Ken Griffey Jr. Receives Baseball’s Historic Achievement Award
ARLINGTON, Texas – Ken Griffey Jr. was presented with the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award on Sunday in an off-field ceremony before Game 4 of the World Series.
Griffey became just the 12th person to receive the award, which was created in 1998 to recognize achievements and contributions of historical significance.
Griffey was a 13-time All-Star in his 22 major league seasons for the Mariners (1989-99, 2009-10), Reds (2000-08) and White Sox (2008). He hit 630 career home runs, won 10 Gold Gloves and was the 1997 AL MVP.
It was also Griffey who initially had the idea to wear No. 42 on Jackie Robinson Day.
“He asked my permission to do that, and I of course granted it. It told me a lot, however, about Ken, about how much he understood the history, how much he understood the impact of Jackie Robinson,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “I’ve often gotten credit for something, but really he made a phone call to me on a Sunday night at home that I’ll never forget. So with Ken leading the way, it began to catch on with other players.”
Now all on-field personnel in baseball wear No. 42 once a season, a tradition Selig said will continue “at least as long as I’m around.”
The Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award was last given in 2007, when Rachel Robinson was honored for her work to preserve the legacy of her late husband, Jackie.
In a statement, Selig said: “Ken Griffey Jr. was a gifted all-around player with a perfect swing, a brilliant glove and a childlike joy for the game. From the time he was just 19, Ken represented Major League Baseball with excellence and grace, and he was one of our sport’s greatest ambassadors not only in Seattle and Cincinnati, but also around the world. I am most appreciative for all of Ken’s contributions to our national pastime.”
The trophy, which stands 12 inches tall, has a sterling silver base with a baseball mounted at the top. The words “Commissioner’s Historic Achievement” are engraved around the base of the trophy with the Major League Baseball silhouetted batter logo above the type.