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Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza enter Baseball Hall of Fame on an emotional day

Posted by Betonline team on 7/28/2016 12:47:12 AM
Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza enter Baseball Hall of Fame on an emotional day

The Gifted One and the Grinder are officially in Baseball’s Hall of Fame

That became official recently when Ken Griffey Jr., a former No. 1 pick of the Seattle Mariners and son of Ken Griffey Sr., gave his acceptance speech. And it became official when former catcher Mike Piazza, a 62nd round draft pick, talked about how he grinded out every year of his career.

Griffey, also known as The Kid, playfully turned his baseball cap backwards at the end of his speech, a reminder of the days he angered baseball purists with his antics. And Piazza cried his way through the day.

“They each took different roads that not many have ever traveled,” former Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Eric Karros told ESPN. “Mike was the late-round draft pick with people doubting him along the way. Junior had the expectations of having a successful big-league dad. But they both did it on their own. There weren’t any shortcuts. I think that added a human quality to the display of emotion you saw here.”

Both men broke down during their speeches. Piazza talked about the sound relationship with his father and former Dodgers coach Reggie Smith. Piazza didn’t think he could cut it so he got away from the game while in the minors only to come back.

Griffey was told not to look into the crowd at his sons Trey and Tevin and daughter Taryn. He did and broke down less than a minute into his speech while thanking the Baseball Hall of Fame for inducting him. It was good to see because the media and fans often saw the hard-edged side of Griffey.

“That’s probably the first time in a long time I’ve seen Junior come out of his security blanket and lose his composure,” said former teammate Jay Buhner. “It was good to see him let his hair down, per se, and let the emotions flow. I love it. How can you not get choked up talking about your family? I would have been crying like a little baby if I was up there.”

Griffey had one of the smoothest swings in baseball. He also played outfield with his father. Hit 630 home runs, had 1,836 RBIs and made 13 All-Star teams -- 10 in Seattle. He becomes the first Mariner to don the baseball cap in the HOF.

Piazza won 10 Silver Slugger Awards and was a 12-time All-Star. His 396 home runs as a catcher are a Major League record for that position. He hit 427 overall and batted .308.

Piazza made his mark after baseball resumed following the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center with a two-run home run for the New York Mets that beat Atlanta, 3-2, in the first game back. He is often stopped by people to talk about that moment, but Piazza said the first responders, firefighters and police were the real heroes that day.

He simply provided some entertainment.


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