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Ken Griffey Jr.
*Ken Griffey Jr. was born on this date in 1969. Nicknamed "Junior" and "the Kid," he is a Black retired professional baseball outfielder and coach.
George Kenneth Griffey Jr. was born in Donora, Pennsylvania. His family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where his father, Ken Griffey Sr., played for the Cincinnati Reds when Ken Jr. was three years old. Ken Jr. was in the clubhouse during his father's back-to-back championships in the 1975 and 1976 World Series. His father instilled in him the pride of a team accomplishment rather than 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, 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 high school baseball seasons. Griffey also played football as a wide receiver and received scholarship offers to play college football at the University of Oklahoma and Michigan. He 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 thirteen-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 ten Gold Glove Awards in center field. He is tied for the most consecutive games with a home run (eight, with Don Mattingly and Dale Long). Griffey signed lucrative deals with Nike and Nintendo; his popularity reflected well upon MLB, and some credit him with helping restore its image after the 1994 labor dispute. Griffey is one of only 31 players in baseball history to have appeared in major league games in four different calendar decades.
Griffey joined the Mariner's front office as a special consultant after his playing career. He is in the Mariners' Hall of Fame and the Reds Hall of Fame. On January 6, 2016, Griffey was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving 99.32 percent of the vote. Griffey is one of three Baseball Hall of Fame inductees chosen first overall in an MLB draft. 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 before the Mariners' August 6, 2016, game. The jersey retirement includes the number 24 also being taken out of circulation by all the Mariner's minor league affiliates.
On July 29, 2021, Griffey was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame's Board of Directors. As of 2021, Griffey was a senior adviser to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. Griffey is the father of former football player Trey Griffey.