Ken Griffey Jr.
Picked No. 1 In Baseball Draft
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.
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
- Ken Griffey Jr. - Spent Childhood At Ballpark Watching Father
- Other Free Encyclopedias