Ken Griffey Jr.’s grudge against the Yankees is closing in on 40 years. It looks as if Junior hasn’t forgiven or forgotten.
Griffey told for MLB Network a version of the reason he refused to consider joining the Yankees during his career, and why he was motivated to do so much damage to them on the field. His comments were part of the documentary “Junior” that aired Sunday night.
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He recounted an incident at Yankee Stadium in the early 1980s that involved him; his dad, Ken; Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and former Yankees third baseman Graig Nettles.
From that point, Junior said, the hate built. (The elder Griffey played 4 1/2 seasons for the Yankees from 1982-86.)
“There’s certain things that a dad drills into you as a kid that just sticks with you,” he said. And that (beating the Yankees) was one of them.”
Junior has previously said that former Yankees manager Billy Martin was a villain for wanting him and his brother Craig to not be near the Yankees’ clubhouse. There were also hard feelings over clubhouse drama involving the elder Griffey when he played in New York.
In the 2020 update, it was Steinbrenner ordering him thrown out of the dugout while Nettles’ son was allowed to take ground balls at third base.
Junior was in the big leagues in 1989 with Seattle as a teenager. Six years later, he was racing around the bases on Edgar Martinez’s double to score the series-winning run against the Yankees and manager Buck Showalter (who would never disrespect the game by wearing his cap backward) in the 1995 ALDS.
Griffey’s career numbers against the Yankees: 36 home runs, 102 RBIs, a .311/.392/.595 slash line and 14 stolen bases in 133 regular-season games. His numbers in that five-game ’95 ALDS: five homers, a .391/.444/1.043 slash line and nine runs scored.
He also had the fire to run up the outfield wall for that famous catch in the Bronx in the early ’90s.