Griffey spent 13 of his 22 years in the majors with Seattle, hitting 417 of his 630 home runs with the team. The outfielder's numbers are impressive, but he loomed over the sport in a way few have. Jayson Jenks of the Seattle Times describes Griffey's impact on baseball, writing:
For any sports fan of a certain age - somewhere between 20 and 35 - Griffey was not just a part of their childhood, he was an iconic part of it. He was the perfect combination of talent, grace and movie-star coolness. It's a combination baseball hasn't seen since, because for all the good players and accomplishments since Griffey retired, the game has yet to have another like him
The ceremony was scheduled for 30 minutes, but ran for nearly an hour, according to the Associated Press. Griffey gave an unscripted 25-minute speech that brought the outfielder and many in the sold-out crowd to tears.
Griffey's son Trey, a football player at the University of Arizona, surprised his father with a video message, telling him "I can't be more proud of you and the way you did it."