Happy Father’s Day: A look back at Ken Griffey Jr.’s 500th home run

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 13: Ken Griffey Jr. (R) hugs his father Ken Griffey Sr. after throwing out the first pitch prior to the Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders at the Great American Ball Park on July 13, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 13: Ken Griffey Jr. (R) hugs his father Ken Griffey Sr. after throwing out the first pitch prior to the Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders at the Great American Ball Park on July 13, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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Ken Griffey Jr. gave his dad a Father’s Day present he’ll never forget. On Father’s Day in 2004, Junior hit his 500th career home run with his dad in attendance.

On Father’s Day 2004, Ken Griffey Jr. gave his dad a Father’s Day gift that Ken Griffey Sr. will never forget. Junior knocked his 500th career home run over the right field fence at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on June 20, 2004. Let’s revisit that moment.

Matt Morris, the veteran right-hander for St. Louis, was on the bump for the Cardinals to start the 6th inning. He had already surrendered a 3-run shot to Reds’ catcher Jason LaRue in the 4th inning.

Ken Griffey Jr., who hadn’t hit a home run since the Sunday before in Cleveland, stepped into the batter’s box. Wiggling the bat above his left shoulder, as he routinely did, Junior awaited the first pitch of the inning from Morris.

Morris kicked his left leg and dealt an inning-opening pitch to the Reds’ center fielder. Griffey, who had a sacrifice-fly RBI earlier in the game, wasn’t going to let this one stay in the ballpark. Griffey made contact with the baseball and lifted it into the seats beyond the right field wall.

Every fan in Busch Stadium, friend and foe, arose to their feet and gave Junior a standing ovation as he rounded the bases.

When he arrived back to home plate, he was greeted by fellow slugger Adam Dunn, and then shook hands with all of his teammates as they poured out of the visitor’s dugout.

After receiving congratulations from his teammates, Griffey made his way towards the stands where his family was seated and embraced his father Ken Griffey Sr. Griffey Sr. had played 19 years in the majors, and 11 of them were with the Cincinnati Reds.

Junior got a hug from his kids, Trey and Taryn, before removing his helmet and turning to the crowd of 45,620 who’d come out to the ballpark that Father’s Day.

With that blast, “The Kid”, as he was often referred to, became the 20th member of the 500 home run in Major League Baseball. Since that time, Frank Thomas, Gary Sheffield, David Ortiz, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez have joined Junior in that elusive club.

After Griffey’s 500th home run, he would go 13 games and 46 at-bats before hitting No. 501 against the Brewers in Milwaukee.

Junior sent his dad home happy that Father’s Day. Reds fans went home happy too, as Cincinnati defeated St. Louis 6-0.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there today.