November 18th, 2008
02:15 PM ET
14 years ago

Ken Griffey, Jr. named Public Diplomacy Envoy

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Secretary Rice announced Tuesday that Ken Griffey, Jr. has been named a public diplomacy envoy on behalf of the United States."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - He has thrilled sports fans for over twenty years with his hitting and fielding exploits. But can Major League baseball star Ken Griffey, Jr. hit a grand slam for the State Department?

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice named Griffey a public diplomacy envoy Tuesday, tasking the All-Star slugger with spreading "the values of the United States" in large part by helping to spark "interest in America and in our culture."

"Public diplomacy must be a dialogue," Rice said after meeting with Griffey in Washington. "This dialogue must extend to every citizen in every country, especially to young people."

She noted that Griffey is uniquely qualified to engage young people given his stature as one of the best-known players in what is arguably the country's most famous sport.

"This is quite an honor," Griffey noted. "I think youth is the most important thing. (I am) looking forward to this opportunity to teach kids (and help) develop them."

Former baseball star Cal Ripken Jr., figure-skater Michelle Kwan and actress Fran Drescher have also chosen to become public diplomacy envoys in recent years.

Griffey's first trip as a diplomatic envoy will be to Panama in January.

Griffey, who turns 39 on November 21, recently filed for free agency after the Chicago White Sox declined a $16.5 million option on his 2009 contract. He was first drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 1987.

Griffey is currently ranked number five on the all-time homerun leader list. He won ten consecutive Gold Glove awards between 1990 and 2000.

Filed under: Condoleezza Rice
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. D from MI

    I agree with bobbybomb : )

    November 18, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  2. kayla

    condi your time in the white house is numbered, why hire new people?

    November 18, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  3. josh

    america has no culture

    November 18, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. Ginbot

    baseball envoy to the world...80% of the world does not know this stupid sport

    November 18, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  5. Stan

    Marek November 18th, 2008 3:22 pm ET
    I don't think Coni'd a liar…she did what she was told to do. Simply like those who serve our great nation in the military, she was just following orders…period!!

    Yeah! And those brave, heroic German soldiers who served their country guarding the concentration camps, they were just following orders too!!

    BEN-VENISTE: Isn’t it a fact, Dr. Rice, that the August 6 PDB warned against possible attacks in this country? And I ask you whether you recall the title of that PDB [President's Daily Brief]?

    RICE: I believe the title was, “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.”

    Incompetence in government kills.

    November 18, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  6. morris diehl

    why hasn't incompeleeza rice been indicted for war crimes yet. I am sure glad she has here priorities straight. KG Jr. is a joke just like all of the rightwing neocon cowards.

    November 18, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  7. Justin

    Way to go Ken! It's great to see one of the all time greats in Baseball history get involved!!!

    November 18, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
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