For 11 seasons, sports fans in the Northwest enjoyed watching one of the best all-around players in Major League Baseball history. In 2009-2010, fans had a chance to share with him the final days of his future Hall of Fame career. Today the Seattle Mariners announced that Ken Griffey Jr. will become the seventh member of the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame when he is inducted during a pre-game ceremony on Saturday, August 10, 2013.
Griffey was selected first overall in the June 1987 draft by the Mariners and less than two years later, at age 19, he was in center field on Opening Night in 1989. He proceeded to electrify the game of baseball in the 1990’s, not just across the Northwest, but across the country. As testament to Griffey’s talent and achievements, in 1999, he was one of 29 players named to the All-Century Team, a roster of the greatest players at each position in the history of MLB. At 29, he was the youngest member of the team and joined Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire and Cal Ripken Jr. as the only active players on the roster of greats.
Griffey retired from baseball on June 2, 2010. Among his achievements over a 22-year MLB career, including 2000-2008 with the Cincinnati Reds and part of 2008 with the Chicago White Sox:
1997 American League MVP (unanimous selection) and RBI leader
10-time Gold Glove winner
Seven-time Silver Slugger winner
Four-time American League home run leader
Three-time MLB All-Star Home Run Derby champ
630 career home runs, sixth on the list of top MLB home run hitters.
“Like all Mariners fans, I consider it a privilege to have watched Ken Griffey Jr. grow up before us to become one of the greatest players in baseball and a true gentleman. He was a naturally gifted athlete who played the game with pure joy. We are proud to welcome Ken to the Mariners Hall of Fame and look forward to the day in January 2016, when he gets the call from the National Baseball Hall of Fame,” said Chuck Armstrong, Seattle Mariners President and COO.
In 1991, Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr. were teammates and took the field at the Kingdome, a first in baseball history for a father-son. A few days later, they hit back-to-back home runs at Anaheim against the Angels.
Griffey is near the top in every offensive category in the Mariners record book including:
Home runs (1st/417)
Slugging percentage (2nd/.553)
Total bases (2nd/3,495)
Griffey still holds several Mariners single-season records including:
Single-season home runs (56, 2 times)
Single-season RBI (147)
Single-season extra base hits (93)
In 2011, Griffey was named Special Consultant to the franchise assisting in numerous areas of the Mariners operations including, but not limited to, Major League Baseball Operations, player development, minor league system, marketing, broadcasting and community relations. In each of the past two springs (2011 and 2012), he has spent time working with Mariners outfielders and minor league players at Spring Training, a role he will fill again this year.
Griffey will be inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame during a pregame ceremony on Saturday, August 10, before the game against the Milwaukee Brewers. Start time for the game is 6:10pm. More information about the ceremony and Hall of Fame induction festivities will be announced at a later date.
The six current members of the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame are Alvin Davis (1997), Dave Niehaus (2000), Jay Buhner (2004), Edgar Martinez (2007), Randy Johnson (2012) and Dan Wilson (2012). The Hall of Fame was created to honor the players, staff and other individuals that greatly contributed to the history of the Mariners franchise. To be eligible for selection, a player must have been active in a Mariners uniform for at least five seasons and be retired as a player at least two years (although may be otherwise connected to baseball). In addition to a player’s impact on the field, other considerations for possible induction include his positive impact on the Northwest community outside of baseball and a player’s positive impact in enhancing the image of the Seattle Mariners and/or Major League Baseball.