What in the world does this rookie card have to do with the AOPA Hat in the Ring Society?
The rookie card signaled the beginning of a baseball career which included the following superstar numbers:
- 13× All-Star (1990–2000, 2004, 2007)
- AL MVP (1997)
- 10× Gold Glove Award (1990–1999)
- 7× Silver Slugger Award (1991, 1993, 1994, 1996–1999)
- MLB All-Star Game MVP (1992)
- NL Comeback Player of the Year (2005)
- 4× AL home run champion (1994, 1997–1999)
- AL RBI champion (1997)
- 3× Home Run Derby Winner (1994, 1998, 1999)
- Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame
- Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame
- Major League Baseball All-Century Team
Yes, that’s Ken Griffey, Jr. and his father (Senior) gave him some impressive athletic genes and taught him how to play the game right (or left, some consider him to be the best left-handed hitter of all time). Ken Griffey, Sr. also endowed his son with an interest in aviation. The elder, a pilot took his 14 year old son for his first flight in the paternal plane. Junior earned his PPL at age 36. He now owns and flies his own Cirrus SR22T (see below picture of KG, Jr. with his plane). His passion for GA flying is exhibited in the following quote:
“This is the way of the future…People are going to fly more because they know, ‘I can get here, and it’s cheaper than being on the airport, going to a commercial flight. I can be home when I want; I’m not bound to their schedule. It’s a freedom that, once you get it, you don’t want to give that back.”
The Hat in the Ring Society is an AOPA organization of committed group of pilots who support the work of the AOPA Foundation’s mission to promote aviation safety and education and to protect the freedom to fly. They “throw their hat in the ring” and support the AOPA Foundation through charitable donations. These pilots join together under the Hat in the Ring banner because they believe that aviation safety, education and preserving Americans’ freedom to fly are worthy causes. Their work includes providing no-cost safety programs to thousands of pilots each year. Society members also play a leading role in supporting programs that encourage more people to fly and preserve community airports across the country. They also help fund grants to aviation nonprofit organizations that are using aviation to provide assistance to those in need.
Griffey, Jr. was named the Honorary Co-Chairman of this prestigious group. His predecessors include actors Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman and Chris Meloni, country music star Dierks Bentley, author Stuart Woods, aerobatic champ and AOPA Ambassador Michael Goulian and comedian Dave Coulier. That’s a Hall of Fame of a diverse sort.
Expectations are that he’ll hit one out of the airpark.