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Ken Griffey, Jr. was the best player of his generation, owner of the sweetest swing at the plate I've ever seen, tremendous records despite injuries that plagued him particularly while he played for his hometown Cincinnati Reds, and one of the best ever to patrol center field.
Often maligned by Reds fans who questioned his commitment (the way they would later similarly question Joey Votto), Griffey Jr. let his performance on the field speak for itself.
I saw an interview with him yesterday on MLB Network in which he talked about how he practiced in a batting cage at his home each night after games, from 11:30 to 3:00 in the morning. Yes, he had great natural ability. Yes, he grew up around the members of the Big Red Machine. But Griffey worked hard at being a great player. And he was.