Reds fans: Remember the feeling when Ken Griffey Jr. came back home?

Looking back at The Kid’s time in Cincinnati on 17th anniversary of the trade


Remember when the Reds traded for Ken Griffey Jr.?

It was 17 years ago today.

But no, I don’t mean do you recall that it happened.

The records are available for anyone to see. The highlights are still on YouTube and so on and so forth.

But remember the feeling of Feb. 10, 2000?

Has there ever been a better time to be a Reds fan since the World Series win in 1990?

I’m having a hard time thinking of one.

HAL MCCOY: Ken Griffey Jr. a Hall of Fame person

As the Cincinnati native and son of a Big Red Machine member took over the game in the ‘90s, I remember fantasizing about how he would look in a wishbone ‘C’ cap.

There were occasional reports it might happen, but it always seemed like an impossible dream.

Then when it finally did come to pass, it was almost too good to be true.

Coming off a surprise 96-win season, Cincinnati added the coolest, most popular active player in baseball — if not sports — at the time.

RELATED: Check out Junior’s high school scouting report

As a bonus, they gave up surprisingly little to get a 30-year-old with 398 home runs and 10 Gold Gloves, but most importantly he wanted to be here.

He called Southwest Ohio home without prompting. (You know we love that here.)

How could things possibly look any, well, rosier then or in the immediate future?

But you know what they say about the best-laid plans.

Everything looked great until the actual games started. That pretty much ruined everything.

RELATED: Griffey strives for normalcy in post-baseball life

It’s a testament to The Kid’s greatness in Seattle that his 210 homers, 602 RBIs and three All-Star appearances as a Red are pretty much universally remembered as a disappointment.

Griffey couldn’t stay healthy, and team management failed to put enough good players around him.

HAL MCCOY: 5 questions facing the Reds entering Spring Training

The Reds won 11 fewer games in 2000 than in that magical ’99 season, and it pretty much only got worse from there.

To add insult to injury, the Mariners went on to four straight winning seasons despite losing a future Hall of Famer in what should have been his prime.

The storybook had some high points — home runs No. 400, 500 and 600 — but not the ending anyone wanted, at least not in Cincinnati.

He was traded to the White Sox at the deadline in 2008 for two more forgettable players before finishing his career as a mostly ceremonial piece of two more Mariners teams.

RELATED: Junior voted into Baseball Hall of Fame

And yet… remember that day 17 years ago?

What promise it held.

What joy it brought.

Since then sometimes it feels like hope is the best a small-market baseball fan can reasonably expect.

There have been winning seasons since and playoff appearances.

Lots of great players and personalities.

Two no-hitters and an All-Star Game.

But nothing quite like the day The Kid come home.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Three area teams top regions in first OHSAA computer ratings
Three area teams top regions in first OHSAA computer ratings

Top-ranked Chaminade Julienne and Coldwater joined Bellbrook as the No. 1 teams in their respective regions of the first Ohio High School Athletic Association computer football ratings released on Tuesday. The ratings made their debut after Week 4 games. The Associated Press announced its first high school state football polls last week. CJ and Coldwater...
Cincinnati Bengals sign kicker Bullock to contract extension
Cincinnati Bengals sign kicker Bullock to contract extension

The Bengals on Tuesday rewarded kicker Randy Bullock for his reliability. The Bengals signed Bullock to two-year contract extension through the 2020 season. Bullock was in the final season of a two-year deal. »RELATED: Panthers’ offensive style presents challenges for Bengals Since joining the Bengals during the 2016 season, Bullock has...
High School Football computer ratings: Is your team in the playoff mix?
High School Football computer ratings: Is your team in the playoff mix?

The Ohio High School Athletic Association made its football computer ratings debut on Tuesday. The top eight schools from each region in the final report Oct. 29 will qualify for the playoffs. Region 1 - 1. Mentor (4-0) 11.65, 2. Solon (4-0) 9.575, 3. Euclid (3-1) 8.875, 4. Canton McKinley (4-0) 7.9242, 5. Austintown-Fitch (3-1) 7.8, 6. Strongsville...
Urban Meyer reveals his role in Ohio State offense moving forward
Urban Meyer reveals his role in Ohio State offense moving forward

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?  That apparently is Urban Meyer’s thinking as he returns to the sideline this weekend for Ohio State football after a three-game suspension.  “I think I’ll be involved more as a game manager at this point,” the coach said on the Big Ten coaches teleconference Tuesday afternoon...
Panthers’ college-style offense presents Bengals with unique challenge
Panthers’ college-style offense presents Bengals with unique challenge

While the Carolinas continue to recover from the flooding left by Hurricane Florence, the Cincinnati Bengals are preparing for a Week 3 road matchup with the Panthers. The teams meet at 1 p.m. Sunday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Carolina (1-1) is coming off a 31-24 loss at Atlanta but will provide the Bengals (2-0) with a challenge in the...
More Stories