Mariners retire Junior's number, and a statue for Griffey is also on the way

Saturday night in Seattle, the Mariners retired uniform No. 24 in honor of new Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. Junior is the first Mariners player to have his number retired, and No. 24 joins Jackie Robinson's universally retired No. 42 in the Safeco Field rafters.

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Ken Griffey Jr.'s No. 24 was retired on Saturday night. USATSI

Here is Griffey's emotional speech during the number retirement ceremony:

I don't think it's hyperbole to say Griffey helped save baseball in Seattle. Along with Edgar Martinez, Randy Johnson, Jay Buhner and others, Griffey put the Mariners firmly on the map in the mid-1990s and helped the team push forward and get Safeco Field built.

Because of that, the Mariners have much more planned for Griffey than a simple jersey retirement. They announced plans to erect a Ken Griffey Jr. statue outside Safeco Field.

The Mariners currently have a statue of Hall of Famer broadcaster Dave Niehaus at Safeco Field. Griffey will be the first player honored with a statue at the ballpark. I can't think of a more deserving player than Griffey. He was everyone's favorite player even as he crushed their favorite teams.

Griffey was voted into the Hall of Fame over the winter and was officially inducted a few weeks ago. He appeared on 99.3 percent of the ballots, the most all-time.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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