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Private Stache: Ken Griffey Jr. Has A Senior Moment

As keeper of Sports Illustrated's indispensable Vault, Andy Gray spends a lot of his time sifting through the sports photography of another time, when athletes wore short shorts and facial hair, and everyone looked vaguely uncomfortable. Here is one such photo.

Ken Griffey Jr. finally awoke from his slumber to deliver a game-winning hit for the Mariners last night. Things were much different in 1988, when the 18-year-old Griffey was trying to fill the enormous footprints of his father, a 15-year veteran. Hank Hersch visited Junior, then playing Single-A ball in San Bernardino, and came back with this report on the Griffeys:

The father smiles and shakes his head. He has given his firstborn much in life, including a gift that will keep on giving: his talent. When his career ends, Ken will have around 2,000 major league hits. Kenny has taken that talent and amplified it. As the game between San Bernardino and Palm Springs begins, Kenny, who plays centerfield for the Spirit (which was 7-0 then and 15-9 at the end of last week), leads the California League in batting (with a .520 average), home runs (4) and RBIs (11). Last season, just before Kenny graduated from Moeller High in Cincinnati, the Seattle Mariners made him the No. 1 draft pick in the nation and signed him for a $160,000 bonus. Less one jockstrap, two pairs of sanitary hose and a Cincinnati Reds warmup jacket, that was $160,000 more than his father signed for as a 29th-round choice in 1969.


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