There was the dramatic, series-winning slide into home base in 1995. There was the gravity-defying, wall-climbing catch in 1991 (and then another one, four years later). There were the hundreds of home runs—and countless moments of inspiration for fans.
The Seattle Mariners are celebrating Ken Griffey Jr.'s induction into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame this past Sunday with an emotional long-copy print ad that tries to capture some of the star's many contributions to the sport—and the city's reputation.
"Thanks for the swing," opens the copy. "Thanks for the arm. Thanks for the glove, forever golden," it continues, getting increasingly specific, and verklempt, and touching, in a surprisingly efficient homage to an impressive career.
See the full ad below. Click to enlarge.
The center fielder, also known as "The Kid," launched his more than 20-year run in the majors in 1989, including an 11-season stint at the Mariners, where he rose to superstardom with iconic plays that helped earn him nicknames like Spider-Man. He also a near unanimous selection for the Hall of Fame, with 99.3 percent of votes in his first year of eligibility—the highest number in history.
The ad, created by longtime Mariners agency Copacino & Fujikado, ran in the Seattle Times. It's simple and beautifully written, packing in subtle allusions to accomplishments like 630 career homers, and specific moments like the three-base run that stole the American League Division Series from the Yankees in 1995, and to places like the now-demolished Kingdome stadium—all good fodder for true fans.
Certain of its claims might draw quibbling from some readers—like whether a backwards hat could really ever be considered fashion-forward. Regardless, the copy also manages to convey something much broader—the idea that baseball is greater than just a sport, and Griffey's role was something more profound than just a player.
It deftly evokes images with almost religious overtones—viewers glued to TV screens in rapt awe, hordes of children doing their best to emulate an idol, a community of devotees finding meaning and identity through pride in their team, and eventually, looking back on their lives, telling their grandkids about the time Griffey Jr. broke his wrist for a spectacular catch, then sat out for more than 70 games, then helped lead the Mariners to a historic comeback.
While that may just be the stuff of baseball—and sports—in general, it's captured with exceptional reverence here, a fitting tribute to a beloved player. And for anyone who needs a reminder of why he was so popular, beyond his skill, there's always this moment at the end of his Hall of Fame acceptance speech