Ken Griffey, Jr. (November 21, 1969-) and Ken Griffey, Sr. became the first father/son duo to play in the Major Leagues at the same time, the same lineup at the same time and are the first to hit home runs in the same game when playing for Seattle in September of 1990. The Seattle Mariners selected Junior with the #1 overall pick of the 1987 MLB June Amateur Draft after Griffey was named the United States High School Baseball Player of the Year. Junior grew up in the Cincinnati area as his father played for the Cincinnati Reds during the mid-1970s and was in the clubhouse as the Reds won back-to-back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976. After being drafted, Ken made his first appearance on the field in Atlanta where Ken, Sr. was playing as a backup. Hall of Fame slugger Willie Stargell, coach for the Braves, took the young hitter out past second and taught him how to play the outfield, “get his footwork down and teach him how to play some hops.” Known as Junior or “The Kid”, Griffey saved baseball in Seattle with his amazingly long, smooth and powerful home run swing and his exceptional defensive ability robbing hitters of so many potential home runs as he climbed the walls at the King Dome. Ken thrilled fans with the Mariners for 11 seasons to start his career, earning All-Star Game selections each year after his rookie campaign, led the American League four times in home runs and once each in runs scored and RBI. In all, he was a 13-time All-Star, won ten Gold Gloves, seven Silver Sluggers and was the 1997 AL Most Valuable Player as he led the AL in runs (125), RBI (147) and home runs (56).
Ken left the Northwest to return to the Cincinnati Area and play for his hometown team, but struggled to put a full season together as injuries began to take their toll on his body. Junior played 22 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Mariners (1989-1999, 2009-2010), the Cincinnati Reds (2000-2008) and the Chicago White Sox (2008). Junior’s sweet home run swing made him a perennial fan favorite at the All –Star Games where he won three Home Run Derbies and the 1992 MVP Award. During the 1998 MLB season when St. Louis Cardinals Mark McGwire and Chicago Cubs Sammy Sosa chased Roger Maris’ single season home runs record, Griffey was the third player chasing history until he slumped in August and was left behind yet still hit 56 round-trippers. Ken Griffey Jr. was one of the greatest players of his generation, finishing his 22-year career with .284 career batting average, had 2,781 hits including 524 doubles and 630 home runs, 184 stolen bases and 1,836 RBI. He also posted a .985 fielding percentage with 5,606 putouts, 154 assists, 43 double plays and 89 errors in 5,849 chances. In June of 2009, during his second stint with the Mariners to finish his career, Griffey hit the 5000th home runs in franchise history. In 1999, Griffey was named to Major League Baseball’s All-Century Team with some of the greatest players in the history of baseball. In 2016, as expected, Ken Griffey, Jr. was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame with the highest voter rate in the history on the Hall at 99.3% - 437 votes out of 440. His induction was one of the most anticipated in history as fans and the media speculated whether he would be the first player ever to be voted in unanimously. And, while the baseball world wondered who the three writers were that failed to list The Kid on their ballots, Griffey, Jr. joined Mike Piazza (also inducted in 2016) as a member of one of the most elite clubs in the world.