On This Date in Sports August 31, 1990
In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
History is made at the Kingdome as the Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. become the first father and song to play together in the same game with the Seattle Mariners. Both Senior and Junior Griffey get one hit in four at-bats, as the Mariners beat the Kansas City Royals 5-2. The Griffeys hit came back-to-back in the first inning, as they both came in to score.
Ken Griffey was born on April 10, 1950, in Donora, Pennsylvania the same hometown as St. Louis Cardinals legend Stan Musial. Griffey was a multi-sport star; in 1969 he was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds. A few months later on November 21, 1969, he became a father when Ken Griffey Jr. was born.
Ken Griffey made his debut with the Reds in 1973 and became a vital cog in the Big Red Machine that won back-to-back World Series in 1975 and 1976. Batting at the top of the lineup Griffey, scored more than 100 runs in 1976 and 1977, as he named to the All-Star team. Ken Griffey also was an All-Star in 1980, winning MVP honors at Dodger Stadium. After the 1981 season, he was traded to the New York Yankees. In New York, Griffey had five and half seasons of diminishing results before he was traded to the Atlanta Braves in 1986.
While Senior Griffey was on the move, his son was excelling in high school, in 1987 Ken Griffey Jr. was the first player taken over in the MLB draft by the Seattle Mariners. As Junior Griffey was starting his minor league career, his dad was winding down his major league career. In 1988, Ken Griffey Sr. returned to the Cincinnati Reds after he was released by the Braves. A year later, Junior Griffey made his debut with the Mariners and was in the running for Rookie of the Year, before sustaining a wrist injury.
Ken Griffey Jr. continued his meteoric rise to become a superstar in 1990, becoming an All-Star for the first time in his career. Back in Cincinnati, his father was struggling on a Reds team that was in first place. Batting .206 in August the Reds gave him the option to retire or be released. After considering retirement, the 40-year-old former All-Star asked to be released when discussion about joining his son on the Mariners became a possibility.
The Griffeys first chance to play together came in a Friday Night Game at Kingdome before the start of Labor Day Weekend. The Mariners managed by Jim Lefebvre had Randy Johnson on the mound, while the Kansas City Royals led by John Wathan started Storm Davis. After Johnson shut down the Royals in order in the first and Harold Reynolds flew out to lead off the inning, the Griffeys sport in the order came up. Senior Griffey batting second and playing leftfield laced a single into center. Next up was Ken Griffey Jr. batting third and playing centerfield who followed up his father’s single with one of his own. Senior would score on a single by Alvin Davis who Junior advancing to third on the play and later scoring on a Wild Pitch. The Mariners added a third run in the first when Edgar Martinez singled home, Davis. The Royals would get two runs back in the second, with Bo Jackson scoring on a sac fly and Bill Pecota hitting a home run. That would be all Randy Johnson allowed as, Jay Buhner had a RBI double in the fifth and Jeff Schaefer had a RBI double in the seventh. The Griffeys meanwhile went hitless the rest of the way, with Senior reaching base on a walk in the second. The Mariners would win the game 5-3 as Johnson improved to 13-8 with Bill Swift record his third save along the way.
Two weeks after first playing together, the Griffeys made history again with back-to-back home runs against Kirk McCaskill in a 7-5 loss to the California Angels at Anaheim Stadium. The father and son would continue playing together in 1991 until Ken Griffey Sr. decided to retire at the end of May. Ken Griffey Sr. had a solid career, posting a .296 average with 152 home runs, 859 RBI and 1,129 runs scored. Ken Griffey Jr. meanwhile became one of the best players of all-time with a .284 average, 630 home runs, 1,836 RBI and 1,662 runs scored. In 2016 Junior became a Hall of Famer when received the highest percentage of the vote of all-time.