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Happy Birthday, Ken Griffey Jr.

Ken Griffey Jr. is one of the most legendary athletes of the past 50 years. He was possibly the best baseball player on the planet for more than a decade. “The Kid” is an icon in the sports world.

Baseball Phenom

Ken Griffey Jr. was born on November 21, 1969. The Kid was a baseball phenom at an early age. He hung around ballparks as a child, with his father. Ken Griffey Sr. was a professional baseball player, and Jr. was able to experience the game up close. His natural ability was impossible to overlook. The baseball world was aware of Griffey Jr. early on.

Father & Son

In 1987, Jr. was the first player selected in the Major League Baseball draft. He then signed with the Seattle Mariners. He debuted in the league in 1989. When Jr. started playing for the Mariners, his father, Griffey Sr., was still in the league and playing for the Cincinnati Reds. Jr. and Sr. became the first father and son to play in the MLB at the same time. Later in the 1989 season, Sr. requested to be traded to the Mariners. The father and son duo were a sentimental and popular story in sports at the time.

griffey sr and jr

The Kid

There was something about The Kid that was just cool. His swagger, his swing, the way he wore his cap backwards, it was all cool. Baseball, America’s past time, was having a tough time in the 90s appealing to the youth of America. Football and basketball were more entertaining to play and watch in the minds of much of the country. Griffey Jr. appealed to the nontraditional baseball fan. His speed and power hitting were thrilling to watch. His charisma on the field and off made him a star. Griffey Jr. made the game, and being a star, look effortless.

Rookie Card

A big piece of the Ken Griffey Jr. allure, especially to the youth of the time, was his rookie card. The 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Upper Deck Rookie Card is one of the most popular and well known pieces of sports memorabilia of all time. The photography on the card is quite simple, which adds to its charm. Kids in the 90s would spend hours, and all their allowance, trying to secure a mint copy of the rookie card. The card is not worth as much today as people were anticipating in the 90s. You cannot send your kids to Harvard with a Griffey Jr. rookie card, but the nostalgia tied to it is stronger than ever.

griffey Rookie Card


Griffey Jr. collaborated with designer Terry Teague on the Air Griffey Max 1. Jr. communicated to Teague that he wanted to do something different with his first signature sneaker. The Air Griffey Max 1 featured unique design flourishes like its placement of its Nike Swoosh. Griffey and Teague made sure the Air Griffey Max 1 worked as a casual shoe, and as a performance model.

Nike Air Griffey Max 1

The Nike Air Griffey Max 1 features a polyurethane middle with Air-Sole technology. It has a synthetic leather upper, and a clear rubber sole for better traction. There is an ankle strap, along with visible Max Air throughout the midsole.

The Air Griffey Max 1 was released as a retro for the very first time in 2009. Since then, it has been brought back multiple times in a wide range of colors. It is a Nike retro favorite.

Air Griffey Max 1

90s Icon

The Nike Air Griffey Max 1 is a beloved shoe from the 90s. It stands with other legendary Nike signature models of the era, like the silhouettes from Charles Barkley, Penny Hardaway, and Andre Agassi. The Air Griffey Max 1 is still in rotation today. You can find the Nike Air Griffey Max 1 at Shoe Palace and at

All Time Great  

Gold Gloves. All Star Appearances. Home Runs. Ken Griffey Jr. did it all in the game of baseball. In 2016 Jr. was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Ken Griffey Jr. was one of a kind on the field, and his legacy is second to none.

Happy Birthday, Ken Griffey Jr.


- Adam C. Better