Ken Griffey Jr. on memorable home runs in his career
Hall of Fame centerfielder Ken Griffey Jr. crushed 630 home runs in his 22 year career. During that time, three home runs stood out to Griffey Jr. as he went down memory lane to discuss those moments on Off the Mound with Ryan Dempster, presented by Sloan.
Griffey Jr. was the number one overall pick in the 1987 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners. It seemed fitting for his first home run to happen at the Kingdome in Seattle in 1989.
“We get to Seattle and once I got my first home run, I was like ‘Okay, I got it now.’ Home runs are accidents that just happen. Just trying to have a good swing on the pitch and I got out of there, I looked at my home run trot and I realized how brutal it was,” Griffey Jr. said. “I didn’t have that big league trot that you get with a couple of years in. I was a clumsy pony at that time but a few home runs later, I got to it.”
One year later, he and his father, Ken Griffey Sr., did something that no other duo had accomplished in baseball. They became the first father-son-duo to hit back-to-back home runs.
“He hits a home run and he touches home plate and he says ‘That’s how you do it son’ as he’s shaking my hand. They gave me the green light on 3-0 and when I hit it out, I couldn’t wait to get back to home plate. I couldn’t wait to get back to the dugout. He made me shake everybody’s hand before he shook mine. We sat next to each other, he elbowed me and he said ‘Do you know what we just did?’ and I said ‘Yeah. Home runs,’ Griffey Jr. said. “He’s looking at history and I’m still at the moment of the game. I didn’t realize what that moment meant until I was 38 and I passed Frank Robinson on the home run chart. I was in the outfield and I could reflect ‘I just passed him.’ Now I know what my dad felt like when we went back-to-back and how hard that is.”
On Fathers Day in 2004, Griffey Jr. hit his 500th home run with his dad in the stands for that moment.
“The fact that I did it on Father’s Day was special. He was one of the biggest supporters. He would tell me to just relax, just go up there and pick one pitch, try to hit it and that was it. After that swing and after we had the hug and after the game when I saw him, he was like ‘I’m out and I’m gone. I have to go back to my life,'” Griffey Jr. said.