Ken Griffey Jr has admitted that he owns over 100 copies of his own coveted 1989 Upper Deck rookie card.
This piece of baseball memorabilia usually fetches over $200 on eBay. However, Griffey has now revealed that he wasn’t actually wearing a Seattle Mariners uniform in the image and that it was photoshopped.
Griffey told The Sporting News, “That baseball card was me in a San Bernardino uniform, they just photoshopped it.”
He then explained, “If you notice, the Mariners had the blue stripe down the center of the shirt. That one doesn’t have it. And if you look at the hat closely enough, you’ll see the trim of the red where the yellow is.”
Back in 2009, Sports Illustrated unveiled the story behind the original photo of Griffey that graces the 1989 card.
At the time they reported:
“The image of Griffey that became part of collecting lore, with his blue turtleneck and ‘fro-mullet tucked beneath his cap, was doctored.
In his home office in Corona, Calif., 75 miles north of Upper Deck’s headquarters, Tom Geideman hands me a Polaroid that had been sitting atop a binder of Griffey cards and says, ‘This—it’s cut off a little bit—but this is the original photo.’
Griffey’s wearing the navy-blue hat of Seattle’s Class A affiliate, the San Bernardino Spirit, whose logo is a silver S over a red star.
The picture was taken by the late V.J. Lovero, an Angels team photographer who shot Griffey and his father for a Sports Illustrated feature in 1988.
Lovero sold one of his extras to Upper Deck, which airbrushed the hat royal blue, erased the star, made the S yellow and—ta-da!—completed the makeover.”
You can check out an image of Ken Griffey Jr’s 1989 baseball cards below:
Griffey added that he is still confronted by people on a daily basis who tell him that they possess his rookie card, and some even bring it to his youngest son’s baseball games as they hope that he will be there to sign it.
“They’ll bring it,” he noted, “but the funny thing is to see the look on my kids’ faces. When they see the hair on my head, and the lack of hair, the shaved sides, but not a Mohawk look. The hairstyles are what really get them.”
Griffey, whose father Ken Griffey Sr was also a baseball legend, has also seen his oldest son develop into a terrific athlete. Trey Griffin currently plays football for the University of Arizona’s Wildcats football team, and on December 31, 2013, he scored his first career touchdown.
[Image Via Wikimedia Commons]