McCaskill 'amazed' Griffeys hit back-to-back HRs

Pitcher who allowed consecutive homers to father and son recalls rare history

January 20th, 2016

CHICAGO -- If you happen to run into Kirk McCaskill at the Hilton Chicago next weekend, when the right-handed hurler returns for SoxFest, don't feel bad about addressing the time he surrendered back-to-back homers to Ken Griffey and new Hall of Famer Ken Griffey, Jr.
It ranks as one of the more memorable moments from his 12-year-career.
"You know, I'm not embarrassed talking about it. I'm not embarrassed that it happened," McCaskill told during a phone interview from San Diego, where he's the baseball coach for Torrey Pines High School. "People want to tread around it, walk on eggshells around it. I don't at all.
"I'm amazed that it happened. To me, it's truly a singular event in the history of baseball. It will never happen again. So when you look at it from that perspective, how many things in the history of the universe have happened one time?"

With Griffey Jr. having just set a record by receiving 99.3 percent of the vote as a first-ballot selection to the Hall of Fame, the moment has been revisited frequently of late. It occurred in the first inning at Anaheim Stadium on Sept. 14, 1990, and it's the only time in Major League history a father and son have gone back-to-back.
Harold Reynolds opened the game by drawing a walk, and Griffey, the elder, followed with a home run on an 0-2 pitch to left-center. McCaskill quipped that he's still trying to figure out why they threw a change-up down the middle of the plate to "a 40-year-old man."
Griffey Jr. connected on a 3-0 pitch, going the opposite way like his father. In just his second season and his first of 13 All-Star campaigns, the younger Griffey already had shown something special to McCaskill.
"In terms of my approach back then, guys used to stand off the plate a little bit more and when I would fall behind, I could kind of run my little two-seamer away from the left-handers," McCaskill said. "Back then, they were a little pull-happy, so guys would roll over it. And he just crushed it the other way.
"That was a little bit of an eye opener. He didn't even try to pull it. He just went with it and drilled it. It was pretty impressive. When Junior hit it out -- it took about until when he stepped on second -- people started to realize something just happened that was pretty unique."

Seattle has provided the backdrop for two great moments in McCaskill's career. It was the Mariners' Dave Valle who flew out to Ellis Burks against McCaskill on Sept. 27, 1993, to complete a 4-2 White Sox victory and set off an American League West title celebration at Comiskey Park. That moment resonates with White Sox fans, closing out the franchise's first division title in 10 years, but it isn't nearly as big nationally as a game that still gets replayed on Father's Day on MLB Network or ESPN Classic.
"I always tell this joke when I talk about it: The only thing I was upset about was that when Junior crossed home plate, Mrs. Griffey had come out of the stands and she was in the on-deck circle and she wanted a piece of me," said McCaskill with a laugh. "It was a family affair."