We asked Seattle Times readers for their favorite Ken Griffey Jr. moments, and here are some of your responses.
moment in Oakland
I was in Oakland watching the game when Griffey got his first-ever hit — a double off the wall. I knew than that we had a special kind of player in our midst.
— Marty Burres, Salem Oregon
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A ball, an autograph
for a birthday present!
I went to a game once with a group of high-school kids. The girl right in front of me was celebrating her 13th birthday that night and had a great seat in the front row of center field. In the first inning, Griffey hit one right at us but it was caught right at the wall. For his next at bat, the girl borrowed a friend’s glove, and sure enough, Griffey hit one out of the park and right to her. She made a perfect catch!
If getting the ball wasn’t good enough, we went down to the parking lot after the game and the security guard told Griffey that the girl had caught the ball on her birthday. He let her come sit in his car and he wished her a happy birthday and signed the ball!
What a birthday!
— Greg Kaler, Lynnwood
a 7-year-old’s eyes
I am 20 years old. In 1995, I was 7 years old when Griffey scored and it opened my eyes to baseball. Holding onto the antenna with my brothers to get the picture, it is my earliest baseball memory. A love that would turn me into a baseball fanatic unlike many I know, including seeing me volunteer to be my high-school bullpen catcher. I love the sport of baseball, and I thank Ken Griffey for that.
Seeing him return to Seattle would be a dream come true for me. Things have changed, but he still helps me hold out that someone has been clean in my generation’s experiences with baseball.
— Alex, Kennewick
Junior’s first game in Seattle. Opening night. First pitch. Home run to left-center field.
Wide-eyed, I turned to my mother and said, “This guy’s gonna be good!”
Years later, I take a friend from Japan to the Kingdome. I tell him, watch Ken Griffey Jr. Junior goes 4 for 4, with two home runs and makes a spectacular catch in center field.
And 1995, the double. I still tear up every time I watch the video of Junior sliding in to home with the winning run, see the smile on Junior’s face.
— Jason Rabbitt-Tomita, Seattle
for the Griffeys
Father-and-son, back-to-back HR!
— Nick, Redmond
Start with the
I have to start with the catch in the Bronx to rob Jesse Barfield, and the look on Barfield’s face as he rounded first. That was as good as it gets. But then again, how can you beat the day he and Senior went back-to-back off of the Angels’ Kirk McCaskill? Or the day he flew around the bases to score on Edgar’s double to send the Mariners to the American League Championship Series. Lastly, I’ll add that the most underrated Griffey play in Seattle was his leaping catch to rob a home run in Tiger Stadium. He was a couple feet over that wall!
— Joe Kaiser, San Mateo, Calif.
for a greeting
At the ripe age of 18, I was the final sports intern at KSTW-TV. After working my first M’s game at the Kingdome, I accompanied the photographer to the locker room. Inside I was jumping for joy, but I kept my cool and acted the part of a professional. I spotted all the M’s greats … Buhner, Martinez, Wilson, and then there was Junior. My boyhood idol & I were in the same room. As Griffey went to leave, he walked by me, shook my hand and said “Hey kid, how ya doing?” It was great that he took five seconds to acknowledge me, and truly a moment I will never forget.
— Shawn Walli, Richland
My memories are those of a spoiled prima donna doing everything he could to sour the Seattle clubhouse. “Junior” was the idol of my 7- and 11-year-old sons when he opted out of Seattle. You name it — the kids had Griffey posters, autographed baseballs, keyrings, caps and jerseys. Now that junk just sits in my garage — something on my “to do” list when I reorganize. I hope and pray he doesn’t come back. I hate the guy!
— S Stephens, Martinez, Calif.
I love baseball
I was 9 when the Kid broke into the bigs. The main reason I started following baseball when I was 9 in 1989 was because I was a kid watching the Kid. I remember there was only like 40 games a year on TV then. I would be outside with my radio listening to every game playing ball. The only thing we had to root for was a Griffey at-bat or great play. Junior you are the reason I love baseball and I thank you for that. All the people who said you were a bad teammate or a clubhouse cancer … all I remember is a kid who had fun playing a game.
— Jason Lloyd, Seattle
of a home run
I grew up in Seattle and followed the team closely ever since that first season in 1977. By the time Griffey was with the team I was going to college and living in Bellingham. I will never forget the game when Griffey stole a home run from Jesse Barfield (I think it would have been the 200th of his career) by leaping into the center-field stands. I was watching the game at my girlfriend’s house and when he made that catch I just about lost it. Possibly the greatest part about the catch was the smile on Griffey’s face as he held the ball so high in his hand and ran off the field (it was the third out of the inning). He just looked like this kid who had so much fun on the field and nothing was going to stop him. If I remember correctly the next time he came up Barfield hit another long drive into center field, but this one was into the stands and there was no way anyone could have gotten that one. My girlfriend at the time thought I was crazy because I was so excited by the catch. We’ve now been married 15 years.
— Mike Nagle, Ludington, Mich.
young fan’s day
My husband and I used to attend maybe a half-dozen or so Mariners’ games a year, thanks to an employer who had season tickets back in the early 1990s. Our seats were about three rows off the field between third base and left field. On one of these occasions, a group of about three or four adults sat with one boy, maybe 7 or 8, who didn’t appear to be a huge baseball fan. While not explicitly ignoring the child, I watched as the adults drank beer and cheered and jeered as the game went on, while the boy sat there rather quietly. I started to notice that as the Mariners ran out to or came back in from the field, this boy would meekly wave to Junior each time he came into or out of the dugout. Late in the game I noticed Junior staring at the child waving at him as he came into the dugout. I thought to myself how great it would be if he would just wave back to him as he ran in, but he just stared at him all the way into the dugout.
As it was nearing decision time to run for the 10:30 p.m. ferry (we traveled from Kitsap County) or stay until the bitter end we decided we’d better get going. As we approached the top of the stairs, I looked back one more time as the Mariners were coming out of the dugout. Junior searched the stands again, made eye contact with the boy, and tossed him a baseball on his way out onto the field. Above and beyond all the superhuman feats Griffey accomplished as a Mariner, that was my favorite Ken Griffey Junior Mariner moment.
— Laurie Adams, Poulsbo