SEATTLE(AP) Ken Griffey Jr. thrilled his fans one last time, taking a curtain call after singling in his final at-bat. He
wiped away tears that fell from behind sunglasses he had put on in a futile attempt to hide his emotions.
He looked like a bellhop, tipping his cap so many times to so many people during this joyous season finale. More than 32,000
Seattleites kept chanting ''One more year!''
Then four of his teammates carried Griffey on their shoulders from left field to the first-base side. Griffey beamed and waved
his cap some more, looking like a 39-year-old king being paraded in a makeshift chariot.
What a way to go out. That is, if baseball's active home run king is indeed going out for good.
finished tied for the major league lead with 19 wins and the Mariners beat the
4-3 on Sunday, a daylong tribute to Seattle's beloved Junior.
The Northwest icon finished his one-year contract with the Mariners by going 1 for 4 and getting a standing ovation during
each at-bat. Griffey admitted the day was unlike any other in his 21-year career.
''Probably the most nervous and emotional roller coaster I've ever been through,'' he said, his eyes red while standing in
front of his locker. ''You never know. If this is going to be the last one, it's tough.''
Friday, general manager Jack Zduriencik ducked a question on whether Griffey is in Seattle's plans for 2010, saying assessments
will begin Monday. Griffey has said he would be interested in playing another season if the team wants him.
''I don't know if I've been, in all my years in this game, as emotional as I was when Griffey came out,'' said Seattle manager
, who has been in professional baseball since 1985.
Playing as a designated hitter on a surgically repaired knee that was drained this season, Griffey hit three home runs in
his final five games. He finished with 19 home runs this season and 630 in his career. Asked why he might not return, he smiled
and thought of home in Orlando, Fla.
''I've got a 15-, 13- and 7-year old,'' he said. ''Other than that, I have no reason not to.''
doubled and scored two runs for Texas, which finished 8-15 after reaching a season-high 19 games over .500. A surprising run
for the AL West title ended with elimination Monday at the division-champion
Los Angeles Angels
- months after most thought it would. It was Texas' latest elimination from postseason contention since 2004, its last winning
The Rangers (87-75) finished with the fourth-best record in the AL. This is the first time they have finished second or better
in consecutive seasons since they won the division in 1998 and '99.
''We certainly put our name out there,'' manager
said. ''We proved we can pitch in Texas. ... Now, we just have to get more consistent.''
Vendors outside the park yelled they had special commemorative Griffey game programs for sale before the game. A fan behind
the Mariners' dugout held a sign that said ''Come back JR.'' Griffey posed for pictures on the field just before the first
pitch with nostalgic teammates and with longtime team trainer Rick Griffin, who was with the Mariners in 1989 when Griffey
debuted as a grinning, gifted teenager.
His single in the eighth was his 2,763rd hit, in his 2,637th game. That's the most among active players, 16 ahead of
After his liner into center field off C.J. Wilson, Griffey was replaced by pinch-runner
. He tipped his batting helmet, waved it around the park and flashed a hand salute, drawing more roars.
The fans didn't stop until after Griffey emerged from the dugout. The slugger was biting his lower lip as he tipped his helmet
one more time.
Hernandez (19-5) struck out six and walked one. He left with two outs in the seventh, after consecutive RBI groundouts by
He finished with a 2.49 ERA, second in the AL to the 2.16 of Kansas City's
, among his competitors in the Cy Young Award race. Hernandez's .792 winning percentage was the AL's best, ahead of
's .739 (17-6).
Hernandez went 15-2 with a 1.98 ERA after Wakamatsu called him out for not stepping up during a sloppy loss to the Angels
on May 19.
for the second time in as many at bats off
(17-7) to put Seattle up 2-1 in the fifth.
then doubled home Suzuki and Gutierrez to make it 4-1.
finished with a .352 batting average, second in the AL behind Minnesota's
. With 225 hits, Suzuki led the AL for the fourth straight time and sixth overall.
Suzuki, who came out of his clubhouse shell with Griffey's unending pranks, thinks Junior is coming back.
''To play together with that hero of mine, in the same uniform and on top of that in Seattle? That time we got, even now,
seems like a dream,'' Suzuki said through an interpreter.
''I believe that time with him will continue.''
NOTE: Seattle became the 13th team since 1901 to finish with a winning record the season after losing 100 games. Of those
other dozen turnaround teams, only the 1989
and the 1967
had more than Seattle's 85 victories this season. Those Orioles and Cubs had 87 wins.