SAFECO FIELD -- An 11-foot statue commemorating the accomplishments of Mariners legend Ken Griffey Jr. was unveiled outside the home plate entrance to Safeco Field on Thursday afternoon.
Griffey and Mariners owner John Stanton jointly removed the shroud masking the creation of sculptor Lou Cella that was installed between Wednesday night's game and Thursday's ceremony.
The 7-foot tall bronze statue on top of a 4-foot granite base shows Griffey in full follow through from his iconic swing and gazing toward a baseball en route to its resting space over the outfield wall, a feat Griffey accomplished 630 times in his 22-year major league career.
"One of the things I'm known for is my swing and I think it was pretty much going to be a given (that would be the pose)," Griffey said. "They pretty much nailed it. It was overwhelming to see something like that."
The statue is the third major recognition bestowed upon Griffey or the last 18 months. Griffey became the first Mariner to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame last January and was officially inducted in July. The Mariners then retired his No. 24 in August, becoming the first Mariner to have his number retired by the franchise.
"When people do things for you, you have to show your appreciation," Griffey said. "Seattle has gone over and above my expectations of an organization. It's been a whirlwind for 18 months - January of last year to even now - it's hard to describe. I just try to sit back and not do anything because I don't want to mess it up."
Cella, the creator of the statue, also sculpted the Dave Niehaus statue that sits out on the concourse in right field.
"It was a great honor to have the Seattle Mariners to have me to do it," Cella said. "... It's really special to me. The name really means something to the sport. And my two passions in life are sculpting and baseball so when I have the opportunity to combine those elements it really means a lot to me."
The pose was crafted after Griffey's MVP season in 1997 and includes a Mariners' 20th Anniversary patch and the MLB patch recognizing Jackie Robinson 50th Anniversary of breaking the color barrier in baseball. Griffey helped lead the charge toward all major leaguers wearing Robinson's No. 42 each year as a recognition of Robinson's trailblazing.
The Mariners are giving away 45,000 replicas of the statue at Friday night's game against the Texas Rangers. Among the 45,000 statues, 24 of them will be autographed by Griffey and handed out at random.
Photo Credit: Ken Griffey Jr. stands alongside his newly unveiled status outside of the home plate entrance of Safeco Field on April 13, 2017. (photo by Curtis Crabtree / Sports Radio 950 KJR)