Griffey to receive Commissioner’s Award
Baseball Commissioner Allan “Bud” Selig announced Sunday morning that former Mariners star Ken Griffey Jr. will be presented the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award prior to Game 4 of the World Series tonight in Arlington, Texas.
Griffey will become just the 12th recipient of the award, which was created in 1998 to recognize achievements and contributions of historical significance to the game.
Two of those previous awards also were affiliated with the Mariners. Outfielder Ichiro Suzuki was given the award in 2005 after breaking George Sisler’s all-time single-season record with 262 hits in the ’04 season.
Additionally, the Mariners remain the only club ever to have their entire team given the award after the 2001 season during which they won 116 games.
Griffey, 41, will become the first recipient of the award since 2007 when Rachel Robinson was honored for continuing the legacy of her late husband, Jackie Robinson.
Other past winners have been Mark McGwire (1998), Sammy Sosa (1998), Cal Ripken Jr. (2001), Tony Gwynn (2001), Rickey Henderson (2002), Barry Bonds (2002), Roger Clemens (2004) and Roberto Clemente (2006).
In selecting Griffey as the 12th winner of the honor, Selig noted both his tremendous accomplishments on the field as well as his idea to wear number 42 on Jackie Robinson Day, a suggestion the commissioner expanded on in 2007 to allow players and coaches throughout MLB to join in what now has become an annual tradition throughout the game.
“Ken Griffey Jr. was a gifted all-around player with a perfect swing, a brilliant glove and a childlike joy for the game,” Selig said in a statement released Saturday by MLB. “From the time he was just 19, Ken represented Major League Baseball with excellence and grace, and he was one of our sport’s greatest ambassadors not only in Seattle and Cincinnati, but also around the world. I am most appreciative for all of Ken’s contributions to our national pastime.”
Griffey will speak at a press conference Sunday in Arlington after being presented the 12-inch trophy, which has a sterling silver base with a baseball mounted at the top. The words “Commissioner’s Historic Achievement” are engraved around the base of the trophy with the Major League Baseball silhouetted batter logo above the type.