Fri Dec 02 12:05pm EST
Some 20 or so years later, The Kid is the one greasing the wheels for a fame that his offspring might have achieved on his own accord anyway. High school senior Trey Griffey was named to the Under Armour All-American Game on Wednesday, moving one step closer to making it big as a wide receiver. Though his father and grandfather made their names in baseball, the family legacy is drawing Trey plenty of attention as he sets to graduate from Dr. Phillips High in Orlando and move on to the college ranks.
What's interesting is that Ken Griffey Jr. has tried to stay in the background as much as possible during his son's career, which has attracted scholarship offers from Michigan State, Iowa State and Washington State and interest from Oregon, Tennessee and UCLA. Is it because Junior experienced this same sort of thing being Ken Griffey Sr.'s son in Cincinnati and knows the type of shadow that Trey is currently living in? That would be a good guess and perhaps it was the reason why dear old dad was hesitant to be interviewed after Wednesday's announcement.
"I tried to sit back there with y'all, they told me to go up front," said Junior. "I didn't catch one pass, I didn't run one route, I didn't do anything. As a dad I'm very proud of him. He's the one who put in all the hard work."
If you're a regular reader of Cam Smith's excellent Prep Rally blog here on Rivals/Yahoo! Sports, you know that Trey has made plenty of headlines. In early November, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound receiver set a school record with 13 catches for 188 yards in a win that clinched a district title for his school. He finished the year with 72 catches for 970 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Trey prefers to stay as quiet as his dad did in his early playing days. He's yet to make a college choice and as a mid-level recruit — Rivals has him pegged as a three-star (out of five) prospect — his performance in the Jan. 5 Under Armour game at Tropicana Field could certainly help expand his choices. We'll have to wait and see where he ends up.
A few people have noted that Trey's success has made them feel old and I certainly agree for a couple of reasons. The first is that "The Kid" of my baseball generation has a kid who's about to become a successful adult. The second is that it seems like Trey has always been around. Junior was always very proud of his children — he has a younger daughter and son, too — and they were never far away in the clubhouse or stands. (A search of the Associated Press photo archive produces a full page of Ken and Trey photos.) Heck, even Trey's birth in 1994 was big news as then-Seattle Mariners GM Woody Woodward reportedly sent the newborn a contract that was dated for 2012.
For the first time, I know what it must have felt like to see one of the tykes who tagged along with the Big Red Machine team become a star in his own right.