With this past Saturday being Ken Griffey Jr.’s 46th birthday, and the impending first ballot induction into the Hall of Fame coming in January, it’s hard to imagine him as “Junior” or “The Kid”. It’s even harder for baseball fans like myself, kids of the Nineties, to even consider Griffey to be middle age.
For the kids of the Bryce Harper/Giancarlo Stanton/Mike Trout age, Griffey was the “it” player. He not only introduced the MTV generation to baseball, but defined it for a growing multi-platform society. He was able to engulf the 1990’s pop culture and did so while being parent approved. My older brothers, baseball fans of the 1980’s, had that decade’s heroes torn down due to their substance abuse issues (Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry among others).
As Griffey built up his Hall of Fame resume, he did it as the 1990’s baseball hero, the decade’s Mickey Mantle. With the cool look of his lone earring and backwards cap, he was my childhood’s superstar. Let’s breakdown the pop culture impact of 1990’s Ken Griffey Jr..