SEATTLE — Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. is investing in the Seattle Mariners in a way he never has before.
He’ll be part of the ownership going forward.
“It was just a conversation and it just kept snowballing, and then finally I was able to do what I need to do,” Griffey said. “So it wasn’t like I woke up and said, ‘You know what, I think I want to do this now.’ Basic conversation. What’s next and I was able to pull the trigger this year. I had to wait my turn like everybody else.”
Mariners chairman John Stanton said Griffey purchased shares from another minority owner who still retains a stake in the club.
While Griffey had to wait, the idea of being part of an ownership group stuck with him once his playing career ended in 2010. Griffey and his family became part of the Seattle Sounders ownership group a year ago and he said he had conversations with friends like Michael Jordan and Derek Jeter about further investment.
“I’ve known Michael for 30 years and you look at certain things that he’s created for everybody else, it’s almost like you look and say there’s the blueprint,” Griffey said. “You may not be able to match that, but you can look at it and have an idea of what he’s done over the years and how he’s grown an empire.”
Griffey was the No. 1 overall pick in the amateur draft by the Mariners in 1987. Less than two years later, he made his major league debut and quickly grew into one of the best players of his generation with that familiar “S” on his hat — whether it was turned forward or backward.
Griffey, 51, spent his first 11 seasons with the Mariners, helping them to a pair of American League West titles, and was the 1997 AL MVP. He engineered a trade to Cincinnati following the 1999 season but made his way back to Seattle for the conclusion of his career in 2009 and part of the 2010 season before retiring at age 40.
The return to Seattle rekindled his relationship with the franchise. He’s become an ambassador for the team in various settings, with an official title of special consultant to the franchise. He was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 2013 and into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016.
Griffey was also named a senior adviser to commissioner Rob Manfred earlier this year.
“The strength of any partnership is based on the breadth of perspectives of the partners,” Stanton said. “All of our partners are passionate fans. But Ken brings a unique perspective to this partnership because he’s played the game at a Hall of Fame level, and he’s remained involved in the game.”
Griffey said he’s hoping to bring the player perspective into some of the conversations that may take place among the owners.
“It just gives a different viewpoint that maybe they haven’t thought of,” Griffey said. “But you do have some smart people in the room and you got some people who care.”
Griffey Jr. joins Mariners ownership group
SEATTLE — Ken Griffey Jr.’s imprint on the Mariners’ franchise has extended well beyond his time as one of his generation’s greatest players. He’ll now have the chance to make as big an impact as ever after the team announced Monday that the Hall of Famer has joined its partnership group.
Griffey, who has been a special consultant to the franchise since 2011, is the first Mariners player to join as a partner after purchasing ownership shares in the team, club chairman and managing general partner John Stanton announced.
“We’re going to win,” Griffey said during a press conference at T-Mobile Park. “I don’t like losing. The guys who played with me and the guys I played against [know] I’m a very bad loser. And I take this responsibility to the highest level. I think being a 17-year-old kid getting drafted, I consider this like the guy who started in the mailroom and now has worked his way up. This is an opportunity, like I said, that I don’t take lightly.”
Griffey absorbed what Stanton described as a portion of one of the 17 current partners’ interests as part of a process that began in June. That partner, who was undisclosed, did not completely sell off his share and remains with the Mariners. Stanton said that Griffey is not obtaining the forfeited ownership shares of Kevin Mather, who resigned as president and CEO in February.
The Mariners did not unveil how large Griffey’s ownership stake is. Stanton described the matter is a “routine process” that began as part of the partial buyout of Nintendo in 2016, when Stanton took on his current role. Every other year, there is a window for partners to sell any amount of their interest in the team or buy more. Griffey joined the group in September, but he preferred not to make the announcement then given Seattle’s late-season playoff push, which came up short — extending the team’s playoff drought to 20 years.
Griffey is the 18th representative of the partnership group, which is comprised of a combination of individuals and couples who count as one. As is custom for any ownership addition, Griffey needed to receive a unanimous vote of approval from the rest of the group.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with Ken for the last couple of years on the MLB competition committee,” Stanton said. “And I know from that, Ken is a fan, but I also understand his incisive mind. He sees things that other people don’t see, and he has a perspective on the game that I think is unique, even among former players.”
Griffey, 51, is the first new partner since Stanton joined the group in 2000, and he’s just the second addition in the past 30 years. Stanton said that his first conversations with the 13-time All-Star about joining were in March ’19, when the club opened its regular season in Japan.
Most unique about Griffey’s addition is that he’ll bring a player’s lens, quite literally, to the table. That could be monumental for numerous reasons, including further bridging the clubhouse’s relationship with the front office, how to approach free agency and more.
“Just a player’s aspect, what a player thinks,” Griffey said. “What a player thinks, going through the free-agent thing, trades. Just be able to give a player’s view. ‘Would this guy fit in? What he does.’ Those type of things. … I think the [ownership group] would come down and talk to us more so back [when I was playing], but you don’t have that player to be able to say, ‘Hey, look at it this way.’ It just gives a different viewpoint that maybe they haven’t thought of. But you do have some smart people in the room. And you’ve got some people who care.”
Griffey also brings a perspective as a former member of the Major League Baseball Players Association ahead of the looming expiration of the collective bargaining agreement with MLB on Dec. 1.
“Nobody wants a work stoppage,” Griffey said. “Neither party wants a work stoppage. So I think over the next couple months, they’re going to work hard trying to resolve this and not have it.”
Griffey, who also has ownership stake with MLS’ Seattle Sounders, still resides in Orlando, Fla., and plans to commute to the Seattle area a little more regularly. He never thought he’d be in the position to buy into a professional sports franchise, yet here he is — The Kid from Donora, Pa., who more than anything wants to replicate the success his teams of yesteryear with the on-field product of today.
“The state of Washington, the people in Seattle, they want it here,” Griffey said. “They want 45,000 people here every night, and I know how that feels. I know what the fans want to be a part of. That’s the thing. We just haven’t had it in a few years. Hopefully we can do it next year and just keep snowballing.”
Ken Griffey Jr.
|Ken Griffey Jr.|
|Born: November 21, 1969
|April 3, 1989, for the Seattle Mariners|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 31, 2010, for the Seattle Mariners|
|Runs batted in||1,836|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Vote||99.3% (first ballot)|
George Kenneth Griffey Jr. (born November 21, 1969), nicknamed “Junior” and “the Kid”, is an American former professional baseball outfielder who played 22 years in Major League Baseball (MLB). He spent most of his career with the Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds, along with a short stint with the Chicago White Sox. A member of the Baseball Hall of Fame and a 13-time All-Star, Griffey is one of the most prolific home run hitters in baseball history; his 630 home runs rank as the seventh-most in MLB history. Griffey was also an exceptional defender and won 10 Gold Glove Awards in center field. He is tied for the record of most consecutive games with a home run (eight, with Don Mattingly and Dale Long).
Griffey signed lucrative deals with companies of international prominence like Nike and Nintendo; his popularity reflected well upon MLB and is credited by some with helping restore its image after the 1994 labor dispute. Griffey is one of only 29 players in baseball history to date to have appeared in major league games in four different calendar decades.
Following his playing career, Griffey joined the Mariners’ front office as a special consultant. He was inducted into both the Mariners’ Hall of Fame and the Reds Hall of Fame. In 2016, Griffey was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving 99.32% of the vote, breaking pitcher Tom Seaver‘s record of 98.84%, a record that stood for twenty four years.
Griffey was born in Donora, Pennsylvania, on November 21, 1969. His family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where his father, Ken Griffey Sr., played for the Cincinnati Reds, when Ken Jr. was six years old. Ken Jr. 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 (the same high school as his future teammate Barry Larkin), where he was the U.S high school baseball player of the year in 1987. Griffey hit .478 with 17 home runs in his two seasons of high school baseball.
On February 17, 2011, Griffey was hired by the Mariners as a special consultant. He is involved with the Mariners at spring training and the regular season, along with visiting most of the Mariners minor-league affiliates.
|Ken Griffey Jr.’s number 24 was retired by the Seattle Mariners in 2016.|
On January 22, 2013, the Mariners announced Griffey would be the seventh person inducted into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame. Griffey joined Alvin Davis (1997), Dave Niehaus (2000), Jay Buhner (2004), Edgar Martínez (2007), Randy Johnson (2012) and Dan Wilson (2012). He was formally inducted on August 10, 2013. Jamie Moyer was selected in 2015.
On Sunday, August 10, 2014, Griffey Jr. was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame. Griffey Jr. returned to Cincinnati for the weekend activities and choked up during his speech when he mentioned wearing the same uniform as his dad. Second baseman Ron Oester, outfielder Dave Parker, and first baseman Jake Beckley joined Junior in the Class of 2014.
In 2018, The Seattle Times named Griffey as the most important athlete in Seattle sports history.
Baseball Hall of Fame election
On January 6, 2016, Griffey was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving 99.32 percent of the vote, breaking the record previously held by Tom Seaver‘s 98.84 percent in 1992. A flag bearing Griffey’s number 24 was flown from the Space Needle following the announcement. Griffey is one of three Baseball Hall of Fame inductees who have been chosen first overall in an MLB draft. The other two are Chipper Jones, who was inducted in 2018, and Harold Baines, who was inducted by the Veterans Committee in 2019.
To coincide with his Hall of Fame election, the Mariners announced on January 8, 2016, that they would retire his jersey number 24. The retirement took effect with the start of the 2016 MLB season, with the formal ceremony taking place prior to the Mariners’ August 6, 2016 game. The jersey retirement includes the number 24 also being taken out of circulation of all of the Mariners minor league affiliates.
The Mariners also honored Griffey in a unique fashion in the 2016 MLB draft, selecting his son Trey in the 24th round (matching his jersey number), even though Trey, at the time a wide receiver at the University of Arizona, had not played baseball since his preteen years.
On July 29, 2021, Griffey was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors.
As of 2021, Griffey is also working as a senior adviser to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.
In 2008, Griffey released a series of charity wines to support The Ken Griffey Jr. Family Foundation, a fund that supports several causes, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and several children’s hospitals across the United States. He is also an honorary co-chairman of the AOPA Foundation‘s Hat in the Ring Society, a charitable organization that promotes aviation safety and education.
|2016 BBWAA (99.3%)|
|Selected to HOF in 2016 by BBWAA|
|1997 AL (1, 100%)|
|3.20 Career Shares (29th)|
|1996 AL 9.7 (1st)|
|Career 83.8 (57th)|
|1993 AL 8.8 (1st)|
|1996 AL 9.7 (1st)|
|1997 AL 9.1 (1st)|
|Career 83.8 (36th)|
|1993 AL 8.2 (1st)|
|1997 AL 7.6 (1st)|
|Career 84.6 (28th)|
|1996 AL 3.4 (1st)|
|1997 AL .646 (1st)|
|Career .538 (38th)|
|Career .907 (62nd)|
|Career 2,671 (35th)|
|Career 11,304 (32nd)|
|1997 AL 125 (1st)|
|Career 1,662 (34th)|
|Career 2,781 (53rd)|
|1993 AL 359 (1st)|
|1997 AL 393 (1st)|
|Career 5,271 (15th)|
|Career 524 (48th)|
|1990 AL 7 (8th)|
|1997 AL 147 (1st)|
|Career 1,836 (16th)|
|Career 1,312 (45th)|
|Career 136 (114th)|
|Career 1,994 (23rd)|
|Career 511 (45th)|
|Career 47.6 (53rd)|
|1993 AL 86 (1st)|
|1997 AL 93 (1st)|
|Career 1,192 (8th)|
|Career 4,174 (36th)|
|Career .663 (174th)|
|Career 102 (29th)|
|1997 AL 23 (1st)|
|1999 AL 17 (1st)|
|Career 246 (8th)|
|1996 AL 94.12 (1st)|
|1999 AL 32.0 (1st)|
|Career 284.8 (33rd)|
|1997 AL 10.9 (1st)|
|1998 AL 11.3 (1st)|
|Career 15.6 (27th)|
|Career 544.96 (47th)|
|Career 46.6 (53rd)|
|Career 54.4 (34th)|
|Career 21.0 (233rd)|
|Career 50.6 (51st)|
|1996 AL 32 (1st)|
|1998 AL 158 (1st)|
|1999 AL 158 (1st)|
|Career 2,145 (6th)|
|1998 AL 412 (1st)|
|Career 5,147 (7th)|
|1991 AL 15 (1st)|
|1997 AL 9 (1st)|
|Career 141 (14th)|
|1989 AL 10 (1st)|
|1997 AL 6 (1st)|
|Career 76 (33rd)|
|1989 AL 6 (1st)|
|1992 AL 4 (1st)|
|1994 AL 3 (1st)|
|1999 AL 5 (1st)|
|Career 41 (10th)|
|2007 NL 133 (4th)|
|2007 NL 291 (3rd)|
|2007 NL 2 (3rd)|
|1998 AL 409 (1st)|
|Career 5,606 (9th)|
|1989 AL 10 (1st)|
|1989 AL 6 (1st)|
|Career 43 (53rd)|
|1995 AL 14 (1st)|
|1996 AL 32 (1st)|
|Career 2.60 (93rd)|
|1992 AL .997 (1st)|
|2007 NL 2.29 (5th)|
|2007 NL 2.23 (3rd)|
|1996 AL 32 (1st)|
|Career 2.55 (83rd)|
|1996 AL 2.81 (1st)|
|1992 AL .997 (2nd)|
Hall of Fame Statistics
|Batting – 26 (88), Average HOFer ≈ 27|
|Batting – 162 (82), Average HOFer ≈ 144|
|Hall of Fame Monitor|
|Batting – 235 (29), Likely HOFer ≈ 100|
|Hall of Fame Standards|
|Batting – 61 (29), Average HOFer ≈ 50|
| Center Field (6th):
83.8 career WAR | 54.0 7yr-peak WAR | 68.9 JAWS | 5.1 WAR/162
Average HOF CF (out of 19):
71.9 career WAR | 44.8 7yr-peak WAR | 58.3 JAWS | 5.4 WAR/162
Since retirement, Griffey has worked as a special consultant with the Mariners and, more recently, as a senior advisor to commissioner Rob Manfred, focusing on youth baseball development and diversity at the amateur levels of the game.
“As I said in my Hall of Fame speech, I’m very proud to be a Seattle Mariner,” the now-51-year-old Griffey said in a statement within today’s press release. “I’m excited for this incredible opportunity to join John and the rest of the Mariners Partnership Group. This is a dream come true because of the relationship I’ve always had with the team, its fans, and the city of Seattle. I view this as another way to continue to give back to an organization and community that has always supported me, and my family. I’m looking forward to continuing to contribute to this organization’s success in any way possible.”