Griffin spent 35 years in the Mariners' organization as the head athletic trainer
While players, coaches, managers and executives have come and gone over the years and seasons — winning and mostly losing — Rick Griffin remained a constant in the Mariners organization as the team’s head athletic trainer.
But after 35 seasons in that role, the longtime fixture will take step back in his duties. On Friday, the organization announced that Griffin will transition to the role of athletic trainer emeritus for the 2018 season. In this dialed-back position, Griffin will remain a a part of the Mariners’ medical team, but will no longer work in the training room on an every day basis.
“I have spent the past 35 seasons as the head athletic trainer with the Mariners, a tremendous experience that has allowed me to create amazing relationships with players and staff members from Jim Beattie, Mark Langston and Alvin Davis to Jay Buhner and Ken Griffey Jr. to Robinson Canó, Felix Hernández and Kyle Seager,” he said in a statement. “I value those friendships more than I can say. Moving to this new role will allow me to continue to be involved with the Mariners organization, its players, staff and fans, but will not require the year around, 24-7 demands of the past three-and-a-half decades.”
The plan for this transition started near the end of the 2017 season and was not a direct result of the recent hiring of Dr. Lorena Martin, who will serve as the organization’s “director of high performance” — a job created to coordinate all aspects of the Mariners’ physical and mental training approach of players and staff.
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Griffin was the team’s second-ever head athletic trainer, starting his tenure on Feb. 3, 1983. He worked 5,543 regular season games for the Mariners and 34 postseason games.
“On behalf of the Mariners franchise, I want to thank Rick for everything he has done for the Seattle Mariners,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “He has truly touched every team and every player of the past 35 seasons, and his impact will continue to be felt for years to come. We’re thankful that he has agreed to continue as athletic trainer emeritus, giving all of us the benefit of his expertise even as he takes a step back from the day-to-day grind of the baseball season.”
Griffin picked up several awards during his tenure. In 1999, he and this staff were named the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society’s “Major League Baseball Athletic Training Staff of the Year.” In 2013, Griffin and his staff were presented with the Martin-Monahan Award as the best medical staff in MLB. Griffin was inducted into the Washington State Athletic Trainers Association (WSATA) Hall of Fame in 2016. Griffin was also a part of four American League All-Star teams (1987, 1995, 2001 and 2010) and also worked as an athletic trainer for a MLB All-Star team that toured Japan in 1996.
Prior to joining the Mariners, Griffin served as an athletic trainer at the Sports Medicine Clinic in Seattle. He spent four years (1977-81) as an athletic trainer with the Eugene Emeralds in the Northwest League.
Besides his work in baseball, he’s worked in the offseason at professional rodeos in Montana.
A native of Brigham City, Utah, Griffin earned his Bachelor of Science from Utah State University in Health Education, and followed with an M.S. in Sports Medicine from the University of Oregon. Rick has three adult daughters, Ashley, Nicole and Lauren. He and his wife, Rachel, reside in Bothell, and have three children: Gabrielle, Nainoa and Keanu.