Reds greats, fans arrive in Cooperstown for Ken Griffey Jr.'s Hall of Fame induction

Posted at 10:12 AM, Jul 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-25 16:42:25-04

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

COOPERTOWN, N.Y. – Ken Griffey Sr. says he hasn't offered to help Junior with his Hall of Fame induction speech and his son hasn't asked for help. But Dad does expect to be mentioned.

"My arm's still sore from throwing batting practice to him all the time," Senior laughed after arriving in Cooperstown Friday.

As a player, Junior was often reluctant to open up with the media, but Senior doesn't think that will be the case Sunday when he takes his place among baseball's greats.

"He's always antsy, you guys just don't see it. But I think he'll be all right," Senior said. "He'll ad-lib a lot of stuff and he'll have some stuff written down. He should be OK."

Around town,  sleepy Cooperstown started to play ball Friday. You could see Hall of Famers arriving, Reds Hall of Famers Eric Davis and George Foster signing autographs and taking pictures with fans, and more and more people on the streets wearing Junior's Reds jersey.

"It's really what epitomizes baseball," Davis said of the whole celebration known as Hall of Fame Weekend.

 "There's a population of 2,000, but you get 50,000 to 60,000 here during the weekend," Foster marveled.

Joe Salee and his son Lucas are huge Griffey fans who came from Lexington, Kentucky.

"I came to one of my first Reds games … I loved his swing," Lucas said.

Another Griffey fan, Jake Carapella, traveled from Ontario, Canada.

"I think if he didn't get hurt he would have been the best ever. He was awesome," Carapella said.

More Griffey fans were on their way from the Tri-State. Tour buses left Cincinnati on Friday.

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Saturday's festivities include the Parade of Legends with Hall of Famers riding down Main Street one by one, followed by a private reception.

The induction ceremony takes place outdoors  at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. At least three Reds greats – Johnny Bench, Tony Perez and Barry Larkin – will  be in the crowd of some 50 Hall of Famers on stage when Griffey and Mike Piazza are honored. Joe Morgan, who lives in California, is reported to be awaiting a bone marrow transplant and is not expected to attend. Tom Seaver reportedly has Lyme disease and will be absent.

You can watch Sunday's ceremony live on MLB Network or via webcast at

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