Ken Griffey Jr. was long considered one of the best players and athletes with one of the sweetest swings in all of Major League Baseball.
His career lasted from the late 1980s all the way to 2010 as he retired with his original team, the Seattle Mariners.
Griffey Jr. put up 630 home runs during his time with Seattle, good for seventh all-time in Major League Baseball history behind Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols among other top all-time players.
Despite his immense home run power, Griffey Jr. was never really known as one of the biggest or strongest players in the game.
Listed at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, Griffey was built more like an NFL wide receiver than a linebacker or offensive lineman, as were some of the greatest sluggers of his era like Barry Bonds and McGwire.
Griffey’s greatness as a home run hitter became lost in the shuffle as Bonds, McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and other players who thrived during the “steroids era” took center stage in the late 90s, redefining what was possible in a single season.
Recently, Griffey Jr. joined Shannon Sharpe, the host of FS1’s popular ‘Undisputed’ show, on his podcast ‘Club Shay Shay’ to speak about his time during the steroids era.
Griffey Jr. explained to the former Denver Broncos NFL tight end that he was always told by his father that he would never be the “biggest, strongest or fastest,” so taking steroids was essentially off his radar screen because of that mentality.
Griffey Jr. Shares the Approach He Learned From His Father
Griffey Jr. said he didn’t realize what was going on during the steroids era at first and that his mind needed a little time to process what was really going on.
He added he was mainly focused on outworking his opponent based on what his dad, a former MLB All-Star himself, taught him.
“My dad was always saying, hey, you’re not going to be the biggest, you’re not going to be the strongest, you’re not going to be the fastest,” Griffey, Jr. said. “Just don’t let nobody outwork you.”
“At the time, did you know it was happening (regarding steroids)?” Sharpe then asked the Donora, Pennsylvania native.
“No…like everybody else…You see it, I was like, ‘Huh?'”
“When they read the Mitchell Report, I was like, ‘He? Him?’
“A good, stiff wind, and he could be (out of) the ballpark.”
Check out the full interview with Sharpe and Griffey Jr. below, during which he expounds on his time chasing championships with the Mariners, Reds and other teams, as well as whether or not the steroids era still bothers him due to the attention and accolades others received during it.
“It used to (make me upset), but now, people see that, okay, look what he did, and that’s what I want my kids to be like.”
“When I retired, all my friends said, ‘Now you can use it for cosmetic purposes.'”
Watch the interview here: