“I’m trying to get hits. The home runs will come and sometimes in bunches.”
Ken Griffey Jr.
Ken Griffey Jr. belted 630 home runs in his 20 plus seasons of playing Major League Baseball. Jr. was a 13 time All-Star who had back to back seasons when he hit 56 home runs (1997 & 1998) Ken Griffey Jr. finished his career with 2,781 hits and led the American League in home runs on four occasions. Jr. won 10 Gold Gloves for fielding excellence along with seven Silver Slugger awards. Ken Griffey Jr. won the American League’s Most Valuable Award in 1997. Ken Griffey Jr. will be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame this summer.
I first met Ken Griffey Jr. when he was four years old. His father, Ken Griffey Sr. was playing for the Indianapolis Indians. Jr. would run around in the stands during games with the same exuberance he would display while playing center field in the Major Leagues. I have spoken to and interviewed Ken Griffey Jr. He always has been quite cordial, although I do not know him well. I do know Ken Griffey Sr. well. He is a terrific guy, and I remember a talk we had in West Palm Beach during spring training while Sr. was playing for the Braves. The year before Jr. was the first overall pick in Baseball’s Amateur Draft. Ken Grifffey Sr. said while he knew his son was talented, he did not realize he was good enough to be the first overall pick. The following year Jr. got to the Major Leagues and never looked back. Ken Griffey Sr. was a fine player, a three time All-Star. Ken Griffey Jr. was one of the greatest players of all-time. Ken Griffey Jr. was “clean” and such a “natural”. So much so that when many of his fellow players got an edge by taking steroids, Junior still dominated offensively and defensively, and he did it the “right way”.