Inspired by my favorite new blog on the block, The Junior Junkie, I thought I'd choose Ken Griffey Jr. as my latest "Up For Grabs" selection. As always, these are cards pulled from my binders that I'm trying to get rid of as I make an effort to get more organized and leaner in the area of stuff I don't really collect. As always, the full list appears at the end of the post. Contact me if you need any of this stuff.
Griffey was the player I had in mind when I was still a teenager and just starting my "star" binders. Junior was an amazing talent and fun to watch play, but I was never as interested in him as the hype surrounding him built him up to be. He's one of the best examples I can think of as a "money grab" in the height of the early '90s sports cards frenzy.
You wanted Griffey cards because Griffey cards meant money. Even my proximity to Seattle did little to make me feel like he would ever be my favorite player. He was easy to root for, sure, but if he had failed to perform on the field or even became someone who was just better than adequate (J.D. Drew comes to mind) I think there would have been a massive backlash.
Instead, we were left with a very talented player playing in the remote corner of the country for his formative years. That remote corner also happens to be just a few hours of driving down the road from where I live, and locally televised baseball has always meant Mariners baseball in Portland. The thing is, I was never a Mariners fan.
This all makes it sound like I was never much of a Griffey fan. That's not really true. I just never felt like I was excited about pulling his cards for the right reason. A lot of people have their Griffey Upper Deck rookie card story. Mine came down to how much I was able to sell one for ($50 cash) when I was only 15 years old. That was a TON of money to me back then. My hands would nearly shake if I held a $20 in my hand, so when a high school girl I worked with bought my cash cow off of me, I had little regrets.
Plus, I had plenty more Griffey cards in my possession than I knew what to do with, even though there were no more Upper Deck rookies to be had. To this day, I've never had a problem pulling his cards. (The man does have a ton of baseball cards, so I don't envy guys like The Junior Junkie.)
My Griffey supply has been tapped quite a few times since I've started this blog, and yet I knew that I would still have quite a massive list to pull together when I eventually made this post. I'm sure I have at least a dozen of his cards that never made it to the binder for any number of reasons, so consider this just a partial list for now.
When Griffey returned to his home town to play ball for the Reds, I remember it being a big deal but I was definitely not nearly as in tune with the game as I was in high school or am now. I'm sure that not collecting cards at the time had a lot to do with that, but at the time I know I was floating through life without a job or much of a care in the world. It did make me sad that Griffey started to suffer some serious injuries in Cincinnati that cost him large amounts of games into his 30s.
The Barry Bonds so-called twilight years made it a lot easier to root for supposedly "clean" guys like Griffey. It was a drag to come to the realization that the massive amount of time Griffey missed in Cincinnati made it impossible for him to compete for the career records that other more monstrous players would achieve. He still ranks very high on things that probably shouldn't matter as much like the All-Time HR list, but he didn't quite have the same late career peak that no one should physically ever have.
I still remember my Jose Canseco 40/40 poster that stood proudly on my bedroom wall. I don't regret not being Junior Fan No. 1, but I guess in hindsight I could have chosen a better player to be awestruck by.
I'm not the biggest Mariners fan, but I like when there's more interest in baseball locally. That could certainly improve with an improved Mariners team. I wouldn't hold out hope that there's another Ken Griffey around the corner, but with Ichiro having moved on, Seattle could really use a brand new superstar to inject some life into their franchise.
1998 Skybox Dugout Axcess (Nameplates) #139
1991 Score (Dream Team) #892
2004 Upper Deck #326
2008 Topps #580 [
1991 Score #2 [2 available]
1991 Score (The Franchise) #858 [2 available]
1990 Donruss (Diamond Kings) #4 [3 available]
2008 Upper Deck First Edition Starquest Common #SQ-51
1991 Fleer #450
1991 Fleer (Super Star Specials w/ Barry Bonds) #710 [2 available]
1991 Topps (All-Star) #392 [2 available]
1992 Score #1
1992 Score (All-Star) #436 [2 available]
1991 Donruss #77
1991 Donruss (All-Star) #49
1991 Donruss (MVP) #392
1994 Topps Stadium Club (AL West Leader) #529 [2 available]
1991 Score (Rifleman) #697 [2 available]
1991 Bowman #246
1990 Donruss #365 [5 available]
1990 Post #23 of 30
2007 Topps (All-Star) #UH230
1990 Topps #336
1990 Upper Deck (Team Checklist) #24
1991 Score (All-Star) #396
1991 Upper Deck #555
1992 Leaf #392
1990 Upper Deck #156
2002 Upper Deck MVP #279
2002 Upper Deck MVP (Checklist) #295
2010 Upper Deck #445
2012 Topps Gypsy Queen #250
2008 Topps Stadium Club #35 [