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Ken Griffey Jr. Joins Mariners Ownership Group: 'This Is a Dream Come True'

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For over a decade, Ken Griffey Jr. was the on-field face of the most successful era of Mariners baseball. Now, the Hall of Famer is looking to help lead the franchise's next chapter from behind the scenes.

The 51-year-old Griffey has joined the Mariners ownership, the team announced Monday via press release. With the move, Griffey becomes the club's first new investing partner in over two decades.

"I’m excited for this incredible opportunity to join (Mariners chairman) John (Stanton) and the rest of the Mariners partnership group," Griffey said in a statement. "This is a dream come true because of the relationship I’ve always had with the team, its fans, and the city of Seattle. I view this as another way to continue to give back to an organization and community that has always supported me, and my family. I’m looking forward to continuing to contribute to this organization’s success in any way possible.”

Griffey was drafted by Seattle with the first overall pick in 1987, then went on to star for the team for the first 11 seasons of his career. From his rookie year in 1989 to 1999, he made 10 All-Star teams, won 10 Gold Glove awards, hit 398 home runs and won the American League MVP award in 1997. He helped guide the Mariners to two division championships, highlighted by a run to the ALCS in 1995.

Following his retirement in 2010, Griffey took a role as a special consultant to the franchise in 2011. He was elected to the Mariners Hall of Fame in 2013, then the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016.

Griffey has also been a senior advisor to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred since January 2021, and joined the ownership group for Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders in November 2020.

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“I really don’t know what to say,” Griffey said, per Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times. “You don’t really think of this as a kid. I mean this is a dream come true. You look at where I started, where I was born in Donora, Pennsylvania—a steel mill town. And it gives hope for kids to be able to reach this point—being a part of an organization, being a part of a group that wants to win. And we are going to win. I don’t like losing. That guys who played with me and the guys I played against know, I’m a very bad loser. I take this responsibility to the highest level.”

Griffey's exact stake in the team is unknown, but he reportedly isn't buying the forfeited shares from former team president Kevin Mather, who resigned in February after making denigrating remarks about former player Hisashi Iwakuma and current Seattle prospect Julio Rodríguez.

“We stuck to our process where the time clock on it starts on July 1,” Stanton said, per Divish. “We had a conversation and it really didn’t take very long. One of the partners wanted to sell some of their interests for personal reasons. Ken bought most of those interests.”

After the announcement, Griffey touted Seattle's successful 2021 season as reason for optimism. The Mariners entered the year with little expectations from most who follow the sport, but remained in playoff contention until the final day of the season. The team has not made the postseason since 2001, representing the longest active playoff drought in the league.

“You always want to be part of something special and these guys did something special,” Griffey said. “If you look at the beginning of the year, if you look at all the rankings and stuff, there was no way that this could happen. They grew together and understood, ‘Hey, we can really do something special here.'”

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