Seattle Sounders FC today announced the addition of Ken Griffey Jr. and his family to the club’s Ownership Group. Griffey, a Seattle icon whose Major League Baseball career spanned 22 years – including 13 seasons with the Seattle Mariners – and saw him honored with 13 All-Star selections, 10 Gold Glove Awards and a berth in the Baseball Hall of Fame, adds his expertise as a new partner in the Rave Green.
“Ken Griffey Jr. is a name that requires no introduction, whether in Seattle or across the sports world, and we couldn’t be more proud to welcome Ken and his family into our club,” said Sounders FC Majority Owner Adrian Hanauer. “As a lifelong resident of this great city, bringing someone like Ken into Sounders FC holds a special significance to me, as he is truly a part of Seattle sports’ heart and soul. We value the contributions that he will add as a partner in our club and welcome him and his family with open arms.”
Similar to the recent announcement of Tod and Tara Leiweke joining the Rave Green’s Ownership Group, the Griffey family’s ownership stake was finalized earlier this year prior to the pandemic.
“This is a meaningful day for our entire family,” said Ken Griffey Jr. “My wife Melissa and I said that we wanted to be a part of something special, not only for ourselves, but for our kids to be proud of, and this is it. We know how much this club means to Sounders fans, and for us, this comes back to the city where it all started for our family. We are joining a first-class organization, and we are so proud to give back to the city we love. To the Seattle Sounders community: we are inspired to become part of what you have created. Like you, we are excited to get behind our incredible team as the players prepare for this year’s playoff run.”
Griffey is indeed a part of the Emerald City’s lore, beginning with his selection as the number one overall pick by the Seattle Mariners during the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft in 1987. Upon being called-up to the Mariners after two seasons with minor league affiliates, Griffey set off on what would become one of the most decorated careers in baseball history.
In his first 11 seasons with the Mariners, Griffey’s dazzling play grew to what became considered the standard of elite fielding in the 1990s, highlighted by a streak of 10 consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1990 through 1999. During this time in Seattle, he recorded 1,752 hits, 398 home runs, 1,152 RBI and 167 stolen bases. He led the American League in home runs for four seasons (1994, 1997-1999) and was voted American League MVP in 1997, all in addition to maintaining a .299 batting average during that span.
Photo courtesy of the Seattle Mariners
From 2000-2008, Griffey played for the Cincinnati Reds, adding to his superstar numbers despite injury setbacks during that period. He moved steadily up baseball’s career home run list, and earned National League Comeback Player of the Year in 2005, in addition to being named an all-time Gold Glove winner – one of nine recognized as the greatest defensive players in the last 50 years.
Following a season with the Chicago White Sox, Griffey returned to Seattle to finish his career with the Mariners, retiring in 2010. His 630 career home runs rank as seventh-most in MLB history, while he also is tied with Don Mattingly and Dale Long for the most consecutive games with a home run (eight). Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a Seattle Mariner in 2016, Griffey received 99.32% of the vote when he was named on 437 of 440 ballots, marking the highest vote percentage to gain Hall entry in the history of the honor, a record that stood until 2019 when Mariano Rivera became the first unanimously elected player. The Mariners erected a statue of Griffey outside their ballpark in 2017, where the bronze figure stands as a permanent reminder to Seattle of Griffey’s many contributions.
As an ownership partner now in Sounders FC, Griffey’s connection with the Emerald City grows stronger. He joins the rest of the Rave Green’s ownership contingent with a passion for continuing to build a successful franchise that represents the city and wider region.
Last summer, Sounders FC announced the addition of 11 families to the team’s Ownership Group. The new investors were led by former Microsoft executive Terry Myerson and his wife Katie, and included Seattle icons such as Ciara and husband Russell Wilson, Macklemore and wife Tricia Davis, and many more, creating a diverse roster of partners with direct ties to Seattle and a wealth of experience in sports, entertainment, technology, broadcast, finance and beyond. Following that initial news, the club then announced the addition of a 12th family to the Ownership Group, as current President of Business Operations Peter Tomozawa and wife Donna LeDuc officially joined the organization later in the summer.
Most recently, veteran sports executive Tod Leiweke and wife Tara were officially announced as adding ownership stakes in Sounders FC.
Griffey and his family join this group of diverse partners, adding to Sounders FC’s longstanding ownership contingent of Adrian Hanauer, Lenore Hanauer, Drew Carey, Jody Allen and Paul Barry. More information on the club’s full Ownership Group can be found via SoundersFC.com.