Anyone who followed Ken Griffey Jr.’s storybook
career, first with the Seattle Mariners, then with the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox, before returning to end his career with in the city where it all started Seattle – knows that he has always been a big
supporter of charities for young people.
But one of most memorable moments came on Christmas Eve
1994, when “The Kid” plopped a Santa hat on his head and took his place at the
head of the food line, passing out paper plates, to the children at the Rainier
Vista Boys & Girls Club (in a Seattle suburb).
Up until then, the kids and staff of the Boys & Girls
Club knew that Ken Griffey Jr., like some friendly ghost, was involved with the
community center.After all, he
had donated the van he won as the MVP of the 1992 All-Star Game to the
When he was asked to pose for the cover of Sports
Illustrated For Kids the very next year, he invited an eight-year-old girl from
the club to co-star with him.As sponsor of the holiday dinner for 350 children and
teenagers, Griffey donated $10,000 to help provide food and music, balloons and
gifts.But the most important
thing he provided was a glimpse of their hero, and the belief that a wish can
“When I was a kid, I knew that if I wanted something bad
enough and worked hard enough, anything was possible,” Griffey said.
Editor’s Note: Griffey has sponsored the Rainier Vista
Boys and Girls Club every December since 1994, and is a frequent visitor to
clubs everywhere he has played/lived throughout his career.
What he didn’t say on that day fourteen years ago
(probably because he didn’t even dare to dream it himself) is that he would
ride that positive attitude to the 600+ home run plateau.