22 years | 2,671 games | 2,781 hits | 1,836 RBI
Numbers don’t begin to tell the story of Ken Griffey Jr.’s Hall of Fame career. They don’t tell you how graceful The Kid chased down balls in the Mariners' outfield, they don’t paint a picture of his infectious, trademark grin, and they certainly can’t define what this legend meant for the city of Seattle. But, the numbers do make one thing clear: No. 24 was No. 1 in baseball for a long time.
  • Griffey hit 40 or more home runs in seven seasons (including five straight from 1996-2000). Only seven players have accomplished that feat.
  • 530 of his 630 homers came from the No. 3 spot in the lineup.
  • Griffey homered against 407 different pitchers. The most victimized was David Wells, whom Griffey homered off of eight times.
  • He played in parts of four decades, one of only 29 players to do so.
Griffey's Home Runs by Season
Scroll through the graph below to see how Ken Griffey Jr. fared in each of his 22 seasons.
With Mariners
With Cincinnati Reds; Chicago White Sox
Use the arrows to explore some of Ken Griffey Jr.'s most memorable moments.
Griffey's rookie year, when he spends most of the season as the Mariners starting center fielder despite being just 19 years old – then​ the youngest player in the majors.
He is the first Mariner elected as an All-Star starter. Also in 1990, he and his dad become the first father-son duo to hit back-to-back home runs.
Griffey continues to develop and has his best season yet, leading the Mariners to their first-ever winning season.
Griffey puts together another strong season, highlighted by earning All-Star Game MVP honors after a 3-for-3 performance, including a home run.
The Kid has a power spike, famously becoming the first player to hit the warehouse beyond right field at Camden Yards in the Home Run Derby, tying a major league record by homering in eight consecutive games.
Griffey leads the American League in homers, becoming the first Mariner to do so, and also becomes the Mariners' all-time home run leader.
Misses almost half the season with a broken wrist, but comes back to help lead the Mariners to a miraculous AL West title and a thrilling comeback win in the ALDS, when Griffey scores the series-winning run on "The Double."
Griffey sets a new career high for home runs, including his 200th career blast on May 21.
Griffey's best season — he is unanimously voted league MVP, and leads the Mariners to the AL West title for the second time in three years.
Ties his career high for home runs in a season, including becoming at age 28 the youngest player to reach 350 home runs.
Griffey hits the last-ever home run at the Kingdome as the Mariners transition to Safeco Field. At the end of the year, Griffey is named the player of the decade.
On Feb. 10, Griffey is traded to his hometown team, the Cincinnati Reds. He puts up a strong first year with his new team.
Injuries begin to derail Griffey's career. He doesn't make his first start until mid-June due to a hamstring injury. He does hit well when he plays, however.
Griffey plays in just 70 games due to a variety of injuries, and he takes a step back when he does play, hitting fewer than 16 home runs for the first time in his career.
Griffey is on pace for a bounce-back season, but tears a tendon in his ankle in July and is forced to miss the rest of the season.
Injuries again limit Griffey, though he does reach the 500-home-run mark on June 20.
Is voted National League comeback player of the year after a strong season in which he plays more than 100 games for the first time since 2001.
Moves into the top 10 all-time in career home runs, though injuries again force Griffey to miss more than 50 games.
Griffey returns to Safeco for the first time since being traded and is welcomed back by the home fans. He ends up hitting two home runs in the final game of the Seattle-Cincinnati series.
Hits home run No. 600, then is traded midseason to the Chicago White Sox, with whom he makes his final playoff appearance.
Griffey signs with the Mariners in February, and a feel-good season is capped off when his teammates carry him off the field after the final game.
Griffey signs another one-year deal with the Mariners, but he struggles mightily and retires on June 2 – 23 years to the day after he was drafted by Seattle.
What if? Griffey vs. all-time home run leaders
Take a look at Ken Griffey Jr.'s career home-run trajectory and how it compares to the five sluggers ahead of him on the all-time list.
Barry Bonds
Hank Aaron
Babe Ruth
Alex Rodriguez
Willie Mays
Ken Griffey Jr.
Total home runs
Career years
First 4 years (1989-1992)

From early in his career, it was apparent that Ken Griffey Jr. was going to be something special. Griffey amassed 87 home runs in his first four years — all before his 23rd birthday, averaging nearly 22 home runs per season. While impressive, the totals were nowhere near as impressive as what was to come.
Next 8 years (1993-2000)

Then the power spike came. It began when Griffey hit 45 home runs in 1993, and continued for the next seven years. Over that span, Griffey averaged 44 home runs per season, a feat made more impressive by the fact he played just 72 games in 1995 due to injury. In 1997 he set a career-high with 56 homers, a number he would match the following year. By the time that eight-year run was over, as the graph above shows, Griffey's pace put him ahead of the all-time home run leaders.
Next 4 years (2001-2004)

But then injuries struck. Over the next four years, Griffey played in fewer than half of his team's games as he battled injuries to his knees, ankle, hamstrings and shoulder. On top of missing valuable playing time, the injury struggles also sapped him of much of his power. By the time he finally began to regain health in 2005, he had fallen well off the pace.
Final 6 years (2005-2010)

Finally healthy, his power began to pick back up, but he never returned to the heights he had previously reached. Even if he had, there might not have been time for him to put the home run record in danger. When Griffey finally retired in June 2010, he left the baseball world as one of the undisputed all-time greats. But it's hard not to look back at his injuries and wonder, “What if?"

Griffey's Injuries

Ken Griffey Jr. battled injuries for a large part of his career. As a result, he was placed on the disabled list 12 times, forcing him to miss significant playing time. Griffey played in fewer than 130 games in 11 of his 22 total seasons. See a rundown of his injuries and time missed by tapping the red pointers below.

  • Dislocated toe
    Griffey dislocated his second toe on his right foot in early September 2006 when he ran into a wall chasing after a Barry Bonds home run. It ended up sidelining him for most of the rest of the season; he only had two plate appearances as a pinch hitter the rest of the way.
  • Torn ankle tendon
    Griffey tore a tendon legging out a double in mid-July 2003. He had surgery the next day and missed the rest of the season
  • Torn knee tendon
    Griffey partially tore a tendon in his right knee when he was caught in a rundown in early April 2002. The injury ended up being less severe than it first appeared. He declined to have surgery and returned to action by the end of May. His right knee would again be a problem four years later, as he missed almost a month early in the 2006 season due to inflammation behind the knee.
  • Strained hamstring
    Griffey partially tore his left hamstring scoring on a double in early September 2000, and would rack up just three more plate appearances as a pinch hitter the rest of the season. It bothered him for much of the next season, as he went on the DL in late April and ended up playing in just 111 games.
  • High groin strain
    Griffey suffered a high groin strain late in the 2007 season that caused him to miss the final two weeks. He fielded a ball in right field, but appeared to injure himself going to make the throw and was forced to underhand the ball into the infield.
  • Pleurisy
    Griffey was diagnosed with pleurisy, which is inflammation around the lungs, in early 2007. It caused him to miss some games early that season.
  • Dislocated shoulder
    Griffey dislocated his right shoulder diving for a ball in early April 2003, and he was forced to miss more than a month
  • Broken wrist
    Griffey broke his left wrist making a spectacular catch and slamming into the wall in May 1995. It took him nearly three months to recover, and he returned in the middle of August.
  • Broken hand
    Griffey fractured his right hand stepping out of the shower in July 1989 and ended up missing nearly a month. Seven years later, Griffey again fractured his hand, this time breaking the hamate bone when he fouled a pitch off his hand in June 1996. He ended up missing about a month of the season.
  • Sprained wrist ligament
    Griffey sprained his right wrist attempting a diving catch in mid-June 1992. He ended up going on the disabled list and missing two weeks.
  • Torn hamstring
    Griffey tore his right hamstring making a sliding catch in August 2004. He had strained it earlier that year and missed 18 games. In his first game back, he ruptured it and had surgery that caused him to miss the rest of the season.
Dislocated toe
Torn ankle tendon
Torn knee tendon
Strained hamstring
High groin strain
Dislocated shoulder
Broken wrist
Broken hand
Sprained wrist ligament
Torn hamstring
Cover Shot
Ken Griffey Jr. graced the cover of Sports Illustrated nine times. Check out each one below:
Griffey’s first S.I. cover is also his most iconic. The magazine calls him “Seattle’s 20-year-old wonder” and likens him to Willie Mays.
Griffey and Dodgers catcher Mike Piazza grace a fold-out cover for the magazine’s 1994 baseball preview. The two players make up the Hall of Fame's Class of 2016. Piazza appeared on the cover of S.I. just two other times.
Ballplayers are chasing the game’s hallowed home-run records. There’s speculation Griffey could challenge Roger Maris’ 61 homers in a season.
Griffey and Frank Thomas of the White Sox share the cover. The story inside says Griffey is “the straw that stirs the game.”
Yankee Killer indeed. The magazine chronicles the M’s famed 1995 ride to the playoffs, past New York in a “memorable Mariner comeback.”
The cover story calls him “Joltin’ Junior” and notes Griffey reached 350 career homers at a younger age than any player in baseball history.
It’s an inside look at the trade that sent Griffey from the Mariners to the Reds, where he signed for “a bargain rate” of $116.5 million.
An illustration of Griffey in the top left highlights the three historic power hitters in the NL Central, along with Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire.
In a “Where Are They Now” issue, Griffey talks about his impending Hall of Fame induction and his life after baseball as a dad.
Reporting and production: Nick Sullivan, Sean Quinton
Photo illustration: Rich Boudet
Development: Elif Koc, Audrey Carlsen, Thomas Wilburn