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Ken Griffey Jr

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Ken Griffey Jr

Born : 21 November 1969
City : Donora, Pennsylvania, United States
Rank : ( 488 )
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Ken Griffey Jr Biography

Griffey, Ken, Jr. (George Kenneth Griffey, Jr.), 1969–, American baseball player, b. Donora, Pa. The son of a veteran outfielder, he joined the Seattle Mariners of the American League in 1989, played with the National League's Cincinnati Reds beginning in 2000, joined the AL's Chicago White Sox for part of 2008, and returned to Seattle in 2009. In 1990 "Junior" and his father, Ken Griffey, Sr., 1950–, appeared in the same outfield, an event unique in major league history. The younger Griffey was probably the best all-around player of the 1990s. He led the American League in home runs in 1994 and 1997–99, hitting 56 homers in 1997, when he was named MVP, and in 1998. He also was a Gold Glove outfielder throughout the decade. He retired in 2010 with 630 home runs, having been named an All-Star 13 times.

Early life

Griffey shares his birthday (November 21) and birthplace (Donora, Pennsylvania) with Hall of Famer Stan Musial. His family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where father Ken Griffey, Sr. played for the Cincinnati Reds, when Jr. was three years old (1973). Ken was in the clubhouse during his father's back-to-back championships in the 1975 and 1976 World Series. As a young child, Ken Sr. would instill in his son the pride of a team accomplishment rather than the individual performance. "My dad would have bopped me on the head when I was a kid if I came home bragging about what I did on the field. He only wanted to know what the team did."  He attended Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, which is also the same high school of former Cincinnati Reds shortstop and Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, where he was the U.S high school baseball player of the year in 1987. He was also a running back on the football team and was pursued by many top Division I college football programs around the country.

Professional career

In 1987, Griffey was selected with the first overall pick of that year's amateur draft by the Seattle Mariners. In his eleven seasons with Seattle (1989–1999) Griffey established himself as one of the most prolific and exciting players of the era, racking up 1,752 hits, 398 home runs, 1,152 RBIs, and 167 stolen bases. He led the American League in home runs for four seasons (1994, 1997, 1998, and 1999), was voted the A.L. MVP in 1997, and maintained a .297 batting average. In his first major league at-bat, he doubled.

2005–2006 seasons

Starting May 1, the 2005 season saw the resurgence of a healthy Griffey. His 35 home runs were his highest since his first year with the Reds as Griffey slowly moved up the career home run list. He ended the season tied with Mickey Mantle, after having passed Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Willie McCovey, Ernie Banks, Eddie Mathews, Mel Ott, and Eddie Murray.

Post-playing career

On February 17, 2011, Griffey was hired by the Mariners as a special consultant. In his return to Seattle, his role is still being defined, but it is confirmed he'll be involved with the Mariners at spring training and the regular season, along with visiting most of the Mariners minor-league affiliates.

On January 22, 2013, the Mariners announced Griffey would be the seventh person inducted into the team's Hall of Fame. Griffey joins Alvin Davis (1997), Dave Niehaus (2000), Jay Buhner (2004), Edgar Martinez (2007), Randy Johnson (2012) and Dan Wilson (2012). He was formally inducted on August 10, 2013.

A campaign had been formed to rename a section of First Avenue South, which runs adjacent to Safeco Field, to Ken Griffey Jr. Drive just after his announcement to retire from baseball. Later, the campaign changed direction after the death of Mariners announcer Dave Niehaus in November 2010 to Dave Niehaus Way South.

ESPN and Grantland writer Bill Simmons pointed out the prevalent belief that Griffey was the best home run hitter of the 1990s

Personal

In April 2007, Griffey was diagnosed with pleurisy, an inflammation of the lining of the cavity surrounding the lungs which can cause painful respiration and other symptoms.

Griffey and his wife Melissa have three children: Ken Griffey III (Trey), daughter Taryn Kennedy, and adopted son Tevin Kendall. The Griffey family resides in Winter Garden, Florida, where Ken Griffey, Sr. is also a resident.

Griffey was named an American Public Diplomacy Envoy by then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on November 18, 2008.

Griffey has a private pilot certificate and owns a Cirrus SR22.

Suicide attempt

In January 1988, Griffey, at the age of 18, attempted to commit suicide by swallowing 277 aspirin pills but wound up in intensive care in Providence Hospital in Mount Airy, Ohio. Griffey, Jr. cited arguments with his father, Ken Griffey, Sr., depression, and anger as reasons for his attempted suicide. On his failed attempt, Griffey, Jr. stated, "It seemed like everyone was yelling at me at baseball, then I came home and everyone was yelling at me there...I got depressed. I got angry. I didn't want to live." He stated that he had also previously contemplated taking his own life, but he had not acted on it until this incident.

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