It’s great to see Ken Griffey, Jr. make it to 600 homeruns in his career. He is one of the true “good guys” of the sport of baseball. In the first inning Monday night at Florida against Mark Hendrickson, he joined Ruth, Mays, Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Sammy Sosa in the most exclusive and prestigious club in sports, the 600 Home Run Club.
He made the Mariners club, in 1989, as a 19-year-old, the youngest player on an Opening Day roster that season. In his first at-bat at the Seattle Kingdome, he hit a home run on the first pitch he saw from the White Sox’s Eric King. Griffey went on to hit 16 home runs that season — in baseball history, only Tony Conigliaro and Mel Ott hit more homers as teenagers.
Griffey started the All-Star Game in his second season, then the third youngest player ever to do that. He is also the father/son combo to hit back-to-back homeruns in a game. In 1993, Griffey hit a home run in eight consecutive games, tying the record held by Dale Long and Don Mattingly. During 1997-98, he joined Babe Ruth as then the only American League players (Alex Rodriguez has joined that club) to hit 50 home runs in back-to-back seasons. When he hit 50 for the first time, he joined Mays as then the only players ever to win a Gold Glove in a season in which they hit 50. In 1999, he became the first American League player since Harmon Killebrew to lead the league in home runs three seasons in a row.