Ken Griffey, Jr. Memories – Brian’s Blog [VIDEO]
Seeing Ken Griffey, Jr. inducted into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame over the weekend brought back a lot of memories for this baseball fan. My favorite memory is how Junior made my wife smile years ago at spring training in Arizona.
My wife Sandy and I used to attend Mariners spring training in Arizona every year, until our family became too large and the older kids got too far along in school to take them out for a week. When we were childless, it was a great vacation.
One year, we were watching the team practice before a road game against the Chicago Cubs. Most of the team boarded a bus to travel to the game, but for some reason Ken Griffey, Jr. and Edgar Martinez stayed behind. Most of the fans left the bleachers adjacent to the practice field, but we lingered a bit hoping for an autograph. Instead, we were treated to an impromptu home run hitting contest between two of the greatest hitters in baseball history.
As Edgar and Junior took their turns in the batting cage, there was a lot of good natured banter between the two, as baseballs flew over the outfield fence. As the contest went on, Junior struck up a conversation with some teenage girls that were watching. They asked him about his favorite hip hop artist, if he was going to play golf that day, and where he was going out to eat that night. Junior was having a great time with the kids, and when he and Martinez were through hitting, started off the field. One of the girls asked him to throw some of the practice balls over the fence to them. Griffey took a step toward the clubhouse, hesitated, and started to gather up some of those well worn baseballs. He walked up to the chain-link fence, said "15 and younger," and started to toss the balls over to the kids. He had one left, my wife said "But I'm 15 in my heart!" He smiled, pointed to her and flipped that ball over.
It wasn't signed, but it is still among my wife Sandy's prized possessions. She said that the smile made it special.
If you missed Ken Griffey, Jr.'s Induction into the Mariners Hall of Fame, here are some highlights from the induction ceremony.
See more at the Seattle Mariners website.