Team USA players watch in awe as MLB-great Ken Griffey Jr. takes batting practice at World Baseball Classic
When Ken Griffey Jr. stepped into the batter’s box, even opposing pitchers were left in awe by his sweet swing. Apparently, the Hall of Famer, now in his 50s, still has not lost his touch.
It took some convincing, but Griffey, who is currently the hitting coach for Team USA, eventually decided to take some batting practice ahead of the World Baseball Classic quarter-final game against Venezuela.
Shortly after Griffey picked up a baseball bat, every player on Team USA stood around the plate to catch a glimpse of the iconic swing.
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Griffey is a seven-time Silver Slugger Award winner and last played in the big leagues in with the Seattle Mariners in 2010.
He was named to 13 All-Star teams over the course of his storied career.
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The last time Griffey was on an All-Star team was in 2007, when several Team USA players were 12-years-old or younger. Pete Alonso was 12, Kyle Tucker was 10, and Bobby Witt Jr. was seven years old.
Growing up, most of the U.S. players likely watched highlight reels of Griffey’s swing, but when the former centerfielder stepped up to the plate, they had the rare opportunity to see him hit pitches up close.
Several players had smiles on their faces as they watched in admiration at loanDepot park, the site of this year’s World Baseball Classic Championship.
“Guys were putting a lot of pressure on him,” Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout told reporters. “We wanted to see it so bad. He said, ‘Give me 10 swings, and I know I can hit one out.'”
Griffey was showered with praise when he ended that batting session with a home run.
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Team USA plays Venezuela Saturday at 7 p.m. EST.