, because I love the guy). There are players much more deserving of a trip to the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game than the Washington Nationals’ young ace. And even though the flame-throwing phenom might end up in Anaheim on July 13, my only hope is that these three guys will join him there.
R.A. Dickey, Starting Pitcher, New York Mets
As more or less a career minor leaguer, R. A. Dickey hasn’t even had the opportunity to fathom what playing in a big league All-Star game might be like. This year, the knuckleballer — along with his 6-1 record and 2.98 ERA — should at least be allowed to consider Disneyland as part of his travel plans over the break.
A former first-round draft pick by Texas in 1996, Dickey has quite the backstory leading up to what has arguably become his most productive major league season so far.
After being taken 18th overall by the Rangers in the ’96 June Amateur Draft, a team doctor saw a photo of Dickey on the cover of a magazine and noticed that the right-hander’s pitching arm looked a little funny. The organization put Dickey through medical testing prior to signing him and discovered that he lacked the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, also known as the ligament that requires repair when a pitcher undergoes Tommy John surgery.
Because of this revelation, Dickey was offered a $75,000 signing bonus, as opposed to the $810,000 bonus the team initially had on the table. The University of Tennessee product was forced to accept this reduced offer, and thus began an unpredictable journey through professional baseball.
I was two years old, going on three, when the Mariners made Ken Griffey Jr. the first overall pick in the 1987 draft.
The story of Junior’s draft selection is one that legends are made of. The team was debating whether to take Griffey, a raw high school outfielder from Cincinnati’s Moeller High School, or the more polished Mike Harkey, a right-handed power pitcher from Cal-State Fullerton.