Mariners' Ken Griffey Jr. Hits Hall Of Fame Voting Out Of The Park
The Kid has made history.
Ken Griffey Jr. was elected Wednesday to the Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2016 class with 99.3 percent of the votes – the highest percentage ever.
In a call to Griffey, Jack O'Connell of the Baseball Writers Association told him he had been picked by 437 of the 440 voters.
“Now I’m a little nervous,” Griffey said.
Griffey made his Mariners debut in 1989 and made quite the impression in his very first at-bat at the Kingdome: a home run.
Griffey was a 10-time all-star for the Mariners and led them to their first-ever trip to the playoffs in 1995. He was the league MVP in 1997.
He’s the first player elected to the Hall of Fame in a Seattle Mariners uniform.
Jay Buhner was Griffey's teammate during the ’90s. He says he was fortunate to play right next to Griffey in right field.
"And basically watch him do his human highlight reel day in and day out,” Buhner said. “So to have a front row seat and be able see probably one of the greatest players to ever play -- that was pretty awesome."
Griffey was a superstar during the so-called “steroid era,” a time when many players were accused of doping. But Griffey has never been connected to steroids.
Former Seattle sports radio host Mike Gastineau says Griffey played baseball the right way.
"There's no question when these other guys were just putting up freak numbers, and then it turns out, almost all of them ended up being linked in one way, shape or another to the steroid problem," Gastineau said. "Junior got by on natural ability and natural talent, as much as any athlete I ever saw."
M’s fan Sean Saulter agrees with Gastineau.
"I'd say that his talent, his passion for the game, and his dedication to the game overcame the ones that did the shortcuts. And it shows that hard work and dedication always get you through, not shortcuts. You can't Cliff Note in baseball.”
Griffey spent 22 years in the majors, including later stints with the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago White Sox before finishing up again in Seattle. Early on, he got to play with his dad for the M’s.
Allan Steinman has been a fan since the Mariners came to town in 1977.
He says Griffey was the most special player he ever watched.
"He's kind of once in a lifetime kind of player that comes around,” Steinman said. “The kind of guy you never wanted to get up out of your seat when he was at bat. And seemed to have more fun in the field than anybody else playing the game. So he was special."