FILE  - Former Seattle Mariners outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. waves to fans after being introduced before a baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Seattle, in this Friday, April 14, 2017, file photo. Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. is investing in the Seattle Mariners in a way he never has before. He’ll be part of the ownership going forward. The Mariners announced Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, that their most famous former player has also become the first one to purchase a stake in the ball club. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. joins Mariners ownership group

The Seattle baseball icon called the opportunity “a dream of a lifetime.”

  • Monday, October 25, 2021 5:46pm
  • Sports

By Tim Booth / Associated Press

SEATTLE — Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. is investing in the Seattle Mariners in a way he never has before.

He’ll be part of the ownership group going forward.

The Mariners announced Monday that their most famous former player has also become the first one to purchase a stake in the ballclub. The purchase had been years in the making.

“It was just a conversation and it just kept snowballing, and then finally I was able to do what I need to do,” Griffey said. “So it wasn’t like I woke up and said, ‘You know what, I think I want to do this now.’ Basic conversation. … I was able to pull the trigger this year. I had to wait my turn like everybody else.”

Mariners Chairman John Stanton said Griffey purchased shares from another minority owner who still retains a stake in the club.

While Griffey had to wait, the idea of being part of an ownership group stuck with him once his playing career ended in 2010. Griffey and his family became part of the Seattle Sounders ownership group a year ago and he said he had conversations with friends like Michael Jordan and Derek Jeter about further investment.

“I’ve known Michael for 30 years and you look at certain things that he’s created for everybody else, it’s almost like you look and say there’s the blueprint,” Griffey said. “You may not be able to match that, but you can look at it and have an idea of what he’s done over the years and how he’s grown an empire.”

Griffey was the No. 1 overall pick in the amateur draft by the Mariners in 1987. Less than two years later, he made his major league debut and quickly grew into one of the best players of his generation with that familiar “S” on his hat — whether it was turned forward or backward.

Griffey spent his first 11 seasons with the Mariners, helping them to a pair of AL West titles and was the 1997 AL MVP. He engineered a trade to Cincinnati following the 1999 season but made his way back to Seattle for the conclusion of his career in 2009 and part of the 2010 season before retiring at age 40.

The return to Seattle rekindled his relationship with the franchise. He’s become an ambassador for the team with an official title of special consultant to the franchise. He was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 2013 and into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016.

Griffey was also named a senior adviser to Commissioner Rob Manfred earlier this year.

“The strength of any partnership is based on the breadth of perspectives of the partners,” Stanton said. “All of our partners are passionate fans. But Ken brings a unique perspective to this partnership because he’s played the game at a Hall of Fame level, and he’s remained involved in the game.”

Griffey said he’s hoping to bring the player perspective into some of the conversations that may take place among the owners.

“It just gives a different viewpoint that maybe they haven’t thought of,” Griffey said. “But you do have some smart people in the room and you got some people who care.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Lake Stevens' Trayce Hanks eludes defenders during a 4A state quarterfinal game against Gonzaga Prep on Nov. 20, 2021, at Lake Stevens High School. (John Gardner / Pro Action Image)
Championship central: Lake Stevens’ run to the title game

Get ready for Saturday’s 4A state championship game with stories from the Vikings’ success-filled season.

Lynnwood's Dina Yonas drives to the hoop during the game against Jackson on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
GALLERY: Lynnwood girls down Jackson as winter sports begin

The Royals open their basketball season with a 59-51 win over the Timberwolves.

North Carolina's Mason Phillips (top), a Stanwood High School alum, claimed the 149-pound championship at the Wolfpack Wrestling Club Open held Nov. 14 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Blake Clifton/UNC Athletics)
Community roundup: Stanwood grad wins title at Wolfpack Open

Plus, volleyball standouts earn all-conference nods, a former area girls hoops star helps end a long losing skid and more

Winter prep sports roundup.
Prep results for Tuesday, Nov. 30

Prep results for Tuesday, Nov. 30: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Jackson High senior Dominic Hellman, a University of Oregon commit, batted a .558 this season with five home runs in 13 games. Shot on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Local athletes who have signed to play sports in college

The early signing period for all NCAA sports except Division I and II football opened Nov. 10.

Kalen DeBoer speaks during a news conference, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021, in Seattle, to introduce him as the new head NCAA college football coach at the University of Washington. DeBoer has spent the past two seasons as head football coach at Fresno State. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
DeBoer takes reins as head coach at Washington

The ex-Fresno State coach plans to lean on former successful Huskies coach Chris Petersen for advice.

Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson (24) scores on a two-point conversion against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of an NFL football game, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Grading the Seattle Seahawks’ 17-15 loss to Washington

It’s more of the same as the Seahawks continue to suffer from the same problems.

FILE - Toronto Blue Jays' Robbie Ray pitches to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Ray won the AL Cy Young Award on Wednesday, Nov. 17, bouncing back from taking a rare pay cut after a dismal season to capture pitching’s top prize. Ray became the first Toronto pitcher to earn the honor since the late Roy Halladay in 2003.  (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)
Source: Mariners, AL Cy Young winner Ray agree to 5-year deal

The left-handed starter’s contract is expected to be worth $115 million.

Everett Silvertips players huddle together during a game against Kamloops on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett. (Kristin Ostrowski/Everett Silvertips)
Patterson: Tips appear to be legit contenders in top-heavy WHL

Everett proved itself in a tight 3-2 loss to Kamloops, but a few moves could help shore things up.

Most Read