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Ken Griffey Jr. - Picked No. 1 In Baseball Draft

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Because of his promising future, Griffey was the first player picked in the June 2, 1987, draft. He received a $160,000 signing bonus from the Seattle Mariners, a 1977 expansion team that had yet to have a winning season. Two days after the draft, Griffey graduated from high school. Four days later, on June 8, he took batting practice with the Mariners in Seattle. By June 11, he was in Bellingham, Washington, on the roster for one of the Mariners' farm teams, and on June 16, he played his first minor league game.

For Griffey, the transition of going straight from high school to work proved tough. At seventeen, he was on his own for the first time, traveling the country in an aging bus. Nonetheless, Griffey made his mark in the Northwest League. By the end of the fifty-four-game season, he'd batted .313. He led his team with homers (14), Runs Batted In (RBIs) (40), and steals (13). Baseball America magazine named him the league's top major league prospect.

Chronology

1969 Born November 21 in Donora, Pennsylvania
1979 Begins playing Little League baseball
1983 Enters Cincinnati's Moeller High School
1987 Drafted on June 2 as first-round, first pick by Seattle Mariners
1987 Plays in the minors in the Northwest League on a team based in Bellingham, Washington
1988 Swallows aspirin overdose in apparent suicide attempt in January
1988 Plays in the California League for the San Bernardino Spirit
1989 Attends Mariners training camp; plays so well he earns position on roster
1989 Makes major league debut on April 3
1990 Makes baseball history in August when his father, Ken Griffey, Sr., joins the Mariners and the Griffeys become the first father-son teammates in baseball history
1994 Becomes father on January 19 when Trey Kenneth Griffey is born
1995 Becomes father again on October 21 as Taryn Kennedy Griffey is born
1995 Fractures wrist on May 26; misses 73 games
2000 Traded from Seattle Mariners to Cincinnati Reds on February 10
2000 Plagued with sore knee and partially torn hamstring throughout season
2001 Partially tears hamstring during spring training on March 26

Awards and Accomplishments

1987 Named best major-league prospect in the Northwest League by Baseball America magazine
1988 Named best major-league prospect in the California League by Baseball America magazine
1990-99 Earned American League Gold Glove Award
1990-2000 Named to the All-Star Team
1991, 1993-94, 1996-99, Earned Silver Slugger Award
1992 Named All-Star Game MVP
1993 Became fifth player in history to hit 100 home runs before 24th birthday
1993 Set American League outfielder record for most consecutive chances (573) without an error
1993 Tied major league record for hitting homers in eight consecutive games
1993 Led league in total bases (359) and extra base hits (86)
1994 Led American League in home runs (40)
1994 Won Make-A-Wish Foundation's Celebrity Wish-Granter of the Year Award
1996 Smacked three homers in one game
1997 Set major league record for most home runs in April with 13
1997 Led American League in runs scored (125), home runs (56), and runs batted in (147); led entire major league in runs batted in (147)
1997 Named American League Most Valuable Player
1997 Named Sporting News Player of the Year
1998 Smacked 300th career home run
1998 Led American League in home runs (56)
1999 Led league in home runs (48)
2000 Became youngest player (30 years, 141 days) to hit 400 homers
2001 Became youngest player (31 years, 261 days) to hit 450th homer

Griffey had had a whirlwind year of change, and living in Washington he had experienced racial slurs. He struggled to come to terms with all the changes and pressures he had endured and in January 1988, Griffey swallowed more than 250 aspirin. He didn't talk about the suicide attempt until 1992, when he recounted the event to a reporter in hopes of discouraging others from doing the same.

Ken Griffey Jr. - Chronology [next] [back] Ken Griffey Jr. - Spent Childhood At Ballpark Watching Father

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