WASHINGTON -- Ken Griffey Jr. didn't have a chance to say goodbye to the Cincinnati public, after he was traded to the White Sox on Thursday while the Reds were on the road and enjoying an off-day.
On Saturday, Griffey wrote a letter of thanks that showed appreciation and some regret and offered an apology for his part in an incident during what proved to be his final homestand.
"I would like to thank the Cincinnati Reds organization for allowing me to fulfill a lifelong dream of playing for my hometown team," Griffey wrote. "I will always value the lasting friendships I have with the Lindner, Castellini and Williams families. While my nine seasons there were filled with personal highlights -- like hitting my 400th, 500th and 600th home runs in a Reds uniform -- and the negatives of having to fight through too many injuries, my biggest regret is that we were not able to win a World [Series] championship while I was there."
Griffey had a sometimes stormy rapport with Reds fans while he played in Cincinnati from 2000-08. It stemmed from frustration over seven straight losing seasons in which fans often blamed Griffey because he missed significant time with several injuries.
"Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank Reds fans for their support," Griffey said. "I really do understand that the overwhelming majority of fans wanted so badly for me to succeed."
On July 26, after hitting his second-to-last home run in a Reds uniform, Griffey made a throat-slashing gesture and was seen swearing towards the Reds' radio booth and broadcaster Jeff Brantley because of comments made about him on the air.
"Additionally, I would like to sincerely apologize to those fans offended by my wrongful actions last Saturday night," Griffey said. "It was an overreaction on my part to what I felt was a series of public, inaccurate and unfair remarks about me.
"I wish nothing but success for the Reds both on and off the field."