Ken Griffey Jr reveals what was behind his hatred for Yankees
Ken Griffey Jr had no love lost for the New York Yankees during his playing career, and now he is revealing exactly where that resentment stemmed from.
During MLB Network’s airing Sunday of the documentary “Junior,” Griffey, the subject of the film, told a story about how then-New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner once had him removed from the team’s dugout as a kid. Griffey’s father Ken Sr. was an outfielder for the Yankees at the time.
Wow, Ken Griffey Jr. had a really damn good reason to never play for the Yankees.
"Look at third base." pic.twitter.com/2v7DoBYyYC
— Roger Cormier (@yayroger) June 22, 2020
“I came up to visit my dad, and it was just me and him, and got to the ballpark early,” said Griffey. “I’m sitting in the dugout, and the security guard comes over and says, ‘Hey, George doesn’t want anyone in the dugout.’ My dad was like, ‘What? 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 groundballs at third base.”
The film also showed Griffey in archival footage from early on in his MLB career telling fans, “If the Yankees were the last team, if they were the only team that gave me a contract, I’d retire.”
Griffey would get his revenge against the Yankees by becoming one of baseball’s best all-around players for the American League rival Seattle Mariners. He also knocked the Yankees out of the playoffs with a series-winning hit in Game 5 of the 1995 ALDS.
Ken Sr. also shared a story a few years ago about a run-in that his son had with then-Yankees manager Billy Martin that may have contributed to Junior’s ire as well. Regardless, Griffey was one of the few stars of that era that the Yanks were not able to acquire at some point, and now we have a better idea of why.