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NEW CONTRACT MAKES THE KID BASEBALL'S FIRST $8 MILLION MAN
Published February 1, 1996
The Mariners signed Ken Griffey Jr. to a contract extension yesterday that will keep him in Seattle through 2000 and make him MLB's first $8M-a-year player (Mariners). Griffey will average $8.5M a year, with the overall deal worth $34M. Murray Chass, who writes that Griffey "is to major league baseball what Michael Jordan is to the National Basketball Association," notes that keeping him in Seattle "was vital" for the Mariners (N.Y. TIMES, 2/1). In Washington, Mark Maske notes the deal is "the biggest signing during an offseason with a general trend toward economic cutbacks" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/1). ESPN's Bob Ley: "If there is a player worth an average of eight-and-a-half million dollars a year into the next century, Junior is it. And if there was a franchise on the upswing delicately hovering between success and relocation, it was Seattle" ("SportsCenter," 1/31). Griffey appeared at the press conference with a Nike hat and an Official All-Star Cafe hockey shirt (he's a part-owner) (THE DAILY). CNN's Fred Hickman notes the deal places Griffey "not as high as you might think" among other sports stars. THE TOP TEN: Mike Tyson $40M; Riddick Bowe $22M; Deion Sanders $16.5M; Drew Bledsoe $13M; Gerhard Berger $12M; Evander Holyfield $11M; George Foreman $10M; Willie Schumacher $10M; Wayne Gretzky $8.5M; Griffey $8.5M ("Sports Tonight," 1/31).