Junior reflects on first Opening Day

Ah, Opening Night at the Oakland Coliseum.

Before the game, a few of us scribes were chatting with Ken Griffey Jr., who made his Major League debut right here in 1989 and, and it took him all of one at-bat to get his first big-league hit.

It was a line-drive double into the left-center field gap off Athletics right-hander Dave Stewart.

“They are all special,” he said of Opening Days. “It begins six months of bsaeball, and hopefully longer.”

Junior said he was a combination of excited and nervous 21 years ago when he had such a good Spring Training as a 19-year-old that he not only earned a spot on the 25-man roster, but a place in the Mariners’ starting lineup.

He batted second that night,behind Harold Reynolds and in front of Alvin Davis. “I tried to talk skip (manager Don Wakamatsu) into putting me there, but he didn’t go for it.”

Turning back to his first Opening Night game, he said, “I think I was tired after the first inning.”

Not surprisingly, Griffey received a warm ovation during the pre-game introductions.

— Jim Street

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