Major League Baseball has existed for 120 years, and in that span, a grand total of 259 father-son combos have made it to the bigs. However, it’s hard to argue anyone did it cooler than Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr. thanks in no small part to the time they hit back-to-back home runs.
Baseball and dads go hand in hand; you can tell a lot about a father-son relationship based on whether or not there were a lot of games of catch growing up (if so, you probably had a good dad. If not, you probably grew up with an absent one and/or a lot of money).
Now, it’s one thing to follow in your dad’s footsteps and make it to the MLB, but playing the same professional sport at the same time—never mind on the same team—is an incredibly rare occurrence. It makes sense; most people won’t start having kids until their mid-20s (at the earliest), and you probably need to stick around for around 20 years to have a chance of playing alongside your offspring.
In 1990, Ken Griffey Jr. and Sr. became the first father-son duo to appear together on an MLB roster (they remain the only ones). “Junior” (as he was frequently referred to) was a phenom who was selected by the Mariners with the top overall pick in the 1987 MLB Draft, and Senior joined him in Seattle after signing with the Mariners a few years later.
It was an awesome story on its own, but one that became the stuff of legend thanks to what unfolded on September 14th, 1990.
The Night Ken Griffey Sr. & Jr. made history with back-to-back home runs
On August 21, 1990, the Griffeys (who were 40 and 20 at the time) both suited up for the Mariners for the first time, and fans were treated to a pretty cool development in the first inning when they both reached base on back-to-back singles and eventually scored.
However, that has nothing on what transpired when the Mariners faced off against the Angels a couple of weeks later.
At this point, Senior was in the twilight of an MLB career that began when he joined the Reds in 1973 and would ultimately span 19 seasons. Junior, on the other hand, had more than lived up to the hype surrounding him when he was drafted and had already cemented himself as one of the most electric young players in the league.
By that point, the Mariners were well out of playoff contention, and the decision to consistently place the Griffeys next to each other in the batting order was as promotional as it was strategical. It was pretty cool to see them on base at the same time, but you know what’s even cooler? Watching them trot around the basepaths one after another.
That’s what happened in the first inning of the showdown between the Angels and the Mariners on September 14th. With a man on first, Griffey Sr. stepped up to the plate to face off against Kirk McCaskill, and after falling into an 0-2 hole, he knocked a home run straight into centerfield.
It was a good start for the Mariners—and one that got even better when Griffery Jr. came out for his first at-bat of the game. By now, you can probably guess what he did, as he gave Seattle a 3-0 lead with a dinger of his own.
Like father, like son.
This was such a cool moment for the Griffeys, but I don’t think you even have to be a baseball fan to appreciate it. To see a father-son duo compete at the highest level and hit a home run one after another is truly one of the best moments in sports.
It’s hard to imagine we’ll ever see anything like this again. LeBron James is making a huge push for it to happen with his son Bronny, so while seeing them connect on an alley-oop would be pretty awesome, only time will tell if it actually comes to fruition (and, to be honest, I don’t think that has anything on back-to-back home runs).