Ken Griffey Jr. is not all that fond of wearing a tie and he good-naturedly balked near the end of Spring Training when manager Don Wakamatsu discussed a small list of team rules. Among them: players must wear ties when the team travels from city to city.
Being his his usual creative self, Griffey found a way to put the tie rule front-and-center. He had 40 white ties made with Wakamatusu’s picture on the front.
Players, coaches and Hall of Fame announcer Dave Niehaus were proudly wearing their “Wak ties” when they boarded the plane taking the Mariners from Seattle to Orange County following Thursday afternoon’s game against the Rays.
When asked where his tie was, Wakamatsu got out of his chair in the managers’ office at Angel Stadium, walked over to his locker and pulled out the tie.
“Griff’s going to sign it and I’m going to put in a (glass) case,” Wakamatsu said. “It’s one of those things you look back on and laugh. I have a picture in my office (at his home near Dallas) of a bat rack with jumper cables on it.
“We got no-hit for eight innings by (Barry) Zito one night and (Tim) Hudson the next night, and were getting no-hit by (Mark) Mulder through the sixth inning the third night and (David) DeLuccia said ‘that’s it’ and went to the clubby (clubhouse manager) and asked him to go out in his car to get his jumper cables. We were in Oakland and they had the old-time bat racks so he hooked the cables up to the bats. I had the photographer take a picture of it. Now, no one knows where that was or what it was all about.”
“Those are things you like to keep.”
— Jim Street