Baseball was all about family for Ken Griffey Jr.

New Hall of Famer followed in dad's footsteps

EDITOR'S NOTE: WCPO is looking back on Ken Griffey Jr.'s life growing up in Cincinnati, stunning success and Hall of Fame career. See all of our coverage at WCPO.com/griffey.

CINCINNATI - There's an exhibit at the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown about how this game got started. There are young kids having fun, flailing at a ball.

It always reminded me of the Reds' Father and Son games.

Ken Griffey Jr. slides into third during the Reds' Father and Son Game with his dad, Ken Griffey Sr.

"Growing up, it was all about family," the Hall of Famer in waiting, Ken Griffey Jr., said in 2000 when the Reds acquired him from the Mariners.

"When the Reds won," Junior remembered, "we ran into the locker room and took bats, gloves, balls and ran out did whatever."

The Reds were a big baseball family during the Big Red Machine days in the 1970s.  You might run into the Lee Mays or the Perez boys, Victor and Eduardo, hanging out with Petey Rose.

Junior, left, with his dad and brother Craig.

The Griffeys – Ken and his younger brother Craig -  were regulars at the park, too.

That is, when their dads were still Reds.

Ken Griffey Sr. went to the Yankees in 1982 and the Braves in 1986, when Ken Jr. was making a national reputation at Moeller High.

"I think he's gone crazy going from team to team," Junior said while still at Moeller, "trying to find out, if you're going to settle here or if you're going to get traded again."

The Griffey family: Ken Jr., brother Craig, mom Birdie and dad Ken Sr..

Some way,  some how, Junior had enough time with his dad to follow his lead.

"He watched me enough to see what was going on and he just emulated himself after me," Senior said during a visit here with the Braves.

It seems the time spent with family was quality time.  Junior was a prodigy – and became the top prospect in the nation.

NEXT: John Popovich reports on Junior's days at Moeller, leading up to the 1987 draft.

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