Like one of his two rocket blasts to the seats at Safeco Field Sunday, that group of 1000 autographed Ken Griffey Jr. baseballs were going, going, gone in a hurry.
The return of Ken Griffey Junior to Seattle helped a cause near and dear to the future Hall of Famer’s heart.
The Cincinnati Reds’ outfielder played in Seattle for the first time since the Mariners traded him after the 1999 season.
Griffey signed 1,000 commemorative baseballs to mark his return and at $100 each, they were sold out more than an hour before Friday’s first pitch. 200 went in the first 20 minutes they were on sale. The proceeds will be split among the Children’s Hospitals in Seattle, Cincinnati and Orlando, Fla.
The balls have a commemorative logo that reads, "Griffey Returns, Safeco Field, June 22-24, 2007. Welcome Back Junior."
During 11 seasons with the Mariners beginning in 1989, Griffey won 10 Gold Glove Awards, was a 10-time All-Star, Most Valuable Player in 1997, and hit 398 home runs.
Griffey belted two homers Sunday, passing Mark McGwire on the all-time list.
But one Cinci newspaper says the baseball idea is just the latest in a string of charitable acts Junior has quietly performed in his long career.