While waiting in line for airport security, Ken Griffey, Sr. took the time to chat on the phone with Babes Love Baseball. No, I'm not kidding. The three-time All Star and two-time World Champion is pretty busy these days. He's not only a batting coach for the Reds single-A affiliate Dayton Dragons, but he's also joined Depend in spreading awareness about prostate cancer.
And now, for your reading enjoyment, I bring to you my attempt at interviewing a baseball great without completely shrieking like an excited 4-year-old. Enjoy.
Babes Love Baseball: Mr. Griffey, tell me a bit about the Depend campaign against Prostate Cancer.
Ken Griffey, Sr.: As a five year prostate cancer survivor, I've been doing work with Depend to raise awareness, to get people screened early, and to increase their chances of survival. I've been doing this for about three years now.
BLB: Five years? Wow! Congratulations! I know we're supposed to be talking about your work with Depend and Prostate Cancer, but I'm dying to ask you a few baseball questions. Is that okay?
KGSr: Of course, I can always talk about baseball.
BLB: Great! First off, what was it like to play with Junior?
KGSr: I had to look at it like he was 12 years old playing ball in the back yard. It was the only way to handle that. He got there (the Majors) so quick, and he was a contender I had to play with/against. But playing with him was a highlight of my career and very fun.
BLB: And what was it like to hit back to back bombs with him (Junior) on Father's Day?
KGSr: Mine went farther. (laughs) He was determined to be the first father/son duo to do it - he had planned to do it even before we did. I had no idea, and I found out later that he had planned on being the first father/son to hit back to back homeruns. And he did it.
BLB: So, is that your best baseball memory?
KGSr: Well... yes that, and playing in the World Series for the first time in '75. And making it again the next year in '76. And winning them both. That with the back to back homeruns.
BLB: Who was the toughest pitcher for you to hit?
KGSr: Bob Shirley. He played for San Diego. He was hard on me. Not on everyone, just me. I just couldn't hit him well.
BLB: Was there one pitch in particular that was tough from him?
KGSr: No, he was just tough for me to hit in general. I just couldn't hit him well.
BLB: Do you have any regrets or things you wish you had done differently with your career?
KGSr: None. I've been very blessed with my career. I've been involved in historic events, and had the opportunity to play with my son. I wouldn't trade my career with anyone.
BLB: Who is your favorite team to watch these days?
KGSr: Well, I'm still working with the Reds, and I like to watch what they're doing. They're going to the post-season, that will be fun.
BLB: Think they'll clinch tonight?
KGSr: I hope they will this week. They've got some great pitchers. They'll do it.
BLB: Any predictions for the post-season?
KGSr: None. It's hard when you have short series, they're tough to predict. Whoever goes into it hitting the best, that's who will win it.
BLB: I've gotta ask.. How's Junior doing with retiring this year? Is he bummed he didn't finish out the year? (I know I was!)
KGSr: He's doing fine. He's coaching his son's football team, and he's happy. And if he's happy, I'm happy.
BLB: Ok, to why we're talking in the first place. What are you up to with Depend and all of your work these days?
KGSr: I just want to raise awareness and get people screened early. Getting screened early is key for survival. You detect it early, you up the survival rate. I'm also working with the Reds, I'm a hitting coach for their young kids in Dayton, OH. I'm busy, and it's good.