A Couple Items on Junior's Early Career

Over the past couple years I gathered up some Seattle Times material on Griffey’s early pro years, and this is certainly the occasion to present some of it here. A description of Junior’s first pro game in June 1987:

While the rest of his Bellingham Mariner teammates received a smattering of applause during pregame introductions last night, Griffey’s welcome was much different.

The standing-room-only crowd of 2,516 treated the Seattle Mariner No. 1 draft choice to a rousing ovation as he trotted out of the home dugout and into his much-anticipated debut.

“I wasn’t expecting all of that,” Griffey said with a smile afterward. “I was expecting maybe a few people (would cheer), but not that many. That helps knowing you have the fans behind you.”

The warm welcome proved to be one of the few highlights for the son of Atlanta Brave outfielder Ken Griffey as Bellingham fell to the Everett Giants 5-4 in the Northwest League opener for both teams.

Though he drew a walk in his first at-bat, Griffey failed to get the ball out of the infield after that – going 0 for 4 with a strikeout and three ground outs.

In each of his first four plate appearances, Bellingham had at least one runner in scoring position.

“I’m a little bit disappointed,” Griffey admitted.

“I was forcing my swing. I wish I would have gotten a hit, but those days will come.”


And a description of the Griffey-Griffey back-to-back homers vs. the Angels on September 14, 1990:


The home run was the 40-year-old Griffey’s third in his 32nd Mariner at-bat and the 151st of his 18-year career. The two-run shot came on an 0-2 pitch from Angel starter Kirk McCaskill. The ball cleared the center-field wall by more than 20 feet, 402 feet away.

His son followed with a 388-foot left-field blast, his 20th this season and 36th overall. He was given the green light on a 3-0 pitch.

“That’s history,” Mariner Manger Jim Lefebvre said. “You’ll never see that again. I mean I hope we will see it again. What an exciting moment. The job that man has done since he came here (from Cincinnati). It’s like they should be written up for a Hollywood movie.”

“I kept looking at (third-base coach Bill) Plummer for a sign, just to make sure the `take’ wasn’t on,” Junior said. “It’s something I didn’t think we’d ever do.”

After Senior’s home run he was greeted at the plate by his purposeful son. “I felt for him then,” Senior said. ” I knew he would be thinking home run. I could see it in his eyes when I crossed the plate.

“He tried to do it after I hit the other two against Oakland and in Boston. I knew he would be trying awfully hard. So I just sat quietly and hoped he relaxed and got a pitch he could hit. Then boom.”

“Now that’s something we have talked about,” Junior said. “We did it once before, in spring training. He did his off (Boston’s Roger) Clemens, and I don’t remember who I hit mine off of.”

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