Ranking Ken Griffey Jr.'s 10 Greatest Moments with the Seattle Mariners
Though he won't be Hall of Fame eligible until 2015, Ken Griffey Jr. will be joining one collection of greats this upcoming season when he is inducted into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame (h/t Seattle Times).
The ceremony will take place on August 10, before the team's game against the Milwaukee Brewers. Griffey joins Alvin Davis, Jay Buhner, Edgar Martinez, Randy Johnson and Dan Wilson as well as announcer Dave Niehaus in receiving the honor.
It was the Mariners who drafted Griffey first overall in the 1987 draft, and he debuted just two years later as a 19-year-old phenom.
All told, Griffey spent 13 of his 22 big league seasons with the Mariners. He finished his storied career with a .284/.370/.538 slash line to go along with 630 home runs and 1,836 RBI.
Let's take a look back at the greatest moments from Griffey's time in Seattle, as we rank his ten greatest moments while playing for the Mariners.
10. Hits Warehouse at Camden Yards During 1993 Home Run Derby
Only one person the 21-year history of Camden Yards in Baltimore has hit the warehouse building across from the stadium in right field. That person was Griffey, during the 1993 Home Run Derby.
Griffey went on to lose the Derby to Rangers star Juan Gonzalez, but his blast will forever be a part of Camden Yards history.
9. Appeared in an Episode of "The Simpsons"
On February 20, 1992, Griffey voiced himself in an episode of The Simpsons entitled "Homer at the Bat" as he was joined by fellow stars Steve Sax, Rogers Clemens, Wade Boggs, Ozzie Smith, Jose Canseco, Don Mattingly, Darryl Strawberry and Mike Scioscia.
In the episode, Mr. Burns hires the team of MLB players to work at his plant in an effort to stack his company softball team. However, something goes wrong with each player aside from Strawberry that keeps them from playing. Griffey takes too much nerve tonic, resulting in gigantism.
The episode is widely considered among the show's best of all-time, and it marked the first time it received better ratings than The Cosby Show in that time slot.
8. Named to MLB All-Century Team
Back in 1999, Major League Baseball assembled a ballot of the 100 greatest players of all-time and set about naming the MLB All-Century Team.
The nominees were announced at the All-Star Game that season and ballots were cast the remainder of the season, leading up to the naming of the team prior to Game 2 of the World Series that season.
In total, 10 outfielders were named to the team and with 645,389 votes Griffey came in eighth in voting at the position.
He placed behind Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Ty Cobb and just ahead of Pete Rose and Stan Musial.
7. Return to Seattle
After spending the first 11 seasons of his career with the Mariners, Griffey was traded to his hometown Cincinnati Reds prior to the 2000 season for a package of players built around Mike Cameron.
Following the trade, Griffey inked a nine-year, $112.5 million contract with the Reds that would keep him in Cincinnati through 2008.
At the deadline in 2008, Griffey was hitting just .245 BA, 15 HR, 53 RBI and the Reds shipped the free-agent-to-be to the White Sox for a pair of prospects.
That offseason, he signed a one-year, $2 million contract at the age of 39 to rejoin the Mariners to close out his career.
He hit just .214 with 19 HR and 57 RBI over 387 at-bats in 2009, and put up similar numbers to start off the 2010 season before finally hanging it up on June 2.
It wasn't quite the glamorous homecoming that some in Seattle hoped it would be, but it was still nice to see Griffey wear a Mariners uniform to close out his career.
6. Homers in Eight-Straight Games
Always one to get into grooves at one point or another in the season, Griffey did just that in July of 1993, when he homered in eight straight games to tie a major league record.
Yankees great Don Mattingly (1993) and former Pirates first baseman Dale Long (1956) are the only other players to homer in eight consecutive games.
5. 1997 AL MVP
A total of seven times during his career Griffey finished in the top ten in MVP voting, but only once did he capture top honors as he was named AL MVP in 1997.
At the age of 27, Griffey hit .304/.382/.646 with an AL-high 56 home runs and 147 RBI, both of which also represented career-bests for the slugger.
The Mariners finished the season 90-72 that season to win the AL West, though they fell to the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 in the ALDS.
4. Walk-off Home Run Sparks Mariners Late-Season Push in 1995
A broken wrist on May 26 landed Griffey on the disabled list for nearly three months, and when he returned on August 15 the Mariners were 51-49 a full 11.5 games out of first place.
The deficit stood at 11.5 games August 24, when the Mariners squared off against the Yankees. Trailing 7-6 entering the bottom of the ninth, the Mariners had their work cut out for them squaring off against All-Star closer John Wetteland.
After recording two quick outs, Wetteland walked Vince Coleman who promptly stole second and third base. An RBI-single by Joey Cora tied the game before Griffey launched a walk-off, two-run home run to give the Mariners the win.
More importantly, the win seemingly sparked the Mariners team for the stretch run, as they went 23-11 the rest of the way and eventually overtook the Angels for the AL West title in Game 163.
3. "The Catch" Robs Jesse Barfield of 200th Career Home Run
Griffey made a number of tremendous catches throughout his career, but none was more memorable than his robbing of Yankees slugger Jesse Barfield on April 26, 1990.
The home run would have been the 200th of Barfield's career, and the catch ranked as the first in a series of Yankee-killing plays Griffey would turn in throughout his career.
As impressive as the catch was, the sheer joy on the face of Griffey as he held the ball up and sprinted in from the outfield was just as memorable as the catch itself.
2. Hits Back-to-Back Home Runs with His Dad
When 40-year-old Ken Griffey Sr. was released by the Reds on August 24, the Mariners jumped at the chance to allow him to play with his son and signed him for the remainder of the season.
In his debut with the team on August 31, father and son hit back-to-back singles in the first game ever where a father and son played as teammates.
They would top that less than a month later though, as the pair launched back-to-back home runs off of Angels' starter Kirk McCaskill in the top of the first inning on September 14.
It ranks as one of the cooler moments in baseball history, as 40-year-old father and 20-year-old son achieved something we may never see again.
1. Races Home for the Winning Run in 1995 ALDS, Game 5
After an impressive late season comeback and a win in Game 163 to claim the AL West title over the Angels, the Mariners squared off against the Yankees in the ALDS.
However, they quickly dropped the first two games of the series and had their backs against the wall. The Mariners managed to take Game 3 and 4 though to set up a decisive Game 5.
The Yankees held a 4-2 lead though six innings, but the Mariners struck for two runs in the bottom of the eighth to tie things up with a Griffey home run and a bases-loaded walk from Doug Strange.
With that, the Mariners turned things over to Johnson entering the ninth, and the game went into extra innings from there. The Yankees took the upper hand when they struck for a run in the top of the 11th on an RBI single from Randy Velarde, but the Mariners had an answer.
Joey Cora and Griffey hit back-to-back singles to open the bottom of the frame, before Martinez hit what is now known simply as "The Double," with Griffey racing around from first to score the deciding run and send the Mariners to the ALCS where they fell to the Indians 4-2.
The win is largely credited with saving baseball in Seattle, and while the play has gone down in history as "The Double" it was Griffey racing around the bases and sliding into home that is the lasting image from that win.