The Mariners unveiled a statue of Ken Griffey Jr. at a small ceremony in front of Safeco Field on Thursday afternoon.
The eyes of the Ken Griffey Jr. statue are forever looking up, forever tracking another home run. When Griffey first saw the statue of his famous follow through, unveiled Thursday in front of Safeco Field’s main entrance, Griffey thought, “Looked like me. Good extension. Eyesight was in the right spot. Looking up — not high, but I’m looking at probably 450-ish.”
As in a 450-foot home run.
Why just 450 feet?
“You don’t want to go any further than that,” Griffey explained. “Go any further than that, and they expect it; 450 is right in the threshold.”
The Griffey statue was created by the same Chicago-based sculptor, Lou Cella, who also produced the Dave Niehaus statue in center field. (At the Griffey unveiling, Cella wore a tie that once belonged to Niehaus, a gift from Niehaus’ wife Marilyn.)
It was an easy choice to select Griffey’s pose — what else could it have been but Griffey’s legendarily sweet swing?
“Don’t want to have your pose of you running into a wall,” Griffey joked.
“I just try to sit back and try not to do anything because I don’t want to mess it up,” he said.
Griffey was shocked when Mariners president Kevin Mather brought up the idea of a statue to be displayed forever out in front of the stadium.
“A little frightening,” Griffey said. “I may get used to it. But when he told me, I took a step back like, ‘Huh?’ He said, ‘I’d like to talk to you about something.’ I thought he was just going to talk about baseball stuff. He was like, ‘What do you think about a statue?’ And you want to say, ‘Of who?’ And then he looked at me and was like, ‘You, dummy.’ ”
At the unveiling Thursday were former Griffey teammates Jay Buhner, Edgar Martinez and Dan Wilson, as well as Griffey’s wife Melissa and son, Trey.
“This is unbelievable,” Griffey said. “That’s probably the word I’d use. Incredible, unbelievable.”