A misunderstanding may have prevented the Yankees from acquiring Ken Griffey Jr. 10 seasons ago when he left the Mariners for the first time. He listed the Mets and Reds as two of the teams he would consider. The Yankees were never on the list.
Here's the back story. In 1983, when Griffey’s father, Ken Sr., was playing for the Yankees, a nearly 13-year-old young Ken and his brother, Craig, were thrown out of the clubhouse on orders from manager Billy Martin. Martin had a coach do the dirty work.
This was well known to reporters covering the team at the time.
Martin never fessed up and the Griffeys thought owner George Steinbrenner was behind the ``no kids in the clubhouse’’ edict and Ken. Jr., carried that notion throughout his career. Later day reports also incorrectly cite Steinbrenner as the culprit.
Steinbrenner, in fact, liked the Yankees' kids, often patting them on the head in the years when he made frequent visits to the clubhouse.
Griffey was reported to say in later years, ``I hold a grudge. Any time I get a chance to hurt them, I try a little harder.’’ Part of that also can be traced back to Martin, who often had a bone to pick with Griffey Sr.
One of Griffey’s Jr.’s best games in his declining years came last September against the Yankees when he hit a three-run home run--the 627th of his career--and drove in four runs in a 7-1 victory in Seattle.
Griffey retired this week with 630 career homers.