Ken Griffey Jr.
Became Home Run Champ
Griffey continued to wow fans and in 1992 made his third All-Star appearance. He belted three hits, including a homer off Greg Maddux, to win the game's MVP award. In 1993, Griffey proved himself a productive hitter. That season, he clobbered forty-five home runs, batted .309, drove in 109 runs, and led the league with 359 total bases. In addition, his fielding was superb. He set an American League outfielder record for handling 573 consecutive chances without an error. He also hit eight home runs in eight consecutive games, tying a major-league record set by Pittsburgh Pirate Dale Long in 1956 and New York Yankee Don Mattingly in 1987.
Griffey's streak continued into 1994. On May 20, he became the third-youngest player to reach 150 career homers. He'd smacked thirty-two homers through June to break Babe Ruth's mark of most homers (30) through June. As Griffey's streak continued, he seemed on pace to break Roger Maris's single-season home run record of 61. For the fifth-straight year, Griffey was voted to the All-Star team, this time receiving a phenomenal 6,079,688 votes, surpassing the old record of most votes received by Rod Carew in 1977, when he brought in 4,292,740 votes. However, in early August, a labor dispute between players and owners closed the season early, canceling the Mariners' last fifty games. Griffey ended the season with forty home runs, twenty-two shy of beating the single-season record. Had he played the last fifty games, it's conceivable that Griffey would have broken the record four years before slugger Mark McGwire did.
Griffey's 1995 and 1996 seasons were marred by injuries. Though he sat out twenty games in 1996, Griffey still orchestrated his best season ever. He hit .303, belted 49 home runs, and batted in 140 runs in just 140 games.
Griffey was hot again in 1997. On September 7, he smacked his fiftieth homer of the year, making him the fifteenth major leaguer of all time to reach fifty homers in one season. He led the American League in home runs (56) and runs scored (125). His 147 RBI led both the American and National leagues. For his offensive prowess, Griffey received the 1997 American League MVP award. The Mariners finished with a 90-72 record and faced the Baltimore Orioles in a best-of-five playoff series, which they lost.
- Ken Griffey Jr. - Related Biography: Baseball Player Ken Griffey, Sr.
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