Ken Griffey Jr. holds the Mariners franchise record with 417 home runs. When he joins the team’s Hall of Fame next summer, he will become the seventh individual inducted.
Ken Griffey Jr. will be inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame during a pre-game ceremony Saturday, Aug. 10, the club said Tuesday. Griffey, who retired abruptly June 2, 2010 when he found himself in a severe batting slump at 40, will become the seventh player to enter the club’s hall.
The Mariners selected Griffey first overall in the June, 1987 amateur draft. He reached the majors in 1989 and went on to play 22 seasons with the Mariners (1989-99), Cincinnati Reds (2000-08) and Chicago White Sox (2008). Griffey returned to Seattle in 2009 and played in 150 games in 2009-10 before retiring.
“This means a lot to me,” Griffey said via a teleconference call Tuesday afternoon. “It’s something that you dream about, especially when it comes from the organization you were drafted by. It’s a celebration of your career. It meant a lot to finish my career in Seattle and have a chance to retire there. I always said I wanted to do that.”
Griffey was a 13-time All-Star, a 10-time Gold Glove winner, the 1997 American League Most Valuable Player (unanimous choice), a seven-time Silver Slugger winner, a four-time AL home run champion, and a three-time All-Star Derby home run champion.
He hit 630 home runs, which ranks sixth all-time, including 417 with Seattle, a franchise record. Griffey still ranks near the top of every offensive category for the Mariners, including second in slugging percentage (.553), second in RBIs (1,216), third in hits (1,843), second in doubles (341), second in total bases (3,495), third in runs (1,113), third in games (1,685) and third in at-bats (6,317).
Griffey holds three significant single-season Mariners records, for home runs (56 twice), RBIs (147) and extra-base hits (93).
“Like all Mariners fans, I consider it a privilege to have watched Ken Griffey Jr. grow up before us to become one of the greatest players in baseball and a true gentleman,” said team president Chuck Armstrong. “He was a naturally gifted athlete who played the game with pure joy. We are proud to welcome Ken to the Mariners Hall of Fame and look forward to the day in January of 2016, when he gets the call from the National Baseball Hall of Fame.”
When asked about his fondest memories as a member of the Mariners, Griffey did not cite statistical achievements or specific teams. Instead, he focused on the friendships he made.
“The relationships I still have with the guys I played with is most important,” Griffey said. “We still talk and laugh and joke even through we’re a couple of thousands of miles away from each other. We played hard and had fun and learned from each other. We just wanted to play baseball. It means a lot to still be a member of the franchise.”
In 2011, the Mariners named Griffey as a Special Consultant to the franchise assisting in numerous areas of club operations including, but not limited to, Major League Baseball Operations, player development, minor league system, marketing, broadcasting and community relations. In each of the past two springs (2011 and 2012), he has spent time working with Mariners outfielders and minor league players at spring training, a role he will fill again this year.
Griffey said he hasn’t yet thought much about his induction ceremony, other than say, “It’s going to be an honor. I just have so many friends and family who live in the great Northwest.”
Neither has Griffey given any thought to the likelihood that he will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer when his Cooperstown vote comes up in 2016.
“I don’t worry about that, it’s a couple of years away,” he said. “I just keep plugging away on my role with the Mariners now.”
The members of the Hall of Fame are Alvin Davis (1997), Dave Niehaus (2000), Jay Buhner (2004), Edgar Martinez (2007), Randy Johnson (2012) and Dan Wilson (2012).
The Hall of Fame was created to honor the players, staff and other individuals that greatly contributed to the history of the franchise. To be eligible for selection, a player must have been active in a Mariners uniform for at least five seasons and be retired as a player at least two years.
In addition to a player’s impact on the field, other considerations for induction include his positive impact on the Northwest community outside of baseball and a player’s positive impact in enhancing the image of the Mariners and Major League Baseball.