Final thoughts from Griffey after his HOF weekend

Aug 12, 2013, 8:11 AM | Updated: 11:38 am

By Shannon Drayer

With Ken Griffey Jr. now a member of the Mariners’ Hall of Fame, the next stop for him will be Cooperstown. Induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame has never been something Griffey has been comfortable talking about, but for the first time since I have covered him he seemed to open up a bit about his thoughts on his place in baseball during a conversation I had with him this weekend.

I have had numerous conversations with Griffey both on and off the record over the past five years and when I asked him this weekend where he saw himself in 10 years, he seemed to open up a bit more than I have heard in the past about being in the company of baseball’s greats.

“I am not comparing myself to Willie Mays, because he is the ultimate,” Griffey said haltingly, his voice turning quieter than earlier in the interview. “When him and Hank (Aaron) step into a room you just look at him and go [eyes widen], like I do. But when they mention your name in the same breath with those guys, it’s like an out-of-body experience. You look at like, really, I did that? You are putting me with these guys? And you shake your head because you still think it’s a dream.

“And these guys have done and have gone through way more things than I ever will. But one day,” he said before a long pause, “I’ll be close – close but not close to where they are.”

When I said the idea that he had earned a place next to them seemed to be settling in he quickly denied and tried to deflect with humor. Once again, he was uncomfortable when forced to talk about himself.

“No, nah, no,” he said quickly, wheels spinning to find something to lighten the mood after he had turned serious for a minute. “Just try not to come to grips with reality sometimes. Like, I’m just going to slide over here (to the side of the others).

The podcast for my interview – which included Junior’s thoughts on the game today, who he watches and what he would like his legacy to be – can be found here.

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