Ken Griffey Jr. gives backstory of decades-long hatred of Yankees

·3 min read

Ken Griffey Jr. has no love for the New York Yankees and on Sunday his reasoning became clear.

Griffey recounted a few stories from nearly 40 years ago, when his father, Ken Griffey Sr., played for the Yankees, during MLB Network’s documentary “Junior.

It started when former Yankees manager Billy Martin had an employee tell Griffey Jr. and his brother, Craig, to pipe down while near the Yankees clubhouse. Then, to add on, there was an incident at Yankee Stadium in the early 1980s when Griffey Jr. visited his dad in the team dugout.

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The transcript (H/T Bleacher Report):

“I came up to visit my dad and it was just me and him. I got to the ballpark early and I'm sitting in the dugout and the security guard comes over and says, '[Then-Yankees owner George Steinbrenner] doesn't want anyone in the dugout.' My dad was like, 'What? He's my son.' So he goes, 'Alright, hey go in my locker. But before you go, look at third base.' It's Graig Nettles' son taking ground balls at third base.

“And at that time, my dad was 38 years old, he's like, 'I ain't fighting this no more. I got somebody a little younger. And a little bit better.'

"There's certain things a dad drills into you as a kid that just sticks with you. And [to beat the Yankees] was one of them."

In the documentary, MLB Network shared archived video of Griffey Jr. signing baseballs for Yankees fans. When asked about signing with New York, he said if the Yankees were the only team to offer a contract he would retire. It transitioned into the 1995 ALDS in which the Seattle Mariners beat the Yankees in five games and Griffey Jr. hit five home runs, including two in the first game.

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Griffey Sr. shared the story of Yankees personnel asking his children to quiet down back in 2014 when Junior was 11. Via CBS New York:

“He never forgot,” Griffey Sr. added, noting that it played a part in his son rejecting the Yankees as a free agent during his career. "He had told them up front he was not coming.”

Griffey Sr. joined the Yankees from the Cincinnati Reds in 1982 and played parts of five seasons with the team. Griffey Jr., 50, was drafted by the Mariners, returned there before retiring in 2010 and was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2016. Against the Yankees he hit 36 home runs and 102 RBI over 133 regular season games, hitting for a .311/.392/.595 slash line with 14 stolen bases.

Ken Griffey Jr. #24 of the Seattle Mariners watches batting practice prior to the game against the New York Yankees at Safeco Field on August 14, 2009 in Seattle, Washington.  The Yankees won 4-2.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Ken Griffey Jr. explained why he hates the Yankees so much. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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