Griffey finally gets 500th homer

Posted: Monday, June 21, 2004

ST. LOUIS Ken Griffey Jr. trotted around the bases as if it were just another home run. It was anything but that.

Griffey hit a 2-2 fastball from Matt Morris into the right-field stands to lead off the sixth inning Sunday, securing a spot in the record books as the 20th player with 500 homers.

The star center fielder ended a frustrating stretch with the swing, which helped the Cincinnati Reds beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-0. At 34, he became the sixth-youngest player to reach the milestone.

Griffey, who had been stuck on No. 499 for a week, took a few extra seconds to watch his drive fly into the seats, then dropped his bat and slowly trotted around the bases with his 19th homer of the season.

The base coaches simply shook Griffey's hand as he passed by. When Griffey crossed the plate, he tapped fists with teammate

Adam Dunn, who then patted Griffey on the helmet. All of his teammates then came out on the field to congratulate him after the historic homer.

Griffey then went to a box next to the Reds' dugout and hugged his father, Ken Griffey Sr., and children.

Griffey, the first to reach 500 in a Cincinnati uniform, got a warm ovation from a sellout crowd of 45,620 on Lou Brock bobblehead day. He then received a standing ovation as he ran out to the field before the bottom of the sixth, responding with a wave of his cap.

Before Griffey reached center field, Reds relievers came out of the bullpen and congratulated him.

Jung Keun Bong (1-1) allowed three hits in six scoreless innings and three relievers finished a combined four-hit shutout to end the Reds' nine-game road losing streak. The slump was the team's longest since they dropped 10 in a row from June 1-24, 1998.

The Reds, who got a three-run homer from Jason LaRue in the fourth, also averted a three-game sweep.



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