For a long time Ken Griffey Jr. was known in the Major Leagues as one of the best outfielders in baseball, not only for his hitting but also for his incredible defensive skills.
How good was he?
That's just one of the hundreds of great plays the Hall of Famer made in his incredible career.
But ... Which one is the best according to Ken Griffey Jr.?
"Luis Gonzalez got all of it."
So began his story, Griffey, then continued to talk about the stadium and how baseball is the only sport in which each field of play is different, the only thing equal is the 90 feet between bases and the 60 feet and six inches from the pitching rubber to home plate.
Why is this important to the story?
Well, because where he made his "best" catch was in one of the most difficult stadiums in all of the Big Leagues at that time, the old Tigers stadium.
It was especially evil for outfielders, because the stadium's "second deck actually hung over the outfield, jutting out into fair territory so it literally cast a shadow over the warning track."
For that reason, his favorite play might not have happened.
"When I got to the wall, I wondered, for that split-second, whether I was risking a triple by jumping for an uncatchable ball. If you miss a catch trying to do something heroic, it could bounce off the wall and result in a triple. In the outfield, I’ll give you a double if I can’t do anything about it. Good hits in the gaps are good hits. But I always hated allowing triples. A triple is embarrassing, so I was really stingy about them."
He rose over the fence, saw that the ball did not hit the overhang, stretched his arm out, opened his glove and gave us an incredible catch, one of the best in the history of baseball.
"When I landed, it was a shock to find the ball in there. Jay Buhner was a few feet away yelling, “One, one, one, one!”"
Pictures really don't do it justice, so here is a video:
"If you ask me about the most memorable play I ever made, it’s probably going back-to-back home runs. But my best play? That happened at the 415-foot mark, just below the Tiger Stadium overhang. If I close my eyes, I can still feel the ball rolling back into my palm."