Ken Griffey Jr. honored to throw out first pitch at Mariners’ home opener

Apr 8, 2016, 6:03 PM | Updated: Apr 9, 2016, 10:43 am
Ken Griffey Jr. decided not to throw the first pitch from the mound as a show of respect to the pitchers. (AP)

A new era for the Scott Servais-led Mariners started this season, but they made sure to give a nod to their past with their home opener.

Soon-to-be Baseball Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. is in town to throw out the first pitch to Friday’s game against Oakland, marking the first of at least two trips he’ll make to Safeco Field in 2016, a year that will be highlighted by his induction in Cooperstown in July.

Drayer: Taijuan Walker prepared to handle emotions of home opener

Griffey, who will have his No. 24 retired by the entire Mariners’ organization in August, was clearly happy to be in Seattle for the home opener.

“It’s like being a kid in a candy store,” he said of being asked to throw out the first pitch, which he called an honor. “For me, it’s just try not to embarrass myself. Try not to bounce it.”

He mentioned that he decided not throw from the mound as a show of respect for Mariners starting pitcher Taijuan Walker.

“I wouldn’t want a pitcher in there tearing up my batter’s box so I feel like the starting pitcher should have the first toe on the rubber,” he said.

It’s been three months since Griffey received the highest vote percentage in the history of the Hall of Fame, and he said everything’s going well even though the Hall has taken some of his personal belongings for display.

“I still don’t like to share,” he quipped. “The Hall of Fame has been pretty cool about not wanting to bother me (though).”

As for his induction speech, it’s still a work in progress.

“I haven’t put pen to paper … but I do have some things I want to talk about.”

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Ken Griffey Jr. honored to throw out first pitch at Mariners’ home opener