Steve Gardner, USA TODAY
Published 7:24 a.m. ET June 21, 2020
That sweet swing. That infectious smile. That cap turned backward.
They’re among the instantly recognizable qualities of Hall of Fame outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. — the subject of a new documentary that will premiere Sunday night on MLB Network.
“Junior” tells the story of Griffey Jr.’s life growing up in MLB clubhouses to being drafted first overall by the Seattle Mariners to becoming one of the greatest players of his generation.
“Playing baseball is what I wanted to do,” Griffey says. “I didn’t do it because of the money. I didn’t do it for the fame. I did it because I love baseball.”
Narrated by Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actor Sterling K. Brown, the documentary also chronicles the bond Griffey shared with his father — 19-year MLB veteran Ken Griffey Sr. — and how their relationship helped his talent flourish.
The latest installment in the “MLB Network Presents” series touches on many of Griffey’s career highlights, including his days as a high school phenom at Cincinnati’s Moeller High School, his selection by the Seattle Mariners as the No. 1 overall pick in the 1987 draft, his playoff heroics with the Mariners and his return home to Cincinnati in a 2000 trade with the Reds.
The 90-minute film also features interviews with Griffey’s former Seattle Mariners teammates Harold Reynolds, Jay Buhner, Joey Cora and Dan Wilson, his former manager Lou Piniella and Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, among others.
In addition to the “Junior” documentary, MLB Network will also air four of Griffey’s signature games and replay the 1998 and 1999 Home Run Derby as part of its Sunday programming.
Sports video of the day
Since it’s Father’s Day, why not take a trip back 30 years ago for perhaps the best father-son moment in baseball (sports?) history.
Yes, it will be part of the “Junior” documentary, but if you can’t wait … enjoy both Griffeys — 40-year-old Ken Sr. and 20-year-old Junior — homering in the same inning on Sept. 14, 1990.
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Sports on TV
Golf (live): PGA Tour RBC Heritage Classic, final round, 1 p.m. ET, NBC.
Auto racing (live): NASCAR Cup Series, GEICO 500 from Talladega Superspeedway, 3 p.m. ET, Fox.
Other (live): The 2020 ESPY Awards, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN2/ESPN Deportes.
NHL (classic): Nashville Predators at Boston Bruins from Oct. 5, 2017, 9 p.m. ET; Calgary Flames at Ottawa Senators from Feb. 24, 2019, 11 p.m. ET, NHL Network.
NBA (classic): 2013 NBA Finals Game 7, San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat, 2 p.m. ET; 1988 NBA Finals Game 7, Detroit Pistons at Los Angeles Lakers, 4 p.m. ET; 2010 NBA Finals Game 7, Boston Celtics at Los Angeles Lakers, 6 p.m. ET; 2013 NBA Finals Game 7, San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat, 8 p.m. ET; 2016 NBA Finals Game 7, Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors, 10 p.m. ET, NBA TV.
NFL (classic): 2018 Kansas City Chiefs marathon. Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers, 1 p.m. ET, Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers, 4 p.m., Chiefs vs. San Francisco 49ers, 7 p.m., Chiefs at Los Angeles Rams, 10 p.m. ET, NFL Network.
Follow Gardner on Twitter @SteveAGardner