SHREVEPORT, La. — Ken Griffey Jr. hit 630 home runs over his brilliant 22-year career. He was a 13-time All-Star, won 10 Gold Gloves and was the 1997 American League Most Valuable Player.
And during all that time, he never felt as proud as he did Tuesday. “The Kid” watched on the sideline as his son, Trey, hauled in his first two career touchdown passes for the Arizona Wildcats in their 42-19 win over Boston College in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl.
“All you want is to see him compete and have fun and play the game that he’s passionate about,” Ken told the Star. “So just to see him go out there and have so much fun means so much to not only me, but our entire family.”
Griffey was actually a credentialed member of the media for Tuesday’s game. He was taking photos for ESPN.
“I’ve been shooting things for a while,” Griffey said. “I have a couple of friends at ESPN and I just asked them if it would be possible to shoot for them and they said yeah.”
Father got shots of both of son’s touchdown catches in Tuesday’s rout.
Starting his fourth straight game, Griffey caught a 25-yard score from quarterback B.J. Denker with 30 seconds left in the first half to push Arizona’s lead to 21-6.
He scored Arizona’s final points of the game with a three-yard grab early in the fourth quarter.
The redshirt freshman from Orlando, Fla., had three catches for 41 yards and the two touchdowns.
He finished the season with 14 catches for 170 yards. He didn’t register a single catch in the team’s first nine games, but slid into the starting lineup against Washington State with David Richards battling a groin injury.
“I was working my butt off from the start of the season,” Trey said. “The coaches just told me to be patient. Coach (Rod) Smith, Coach (Tony) Dews, Coach (Calvin) Magee, kept telling me ‘Your time is coming, your time is coming.’
“My time came when we played Washington State and I wanted to make the best of it.”
His production was loud on Tuesday, but he never will be.
With a soft-spoken tone, Trey doesn’t have much to say, especially if he’s the topic.
“He’s so quiet,” Ken said. “I was the same way when I was 19. We grew up in a household where it’s better for someone else to talk about you than you talk about yourself. He’ll talk about his sister and brother all day. But then he gets really quiet when he talks about himself.”
Trey said that’s something he’s learned from his dad.
“We just don’t like talking about ourselves,” Trey said. “We don’t like to be big-headed about things. Just being around my dad and seeing how generous he was, he was never someone that thought the world owed him something.
“I just want to be like him.”
Ken went to all of the UA’s road games this season and — being the Nike man he is — also attended the Oregon game at Arizona Stadium in November. So watching his son play in person is nothing new.
But Ken Griffey Sr., who had a 19-year career of his own and produced 2,143 hits, was at Tuesday’s game. It marked the first time he’s ever seen his grandson play college ball in person.
“It was great to have him here,” Trey said. “He got to see me have fun and do what I love.”
All of the Griffeys will have even more reason to come to Tucson next year. Trey will be just a sophomore and his sister, Taryn, signed with coach Niya Butts and will play women’s basketball at Arizona.