Seattle Mariners: Ken Griffey Jr. Top 10 Highlights

Oct 1, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds former player Ken Griffey JR. looks on from sidelines in the second half against the Miami Hurricanes at Nippert Stadium. The Bearcats won 34-23. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds former player Ken Griffey JR. looks on from sidelines in the second half against the Miami Hurricanes at Nippert Stadium. The Bearcats won 34-23. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

As Ken Griffey Jr. prepares to be revealed as one of this year’s Hall of Fame inductees, we look at 10 of the best moments from his Seattle Mariners career.

January 6 2016 will go down as one of the most significant dates in Seattle Mariners history. This year’s Hall of Fame results will be revealed on Wednesday afternoon, and will include one Ken Griffey Jr.

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Sure, Randy Johnson is already in the Hall of Fame, and he did spend the majority of his career in the Pacific Northwest. However, he had his best years in Arizona, pitching for the Diamondbacks.

As such, Griffey will be the first player to be depicted on his Hall of Fame plaque wearing a Mariners cap insignia. When he is officially inducted, it will automatically become one of the biggest moment in franchise history.

In that respect, here are some of our top highlights from “The Kid’s” career in Seattle. Enjoy!

10) Griffey throws out McCracken at home plate

The first thing most people talk about is his swing, but Griffey was also one heck of a defender, as evidenced by 10 straight Golden Glove awards. There were numerous occasions over the years, where he wowed everyone with his arm strength.

Here’s one of our favorite moments from a 1997 game against the Rockies. Note the ridiculous laser accuracy of Griffey as he threw out Quinton McCracken, who was attempting to score on Eric Young‘s single in the top of the second.

9) Griffey makes a sensational catch while crashing into the wall

Similar to his throwing, Griffey was revered for his athleticism in centerfield. Time and time again, he wowed the crowds with his ability to seemingly chase down any ball, no matter what the circumstances were.

This particular moment against the Rangers is a favorite, as it also encapsulated Griffey’s toughness. With no regard for his own body, nothing was going to stop the 1992 MLB All-Star game MVP from making the catch.

8) Griffey’s tape-measure blast over the Hard Rock Cafe

The only thing that equaled Griffey’s sweet swing, was how powerful it was. Almost every home run looked reminiscent of a heat-seeking missile.

In fact, that would be an apt description for this homer against Toronto in the Skydome. How else can you explain his tape-measure home run, which went over the Hard Rock Cafe.

7) Griffey hits home run in first game at the Kingdome

As soon as the Mariners picked Griffey first overall in the 1987 draft, fans could hardly wait to watch him in the big leagues. Of course, he hit a line drive double in his first plate appearance in the Majors, at the beginning of the 1989 season.

However, that was nothing compared to his first game at the Kingdome a week later, when he hit the first major league home run of his career. In his first at bat. On the first pitch.

6) Griffey hits final home run in the Kingdome

Right from the word go, it just seemed like Griffey was always able to rise to the occasion. And he didn’t disappoint during the final Mariners game at the Kingdome, in June 1999.

The seven-time Silver Slugger belted a three-score blast in the top of the first, to give the Mariners’ first home a fitting send off. Into the bargain, it also turned out to be the last ever home run scored at the Kingdome.

5) Griffey belts game-tying home run after pinch hitting in the eighth

This was probably one of Griffey’s last highlights before he retired the following season. And much like most other moments involving the guy, it sent a shiver down the spine.

Griffey was enjoying a scheduled day off, but was called up to pinch hit in the eighth inning, with the Mariners trailing 3-1 against the Diamondbacks. Of course, he hit a game-tying two-run homer, setting the stage for Seattle to come back and win 4-3.

4) Griffey becomes only three-time home run derby winner

Griffey was one of those players who brought joy to everyone, regardless of which ballpark he played in – in essense, he was the anti-A-Rod. As such, the fans thoroughly enjoyed it whenever he appeared in the home run derby.

As with most things he turned his hand to, the 13-time All Star came out on top, becoming the only three-time winner in the history of the competition. No doubt there was also a sense of extra satisfaction after triumphing over Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, to clinch his third win. (On the advice of our lawyer, we won’t add any further comments.)

3) Griffey hits two home runs on postseason debut

The postseason provided further evidence that the stage was never too big for Griffey. And it doesn’t get much bigger than playing the Yankees in New York, in your postseason debut.

As usual, it didn’t matter to “Junior”, who went on to hit two home runs. Sure, the Mariners went on to lose the game, but Griffey would have the last laugh by the end of the series.

2) Griffey is named 1997 AL MVP

When Griffey is elected to the Hall of Fame, it will merely be just the latest example of him being the first Mariners player to do something. Another equally special first, was when he was named AL MVP in 1997.

It capped a campaign in which the Donora, Pennsylvania native hit a career-best 56 home runs and 147 RBIs, while batting .304. The seed for his spectacular season was sown, when he blasted two home runs in the home opener against the Yankees.

1) Griffey scores game-winning run in game 5 versus the Yankees

Regardless of any discusses over what constitutes someone’s top 10 Griffey moments, I think we can agree this comes first for 99.9 percent of Mariners fans. Certainly, Griffey’s game-winning run is the most exciting moment in franchise history to date.

Seattle had looked dead and buried, after losing the first two games of the AL divisional series against the Yankees, before coming back to tie up the series. Game five turned into a war of attrition, going all the way to the 11th inning, before Edgar Martinez‘s double set up Griffey’s historic slide.