After a decade away from baseball, Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. announced his return to the game and is rejoining the Seattle Mariners. However, instead of getting back on the field, “The Kid” is now the newest full-fledged member of their ownership team.
“It was just a conversation, and it just kept snowballing, and then finally I was able to do what I need to do,” Griffey said about his venture with the Mariners. “So it wasn’t like I woke up and said, ‘You know what, I think I want to do this now.’ Basic conversation. What’s next and I was able to pull the trigger this year. I had to wait my turn like everybody else.”
Griffey said that he’d been contemplating some sort of move towards owning a sports team since his retirement in 2010. And so, with the blessing of his wife Melissa, who was a former soccer player herself, the 10x MLB All-Star took his first step towards that dream with Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders last year. The list of other notables who were already part of the Sounders ownership team includes Russell Wilson and wife Ciara, comedian Drew Carey, and Macklemore.
“I wanted to be a part of something, not only for myself, but for my kids to be proud of,” Griffey Jr. said at the time. “I don’t play games to be competitive, I play to win. I want the Sounders to be compared to the Yankees. Twenty-seven, 28 championships.”
However, joining the Sounders’ ownership team only increased Griffey’s appetite for a more robust portfolio. He reached out to his superstar friends like Michael Jordan and Derek Jeter for advice on how to move forward with investing.
“I’ve known Michael for 30 years, and you look at certain things that he’s created for everybody else, it’s almost like you look and say there’s the blueprint,” Griffey said. “You may not be able to match that, but you can look at it and have an idea of what he’s done over the years and how he’s grown an empire.”
Griffey played 13 of his 22 seasons with the Mariners, and although his birth certificate may name Sonora, PA as his birthplace, Griffey will always be one of The Emerald City’s most favored sons. Mariners chairman John Stanton spoke on the value that Griffey’s on-the-field experience will have in the boardroom.
“The strength of any partnership is based on the breadth of perspectives of the partners,” Stanton said. “All of our partners are passionate fans. But Ken brings a unique perspective to this partnership because he’s played the game at a Hall of Fame level, and he’s remained involved in the game.”
Griffey acknowledged the same, and he believes that he can serve as a bridge between the players and the execs as well. “It just gives a different viewpoint that maybe they haven’t thought of,” he said. “But you do have some smart people in the room and you got some people who care.”
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