*It’s so hard to say goodbye! Mariners’ Ken Griffey, Jr. turned in his jersey on Wednesday night after calling up team president, Chuck Armstrong, telling him his career was done, just like that. Unfortunately, there will be no farewell tour, but he is one of the best players of all time and his legacy will stand forever in the history of the MLB

The 40-year-old slugger unexpectedly announced his retirement before a game against Minnesota. He’s played good, long, and hard for 22 seasons, making 13 All-Star Game appearances, and breaking homerun records. What’s the team to do now?

“While I feel I am 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.”

I guess he’s saying without him, the team will do better, but the he will be missed.

Teammate Milton Bradley turned to a fellow player, Mike Sweeney and said, “On a day like this, it should rain in Seattle.”

I guess a real man knows when his time is up. Griffey was having a not so productive season this year, hitting a .184 with no homeruns, but he can bank on his career’s successes. He finishes as the fifth on the all-time homerun list hitting 630 in his long career. He has been the MVP and has been given 11 Gold Glover awards in the past.

“It’s a sad day for the Mariners, our fans, for all the people in the community that have loved Ken, admired him as a tremendous baseball player and a great human being,” said Howard Lincoln, Mariners CEO. “It’s always tough for great superstars like Ken or anyone else to make a decision to retire. This has been his life for so many years, but he has made his decision and will support it. We will honor him in every way possible.”

Recap Griffey’s career here.