Griffey Jr. and Sr. hit back-to-back home runs for Mariners

Part of the INSIDE PITCH series
Written by: Katherine Acquavella

Like father, like son.

On Sept. 14, 1990, Ken Griffey Jr. and Ken Griffey Sr. made history, as they have been known to do, when they became the first father-son duo to hit back-to-back home runs in a game against the California Angels.

When Griffey Sr. signed with the Seattle Mariners (Griffey Jr.’s team at the time), no father and son had ever even played together on the same team.

The exceptionally talented family pair played together for two seasons, in 1990 and 1991, as Senior’s career was winding down and Junior’s path to the Hall of Fame was beginning.

Angels’ right handed pitcher Kirk McCaskill was on the other end of history as he gave up the home runs.

According to the Oct. 1, 1990 issue of the Sporting News, Angels teammate Dave Winfield said: “I don’t like seeing it done against us, but it was nice to see. It’s like keeping up with the Joneses, but now it’s keeping up with Griffeys. It’s great for baseball and great for Seattle.”

Mel Antonen of USA Today reported that at the time of the game, Griffey Jr., 20 years old, was the youngest player in the majors while Griffey Sr., 40 years old, was the seventh oldest. In the Seattle Mariners lineup, Griffey Sr. batted second in the lineup and played left field while Griffey Jr. batted third in the lineup and player center field. The two back-to-back blasts marked Griffey Sr.’s third home run of the season and Griffey Jr.’s twentieth.

The Griffey name was present in Major League Baseball box scores for 41 straight years, from 1973 through 2010.

When Griffey Sr. signed with the Seattle Mariners (Griffey Jr.’s team at the time), no father and son had ever even played together on the same team. (National Baseball Hall of Fame)

Griffey Sr. finished his 18 year-long career with a .296 batting average, hitting 152 home runs and recording 859 RBI. He spent most of his time as a member of the Cincinnati Reds (1973-1981, 88-90). During his first stint with the Reds, Griffey Sr. was part of The Big Red Machine, the nickname that was given to the Reds baseball team that dominated the National League from 1970 to 1979. He earned two World Series championships with the Reds in 1975 and 1976 and also was a three-time All Star (1976, 77, 80), earning All-Star Game MVP in 1980.

Griffey Jr. was a distinguished player not only for his athletic prowess but also for his offensive and defensive dominance. He finished his career as a 10-time Gold Glove Award winner and seven-time Silver Slugger recipient. Griffey Jr.’s eminence in baseball made him one of the most popular players in the game. He spent the majority of his career with the Mariners and Reds, along with a short stint with the Chicago White Sox. A 13-time All-Star, he finished with 630 home runs, the sixth-most in Major League Baseball history. After 22 years in baseball, Griffey Jr. finished with a .284 batting average, a .538 slugging percentage, 1,836 RBI and 2,781 hits.

Ken Griffey Jr. was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2016 with 99.3 percent f the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, breaking the record for highest Hall of Fame voting percentage. The record was previously held by pitcher Tom Seaver, who was named on 98.8 percent of the BBWAA ballots in 1992.

Katherine Acquavella was a public relations intern in the Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Leadership Development

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Part of the INSIDE PITCH series