Young Mariners awestruck by Griffey's presence in town

Young Mariners awestruck by Griffey's presence in town

SEATTLE -- When Brad Miller was a kid, he was such a big fan of Ken Griffey Jr.'s that he wore No. 24 for his Little League team, also called the Mariners in honor of Seattle's legendary center fielder. So forgive Miller -- now a shortstop for Mariners -- if he's still a little awestruck around the idol of his youth.

Griffey is back in Seattle -- for which he played in 10 All-Star Games and was named the 1997 American League Most Valuable Player -- to be inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame in a pregame ceremony prior to Saturday's game against the Brewers.

"It adds to the whirlwind [of being a rookie]," Miller said. "Getting to see your favorite player inducted into the Hall of Fame for your team is pretty sweet. We're just trying to keep up the tradition that him and all those other guys started."

Griffey spent the last two years of his career playing for the Mariners after spending over eight years with the Reds, as well as a brief stint with the White Sox. Now retired, Griffey often dispenses advice to young players in the Seattle organization.

One such player is Dustin Ackley, the second overall pick in the 2009 Draft. This year, Ackley has transitioned from second base to the outfield, starting 20 games as a center fielder, the position Griffey played while winning 10 Gold Glove Awards with Seattle.

"It's awesome, just to play the same position he did on the same team," Ackley said. "Just the whole experience of him being in this organization, being able to talk to him. He's always been the guy to talk to, whether you're young or old, good player or bad player, he's there to help."

Jacob Thorpe is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.