The Mariners announced Monday that club icon Ken Griffey Jr. has purchased shares in the franchise and joined the Mariners Partnership Group.
“On behalf of all of the partners, I want to welcome Ken,” said Mariners chairman and managing partner John Stanton. “Ken has been an icon of our franchise, on and off the field, for over three decades and we are thrilled that he is joining us as a partner. His knowledge of the game, love of the Mariner fans, his experiences as a player, his passion for community service and his desire to help grow our sport will be a welcome, and invaluable, additional voice.”
Drafted by the Mariners with the No. 1 overall pick back in 1987, Griffey Jr. made his Major League debut as a 19-year-old in 1989, finishing third in AL Rookie of the Year voting and taking his first steps of an iconic run with the franchise. Over the next 11 seasons, “The Kid” would be named to 11 All-Star teams, win 10 Gold Gloves, win seven Silver Sluggers and finish among the Top 5 in AL MVP voting on five occasions — including a first-place finish in the team’s 1997 season. During two of those seasons, 1990-91, he had the rare opportunity to team with his father, Ken Griffey Sr., even clubbing back-to-back home runs during the 1990 season.
Griffey was traded to the Reds in a deal that brought Mike Cameron to Seattle back in 2000, but he returned to the M’s to close out his career, playing his final 150 big leagues games back in a Mariners jersey from 2009-10. Griffey put the finishing touches on a Cooperstown career when he swatted a pinch-hit, walk-off single on May 20, 2010 — the last of his 2781 knocks at the MLB level. He announced his retirement just a few days later. In parts of 22 big league seasons, he batted .284/.370/.538 with 630 home runs — still the seventh-most in MLB history.
Griffey was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016, appearing on 437 of the 440 ballots and narrowly missing the honor of being the first unanimously selected Hall of Famer. The Mariners retired his No. 24 later that summer. 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.”