Ten memorable Ken Griffey Jr. home-run moments: 1 For poignancy, no Griffey home run will ever match the one he hit off the Angels' Kirk...
Ten memorable Ken Griffey Jr. home-run moments:
1 For poignancy, no Griffey home run will ever match the one he hit off the Angels’ Kirk McCaskill on Sept. 14, 1990.
What made this first-inning homer so memorable is that his father, Ken Griffey Sr., signed by the Mariners at age 40, had just homered off McCaskill, a two-run shot to center. Junior, 20, followed immediately with his 36th career homer, also to center.
No father and son had ever played together, let alone hit back-to-back home runs.
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2 Griffey didn’t wait long to show that his career was going to be special. After doubling off the A’s Dave Stewart in his first major-league at-bat in Oakland, he outdid himself in his first at-bat at the Kingdome on April 10, 1989. On the very first pitch he saw as a major-leaguer in Seattle, Griffey homered to left field off Eric King of the White Sox.
3 On July 28, 1993, Griffey launched a mammoth homer off Minnesota’s Willie Banks, reaching the facade of the third deck at the Kingdome. More than just another tape-measure shot, it marked the eighth consecutive game in which Griffey had homered, tying the major-league record of Don Mattingly (1987) and Dale Long (1956).
4 On Aug. 24, 1995, Griffey hit a home run with huge ramifications in Seattle’s ultimately successful pursuit of the division-leading California Angels.
At the time, the Mariners seemed to be stalled in their comeback bid, having lost four of their previous five games to fall under .500. The team held a players-only meeting before the game with the Yankees, and were down to their last out against closer John Wetteland before rallying to tie the game.
They won it on Griffey’s two-run homer on the first pitch Wetteland threw him — the singular moment that sparked the Mariners’ furious stretch-drive rally to catch the Angels, manager Lou Piniella would say later.
5 Griffey showed some astonishing power during the 1993 Home Run Derby at Camden Yards in Baltimore, becoming the first player to ever hit a fair ball off the B&O Warehouse that sits beyond the right-field wall. No one remembers — or cares — that Juan Gonzalez actually won the competition.
6 Griffey’s long-awaited return to Seattle last season produced three sellout crowds at Safeco Field, an untold number of standing ovations, an outpouring of love and affection — and, in the final game of the series, a pair of solo home runs by Griffey. Seattle fans got just what they wanted — a 3-2 Mariners victory, and a brief, nostalgic flash of the Griffey thunder that had won them over in the 1990s.
7 One of Griffey’s first coming-out moments occurred July 14, 1992, when he hit a home run off Greg Maddux in the All-Star Game in San Diego. He also had a double and single in the game to lead the American League to a 13-6 win and earn the MVP trophy.
8 Yet another memorable home-run moment for Griffey in the All-Star Game occurred July 6, 1998, at Coors Field in Denver. Initially, Griffey said he would not participate in the Home Run Derby, which led him to be loudly booed when introduced for an award as the leading vote-getter. Griffey eventually reconsidered and wound up winning the competition.
9 Griffey fittingly hit the final homer at the Kingdome on June 27, 1999, a three-run blast off Texas’ Aaron Sele, who would join the Mariners the following season. The Mariners opened play at Safeco Field on July 15. Griffey would hit 14 homers there in half a season before being traded to the Reds.
10 Griffey hit his 500th career homer on June, 20, 2004, in St. Louis off Matt Morris of the Cardinals.
Appropriately, it occurred on Father’s Day — with Ken Griffey Sr. in attendance. It was the 2,143rd hit of Junior’s career — the precise number produced by his father in his 19-year career.