After 22 years, the Seattle Mariners’ Ken Griffey Junior announced his retirement Wednesday night prior to the team’s game against the Twins. Although Griffey was not in the park, Mariners’ manager Don Wakamatsu made the official announcement on the All-Star’s behalf:

“While I feel I am still able to make a contribution on the field and nobody in the Mariners front office has asked me to retire, I told the Mariners when I met with them prior to the 2009 season and was invited back that I will never allow myself to become a distraction,” Griffey said in a statement.

“I feel that without enough occasional starts to be sharper coming off the bench, my continued presence as a player would be an unfair distraction to my teammates and their success as a team is what the ultimate goal should be.”

Griffey steps away from the game with a career .284 batting average, 1,836 RBIs and 630 home runs, 5th all time in Major League Baseball.

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