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So long, Kid

it's a shame that it wasn't even the big news of the day when one of the best baseball players of his generation decided to hang it up.

Unfortunately, Ken Griffey Jr. decided to retire without fanfare on the same day that an umpire blew a call at first base to ruin a perfect game with two outs in the ninth. He heads for the clubhouse with a .284 career batting average, 630 homers and 1836 RBIs.

I guess that's always the way it's been for Griffey. He played in an era in which he was always overshadowed by wrongdoing. He was the guy who was going to re-write the record book. Unfortunately, while he was breaking down with injuries, his opponents were vandalizing the record books with their steroid-fueled feats.

Just a decade ago, Griffey's home run total alone would be enough to get him into the Hall of Fame. Now, with the taint of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and others on the record books, I wonder how Griffey's accomplishments will be perceived by Hall of Fame voters. But it's hard to imagine a scenario in which they deny the marks he has made on the game even if maybe he hung on for a little bit too long: Griffey ranks fifth all-time in homers, 12th in total bases, 14th in RBIs, 31st in runs, 36th in doubles and 46th in hits.

The baseball stars always seemed to be aligned for Griffey. He was born on the same date and in the same town -- Nov. 21 in Donora, PA -- as Stan Musial. Now he ends with the same symmetry. Griffey retired on the 75th anniversary of Babe Ruth calling in quits.