On this day in 1990, Ken Griffey Sr. and his son, Ken Griffey Jr., became the first father-son tandem to play together on an MLB team. Although they only played together for one month, that limited time did produce special moments. None more so than the night of September 14th, 1990, when Griffey Sr. and Jr. hit back-to-back home runs.
Ken Griffey Jr.’s career was widely covered, but what many baseball fans of a certain age may not know is, his dad was a great player as well.
Ken Griffey Sr. played on one of the greatest teams in MLB history with the Cincinnati Reds. Griffey Sr. and the “Big Red Machine” won consecutive World Series titles in 1975 and 1976. Even on a team littered with superstar players, Griffey stood out, in 1976 he came within one hit of winning the National League batting title and routinely contributed with key hits on a historic regular season and playoff run. Griffey Sr. would collect a third World Series championship in 1990 before being released by the Reds, and signed by the Seattle Mariners.
At just 19-years-old, Griffey Jr. made an almost immediate splash in the big leagues. In just his second year, Griffey Jr. would bat .300, with 22 home runs and 80 RBIs. Year-after-year Griffey Jr. combined his superior defensive ability with natural power at the plate on his way to becoming the face of the league. Over his career, Griffey Jr. would collect 13 All-Star selections, 10 Golden Gloves, and would belt 630 home runs, good for 6th all time. In 2016 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, by the highest percentage of any player in MLB history.
Well after Jr. retired, the love and admiration is still there. Earlier this year Jr. was introduced to an entirely new audience via best selling video game, MLB: The Show 17, when he was named the cover athlete for the U.S. release. This marks the first a time non-active player was selected to be on the cover in the game’s 11-year history.
The family legacy also continues to shine in unexpected places through Griffey Jr.’s son Trey Griffey. Trey was drafted by the Mariners, but he bypassed the diamond to tackle the gridiron instead. After being waived by the Colts, he signed with the Miami Dolphins earlier this summer.
When Griffey Sr. was asked about the feeling of playing with his son, he stated that this was the achievement he was most proud of. “This is the pinnacle for me, something I’m very proud of. This is No. 1. This is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”