Ken Griffey Jr. joins Seattle Sounders ownership group

MLB Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. and his family join ownership group for the Seattle Sounders.

On Tuesday, Seattle Sounders FC announced the addition of Ken Griffey Jr. and his family to the MLS franchise’s ownership group. According to reports, the Griffey family’s ownership stake was finalized prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is a meaningful day for our entire family,” said Ken Griffey Jr. “My wife Melissa and I said that we wanted to be a part of something special, not only for ourselves, but for our kids to be proud of, and this is it. We know how much this club means to Sounders fans, and for us, this comes back to the city where it all started for our family. We are joining a first-class organization, and we are so proud to give back to the city we love.”

This partnership is fitting, of course, for the former Seattle Mariners superstar and infamous Seattle icon. Griffey Jr., a 2016 inductee to baseball’s Hall of Fame, spent 13 of his 22 MLB seasons with the Mariners. The accolades for Griffey Jr.’s hall of fame career are resounding.

The soon-to-be 51-year-old won 10 Gold Glove awards, was honored with 13 All-Star Game appearances and took home the 1997 American League MVP.

Sounders FC Majority Owner Adrian Hanauer is just as excited for Griffey Jr. to join the club as Seattle fans are.

“Ken Griffey Jr. is a name that requires no introduction, whether in Seattle or across the sports world, and we couldn’t be more proud to welcome Ken and his family into our club. As a lifelong resident of this great city, bringing someone like Ken into Sounders FC holds a special significance to me, as he is truly a part of Seattle sports’ heart and soul,” said Hanauer.

Griffey Jr. is not the lone superstar, both on and off the court, to join the Sounders’ ownership group. The group also features other notable celebrities such as former Microsoft executive Terry Myerson and his wife Katie, and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife, Grammy Award-winning singer Ciara.

The Seattle Sounders were founded in 2007, and since their inaugural match in 2009 have won the U.S. Open Cup four times and the MLS Cup twice, in 2016 and 2019.

Griffey Jr. joins a growing list of former athletes and celebrities to transition from retirement into team ownership. Notably, Michael Jordan acts as the principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets, LeBron James owns a minority stake in the English Premier League’s Liverpool F.C., and Derek Jeter is a co-owner of the Miami Marlins.