Lou stands in Juniors (left field) corner
The career stat sheet shows that Ken Griffey Jr. played one game in left field for the Mariners in 1997 and again in ’98, but finding someone who could remember either occasion was next to impossible today.
Lou Piniella, the manager both years, couldn’t remember and neither could Hall of Fame announcer Dave Niehaus, who has been calling the action since the beginning of time (Mariners time, that is). His broadcast booth sidekick, Rick Rizzs, had no recollection.
But, according to those records, Junior has played three games in left field (including one start) for a total of eight innings during his 20-year MLB career, compared to two games at first base, 1,578 games in center field and 228 games in right field.
Piniella played his share of left field and says he believes Griffey will “do a fine job out there,” adding that the reunion in Seattle this summer will be fun for one and all. “It’s good for him and good for the fans.”
In the Did you Know portion of the blog, that Griffey and Piniella are the only employees in franchise history that have had attendance-related bonuses in their contracts?
— Jim Street
i recall one of those years Griff was doing a lot of lobbying at the end of the year to get in at different positions. seems like one game he moved across the outfield playing all three positions. i could be making that up, but that is stuck in the recesses of my mind.
A lot of things are “out in left field” but probably not the record books. Recollection certainly can be.
Junior may have been in left field a time or two after he left Seattle. I certainly don’t recall such a thing in his Mariners tour.
I confess that I have missed a game or two on radio, TV or at the Kingdome since the beginning. But I think I would have picked up on the oddity of Ken Griffey, Jr., playing with Seattle in left field. That’s like Edgar playing first base in his early years. Neither one had to do that silly stuff when they still had their youth and health.
Edgar was a fine third baseman until he ripped out his hamstring in an exhibition game in Vancouver, BC. Few will recall that, but it is true, nonetheless.
Without that almost-career-ending injury, Edgar would have been a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. His hitting was always outstanding; such wonderful consistency. That was the first thing we purists spotted during his first two years. Now, with the injury, he is only a “possible”.
How did I get from Griffey to Martinez? Think about it and the light may come on.
Okay, I’ve confirmed that my memory was correct. Also, I was too bashful to say it, but I thought he also played 1B that game, and he did. Here is Griff’s line score from the last official MLB game he played for the Mariners (on September 26, 1998 vs. the Rangers
K Griffey CF-LF-RF-1B 4 0 0 0 0 1 .284 .975 13 1 0
(Thanks Baseball-Reference.com – http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SEA/SEA199809260.shtml)
By the way, the M’s won 5-2 and Edgar went 4-4 with a HR and a 2B. Jeff Fassero got the win to finish his season 13-12.