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One of the few highlights for Ken Griffey Jr. this season was this game-winning, RBI pinch-hit single in the ninth inning against the Blue Jays May 20 in Seattle. (Associated Press)

Griffey retires after 22 seasons

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SEATTLE (AP) -- Ken Griffey Jr. retired Wednesday night, ending one of the great careers in baseball history.

The 40-year-old Griffey told Seattle team president Chuck Armstrong that he was done playing. Mar-iners manager Don Wakamatsu called his players together before the start of batting practice to inform them of Griffey's decision.

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Griffey was not in the clubhouse before Wednesday night's game against Minnesota. The team said he would not be at Safeco Field.

"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.

"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," he said.

Griffey was hitting only .184 with no homers and seven RBIs this year and recently went a week without playing. There was a report earlier this season -- which Griffey denied -- that he'd fallen asleep in the clubhouse during a game.

Griffey was a 13-time All-Star outfielder and ranks fifth on the career home run list with 630. He won an MVP award and was an 11-time Gold Glover. The only thing missing on his resume was a trip to the World Series.

A star from the time he was the overall No. 1 pick in the 1987 draft, Griffey played 22 years in the majors with Seattle, his hometown Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago White Sox. He hit .284 lifetime with 1,836 RBIs.

A year after making his big league debut, Griffey enjoyed one of his greatest highlights. Playing with his All-Star dad, Ken Griffey Jr., they hit back-to-back home runs in a game for the Mariners.

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