April 10 – Happy Birthday Ken Griffey Sr.

griffey.jpegAfter a nine-year career as a star outfielder for Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine, Ken Griffey Sr. was signed as a free agent by the Yankees after the 1981 season. That was right after the fractious players strike, the crazy split-season format caused by the work action and New York’s loss to the Dodgers in the 1981 World Series. All three of those events impacted George Steinbrenner’s ownership philosophy to a point where he stopped listening to his baseball people and started making baseball decisions and deals on his own. Nothing symbolized the Boss’s going rogue better than the signing of Griffey and the trade for his Cincinnati outfield teammate, Dave Collins. The Yankees ended up with six outfielders on their 1982 roster making it difficult for Griffey and completely impossible for Collins to feel like they fit in. A solid but not spectacular player, Griffey later admitted to Baseball Digest that he felt much more comfortable playing in the National League. He lasted four and a half seasons in the Bronx, averaging .285 during that span. Just before the 1986 All Star break, the Yankees traded Griffey and shortstop Andre Robertson to the Braves for Claudell Washington and Paul Zuvella. Griffey couldn’t wait to get back to the Senior Circuit.

He would end up playing nineteen seasons in the big leagues, finally retiring in 1991, with a lifetime average of .296 and 2,143 hits. He was the second best ballplayer to be born in Donora, PA behind Stan “the Man” Musial and the second best ballplayer to be born in his own family behind his superstar son and former Mariner teammate, Ken “the Kid” Griffey.

This former Yankee, also born on April 10th, was New York’s starting DH in the Opening Day lineup of Griffey’s first game in pinstripes in 1982.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1982 NYY 127 528 484 70 134 23 2 12 54 10 39 58 .277 .329 .407 .736
1983 NYY 118 499 458 60 140 21 3 11 46 6 34 45 .306 .355 .437 .792
1984 NYY 120 436 399 44 109 20 1 7 56 2 29 32 .273 .321 .381 .702
1985 NYY 127 487 438 68 120 28 4 10 69 7 41 51 .274 .331 .425 .755
1986 NYY 59 219 198 33 60 7 0 9 26 2 15 24 .303 .349 .475 .823
19 Yrs 2097 8049 7229 1129 2143 364 77 152 859 200 719 898 .296 .359 .431 .790
CIN (12 yrs) 1224 4716 4206 709 1275 212 63 71 466 156 455 549 .303 .370 .434 .804
NYY (5 yrs) 551 2169 1977 275 563 99 10 49 251 27 158 210 .285 .336 .419 .755
ATL (3 yrs) 271 976 884 122 252 44 4 28 115 17 83 123 .285 .345 .439 .784
SEA (2 yrs) 51 188 162 23 53 9 0 4 27 0 23 16 .327 .410 .457 .866
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/23/2014.

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