Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball
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|Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball|
|Platform(s)||SNES, Game Boy|
Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball is a Super NES baseball game that was released in 1994. The game has a Major League Baseball license but not a Major League Baseball Players Association license, meaning that the game has real stadiums and real teams, but not real players (except Ken Griffey Jr.). The fictitious players have the same statistics as their real-world counterparts, and the game comes with a name-changing feature that allows players to change the athletes' names. Nintendo released a portable version of the game in 1997 for the Game Boy with real players and stats from the 1996 season. The gameplay is similar to its predecessors, though it is sometimes sluggish due to hardware restrictions. The SNES version came with a promotional Griffey collector's card packed inside and was a major commercial success, with 1.2 million units sold.
Fictitious players in the game are themed with their teammates. Some of the themes include:
- The Atlanta Braves are famous dance DJs, such as Sasha & Digweed who stand in for John Smoltz and closer Mike Stanton. A pitcher for the team is named G. Park, presumably in reference to Atlanta's famed Grant Park, who fills in for pitcher Steve Avery. In addition, D. Crime and D. Neon likely refer to Fred "the Crime Dog" McGriff and "Neon" Deion Sanders, respectively.
- The Baltimore Orioles pay tribute to Baltimore native John Waters with B. Divine filling in for second baseman Harold Reynolds, P. Flamingo standing in for pitcher Mike Mussina, M. Trasho standing in for third baseman Mike Pagliarulo, and H. Spray standing in for pitcher Jim Poole, as well as Waters himself standing in for shortstop Cal Ripken Jr.
- The Boston Red Sox contain members from the show Cheers. Cliff Claven stands in for Scott Bankhead, Norm Peterson standing in for pitcher Greg Harris, and Sam Malone standing in for closer Jeff Russell are all present. Also included are Boston landmarks B. Common standing in for Luis Rivera, M. Harvard filling in for catcher Tony Peña and figures from early American history J. Adams who fills in for outfielder Billy Hatcher, J. Hancock stands in for Rob Deer, A. Hamilton for infielder Scott Fletcher & S. Heat stands in for flamethrower Roger Clemens.
- The California Angels have famous actors on their team: F. Astaire fills in for outfielder Chad Curtis, H. Bogart stands in for Chili Davis, M. Brando fills in for Tim Salmon, J. Dean fills in for shortstop Gary Disarcina, and J. Wayne fills in for first baseman J. T. Snow.
- The Chicago Cubs has game director Brian Ullrich standing in for Ryne Sandberg. The bullpen has some seemingly generic names, such as P. Drifter who fills in for pitcher Jose Guzman, T. Yokel who fills in for pitcher Frank Castillo, and R. Steel filling in for pitcher Dan Plesac. An Athletic interview with Brian Ullrich from April 2020 revealed the Cubs' names came from "players that Ullrich and his buddies had created in TV Sports: Football." 
- The Chicago White Sox are former basketball players from St. John's University: M. Sealy fills in for shortstop Ozzie Guillén, C. Mullin fills in for Ellis Burks, and M. Jackson stands in for centerfielder Lance Johnson.
- The Cincinnati Reds are writers: B. Stoker stands in for Tom Browning, I. Fleming stands in for ace flamethrower José Rijo, P. Dick stands in for Scott Service, Z. Grey stands in for closer Rob Dibble and E. Queen fills in for third baseman Chris Sabo.
- The Cleveland Indians have famous actresses and glamour girls on their team: A. Margret fills in for Paul Sorrento, A. Hepburn stands in for catcher Sandy Alomar Jr., M. Monroe fills in for outfielder Reggie Jefferson, and G. Garbo stands in for pitcher Jeff Mutis.
- The Colorado Rockies contain famous names from horror movies, including G. Romero who fills in for pitcher Kent Bottenfield, B. Lugosi who fills in for outfielder Alex Cole, S. King who fills in for utility infielder Roberto Mejia, T. Fisher who fills in for infielder Pedro Castellano and T. Savini fills in for pitcher Bruce Ruffin. L. Chaney stands in for Andres Galarraga & B. Karloff stands in for Dante Bichette.
- The Detroit Tigers are famous Motown singers: A. Franklin stands in for pitcher John Doherty, Cab Calloway stands in for first baseman Cecil Fielder, G. Knight stands in for pitcher Bill Gullickson, O. Redding stands in for second baseman Lou Whitaker, I. Hayes stands in for shortstop Alan Trammell, W. Pickett stands in for Kirk Gibson, B. King stands in for Mickey Tettleton and R. Smokey stands in for outfielder Gary Thurman.
- The Florida Marlins roster has random names with no known common bond or claim to fame. R. Harrison fills in for third baseman Gary Sheffield, H. Lo fills in for utility player Gus Polidor, R. Crombie fills in for outfielder Greg Briley, R. Richards fills in for Matias Carrillo and L. Vogelman fills in for outfielder Jeff Conine. The pitching staff includes S. McDonald standing in for middle reliever Robb Nen, J. Bafus standing in for knuckleballer Charlie Hough, and G. Valkenar standing in for closer Bryan Harvey. An Athletic article from April 2020 with the game's director, Brian Ullrich, revealed the Marlins are named after Ullrich's elementary school classmates from Spokane, Washington.
- The Houston Astros are cartoonists: G. Larson fills in for pitcher Todd Jones, W. Eisner fills in for second baseman Craig Biggio, J. Kirby stands in for first baseman Jeff Bagwell, F. Miller fills in for infielder Casey Candaele, B. Edlund fills in for pitcher Pete Harnisch, and S. Lee stands in for Rick Parker.
- The Kansas City Royals are based on U.S. presidents D. Ike, whose real-life counterpart is DH Hall of Famer George Brett, L. Johnson stands in for infielder Rico Rossy, The pitching staff includes Bill Clinton standing in for Kevin Appier, George H. W. Bush standing in for David Cone, and Ronald Reagan standing in for Hipólito Pichardo.
- The Los Angeles Dodgers are based on punk rock pioneers from Los Angeles and other areas around California including Exene Cervenka who fills in for infielder José Offerman, John Doe stands in for catcher Mike Piazza, DJ Bonebrake of X fills in for outfielder Brett Butler, Poison Ivy stands in for outfielder Mitch Webster and Lux Interior of The Cramps fills in for first baseman Eric Karros, Jello Biafra fills in for middle reliever Ricky Trlicek, Klaus Flouride of the Dead Kennedys stands in for Pedro Astacio, and Lee Ving of Fear fills in for ace pitcher Orel Hershiser.
- The Milwaukee Brewers have a pitching staff consisting of superhero "secret identities": P. Parker fills in for pitcher Cal Eldred, C. Kent fills in for pitcher Jaime Navarro, and B. Wayne fills in for Ricky Bones, while their position players are fictional secret agents and detectives: J. Rockford fills in for infielder Pat Listach, J. Bond is catcher Dave Nilsson, and P. Columbo is infielder Dickie Thon.
- The Minnesota Twins are not named for famous sets of twins. The players' names are based on celebrities of various backgrounds, from actor Adam West fills in for first baseman Kent Hrbek, guitarist Jimi Hendrix fills in for DH Dave Winfield and filmmaker W. Herzog is closer Rick Aguilera.
- The Montreal Expos are people from the 1980s music scene in Manchester, England, including B. Summer filling in for outfielder Moisés Alou, and J. Marr for slugger Larry Walker.
- The New York Mets are based on punk rock pioneers from New York City including Johnny Thunders filling in for first baseman Eddie Murray, Joey Ramone standing in for second baseman Jeff Kent, Tom Verlaine for outfielder Bobby Bonilla, and Jerry Nolan for pitcher Anthony Young.
- The New York Yankees have the nicknames of famous Yankee greats, such as Bambino standing for slugger Danny Tartabull, Whitey Ford in for pitcher Jimmy Key, M. Thurman standing in for catcher Mike Stanley and New York boroughs such as S. Island for infielder Spike Owen.
- The Oakland Athletics apparently hired more authors: H. Ernest standing in for first baseman Mark McGwire, L. Byron in for outfielder Mike Aldrete, H. Thompson in for Scott Hemond, M. Twain in for Brent Gates, L. Tolstoy in for outfielder Dave Henderson, J. Milton stands in for Marcos Armas, and C. Bukowski fills in for ace closer Dennis Eckersley.
- The Philadelphia Phillies feature a Rocky homage in R. Balboa fills in for catcher Darren Daulton and A. Creed stands in for third baseman Dave Hollins. They also have a Philadelphia landmark – L. Bell filling in for first baseman Ricky Jordan – and some of the musicians produced by Phil Spector: D. Love who stands in for centerfielder Lenny Dykstra, B. Medley standing in for outfielder Wes Chamberlain, as well as Spector himself standing in for first baseman John Kruk. F. Albert stands in for closer Mitch Williams.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates are named after characters from the soap opera Coronation Street; such example E. Bishop who fills in for pitcher Steve Cooke, K. Barlow is infielder Tom Foley and P. Pearce is outfielder Lonnie Smith.
- The San Francisco Giants are members of Software Creations, the team that developed the game with such example Michael Webb and Richard Kay stand in for Willie McGee and Kirt Manwaring respectively. Ste Pickford stands in for slugger Barry Bonds.
- The San Diego Padres are based on punk rock pioneers from England including B. Idol who stands in for infielder Ricky Gutiérrez, D. Vanian who fills in for outfielder Derek Bell, Johnny Rotten fills in for infielder Jeff Gardner, F. Fife fills in for utility hitter Luis Lopez (infielder), and Sid Vicious fills in for infielder Archi Cianfrocco.
- The Seattle Mariners include Ken Griffey Jr. himself, the only active MLB player from the era to be included; his name cannot be changed. The other player names are of Nintendo of America employees such as J. Tingdale who stands in for ace pitcher Randy Johnson, D. Owsen who stands in for shortstop Omar Vizquel, and J. Hutt filling in for oufielder Jay Buhner. K. Tofte who is a relative of Los Angeles realtor *Tracy Tofte's ex-husband. *(formerly Tracy Wells of Mr. Belvedere) fills in for pitcher Erik Hanson.
- The St. Louis Cardinals are based on famous comedians: H. Moe fills in for ace pitcher Bob Tewksbury, M. Berle stands in for Todd Burns, O. Hardy stands in for shortstop Ozzie Smith, Groucho Marx fills in for first baseman Gregg Jefferies, George Burns fills in for infielder Gerónimo Peña, Bill Cosby stands in for outfielder Gerald Perry, Charlie Chaplin stands in for middle reliever Les Lancaster and Buster Keaton fills in for slugger Mark Whiten.
- The Texas Rangers, appropriately, have a Western theme. T. Mix, fills in for pitcher Kevin Brown, S. Jackson stands in for Nolan Ryan. W. Earp stands in for slugger Jose Canseco, and R. Lee stands in for catcher Iván Rodríguez.
- The Toronto Blue Jays are players from the Wigan Warriors Rugby league team: E. Hanley fills in for Darnell Coles, M. Offiah fills in for middle reliever Danny Cox, and D. Betts fills in for Paul Molitor.
At the end of every game, the game provides box scores and scoring summaries in newspaper format, providing a humorous newspaper headline on other goings-on in the world of Major League Baseball.
The game has several other features, including a home run derby in which players practice their power hitting against either Ken Griffey Jr. or against one of five fictitious power batters - Warren Track, Barny Tater, Sammy Scrap, Can O' Corn & Nick Noheart.
The game's other vocal soundbite, that of a batter turning to the umpire and screaming "Oh come on!" after a called strike three was sampled from a Jim Belushi line in the 1985 movie The Man With One Red Shoe.
The game was groundbreaking and had a long list of features for its time. Nearly every team has its own venue, sometimes complete with unique features, including Dodger Stadium's "slants" by the outfield crowd (the outfield "roof"), Shea Stadium's minuscule center field crowd, and the large scoreboard in the right field of Guaranteed Rate Field. Due to cartridge space limitations, some stadiums could not be added, and in those cases a generic stadium with green or blue walls is used (this layout was mostly used for the concrete donuts such as Riverfront Stadium and Three Rivers Stadium, themselves noted for being generic). Some of the stadiums are particularly realistic; Fenway Park's trademark Green Monster is in the game, as is Joe Robbie Stadium's teal wall and Oriole Park at Camden Yards' trademark Warehouse in right field. The Cincinnati Reds have a blue outfield wall as opposed to their signature green wall at Riverfront Stadium. The Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox are the only two teams to play night games at their respective ball parks. Kauffman Stadium features its signature water falls in the outfield and signature scoreboard in Center Field. Both old Yankee Stadium and Tigers Stadium are almost identical except that Yankees Stadium has shorter right field bleachers and you can hit the ball out of the park while Tiger Stadium has an upper deck all away around. Toronto's Skydome hotel/restaurant are visible in play if a Homerun heads to center field. Wrigley Field has its signature Ivy on the outfield wall but is missing the apartment houses in Left and Right Field respectively and the manual operated scoreboard in Center Field. The Kingdome has its signature large right field wall as does The Metrodome.
The Chicago White Sox wear their black alternate top as their Home uniform in the game.
The game featured statistics from the real-life 1993 season, and also kept statistics for the team controlled by the user throughout a season, though all of the statistics of CPU-controlled teams remained unchanged.
Pitching is one of the simplest elements in this game. There is also a battery-backed season mode, where players can select a team to play for 26, 78, or all 162 games. Players who finish first in their division earn a playoff berth and a chance to be in the 1993 World Series. Unique to the game was the ability to choose playing a season using a system of either 4 or 6 divisions, as the game was released after the 6 division system was proposed, but before an actual season was played using six divisions.
The team rosters are based on the 1993 Baseball season with stats included. The game also features the 5 new logos and uniforms designs of the Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, and the Detroit Tigers compared to what they looked like in 1993. The game also features the new ballparks Globe Life Park - the home ballpark to the Texas Rangers, and Progressive Field - the home ballpark to the Cleveland Indians which replaces Arlington Stadium and Cleveland Stadium respectively.
Due to a bug, during a full season some home run totals for players reset to zero after the All-Star game. A Nintendo Customer Service representative acknowledged this bug, further claimed that sometimes during the World Series players are prevented from using their best pitchers, and bluntly summarized, "Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball sports some pretty serious bugs."
Saved information, such as edited player names or seasons, are known to erase unexpectedly.
Game Boy version
The game was released in 1997 for the Game Boy, with Super Game Boy capabilities. Due to cartridge space, there is only one stadium. Unlike its predecessor, the Game Boy port's players have stats from the 1996 season, but they play in the 1997 season. It also has both a Major League Baseball and a Major League Baseball Players Association license- a first for a Ken Griffey Jr. game on a Nintendo console. The home run derby in this version is also free of the six player limit, so gamers can select any non-pitcher MLB player. 1997 Rookies of the Year Scott Rolen and Nomar Garciaparra debut in this game, along with Deivi Cruz.
Unlike its home console counterpart, which was developed by Software Creations, Nintendo developed the Game Boy version.
Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball received generally mixed reviews. GamePro heavily criticized the game's lack of realism, citing the fictitious players, inaccurate ballparks, inability to adjust defense, "stylized" player sprites, and the ability to control the ball even after it leaves the pitcher's hand. However, they acknowledged the game has good music, "one of the best manuals for a baseball game", and gameplay that is very accessible to beginners. Electronic Gaming Monthly criticized that the computer is too difficult to beat in one-player mode, but praised the digitized voice of Steve Palermo and the general playability. They scored the game a 6.6 out of 10.
- Ken Griffey Jr.'s Winning Run
- Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey Jr.
- Ken Griffey Jr.'s Slugfest
- "Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball (SNES) FAQ," GameFAQs.
- Bevan, Mike (December 2013). "Bubbles, Baseball and Buzz Saws...". Retro Gamer (122). Imagine Publishing. p. 78.
- Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball credits
- The Man With One Red Shoe (1985) Orig. Theatrical Trailer
- Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball gameplay
- "Buyers Beware". GamePro. IDG (84): 119. September 1995.
- "Griffey Sent to Minors". GamePro. No. 70. IDG. July 1994. p. 116.
- "Review Crew: Ken Griffey Baseball". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 60. Sendai Publishing. July 1994. p. 33.