CINCINNATI -- Meeting with around 100 youth softball players at the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) softball World Series on Friday, Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. passed along the advice of his father.
"I had a dad that just said, 'Hey, go out there and play, have fun. If you're going to give me an effort on the field when you're winning and you give me an effort when you're losing, I know you're going to give me an effort in life,'" Griffey said. "That's the one thing that my dad was always adamant about is the effort. You give me an effort when you're losing and I'll take that kid any time, because I know he's going to give me an effort in life."
Griffey's appearance was among his first since being named an MLB youth ambassador in June. Since then, he's been busy being inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., and having his No. 24 retired by the Mariners.
The RBI World Series gave Griffey the perfect opportunity to take his summer tour to the city where he grew up and spent a good portion of his playing career.
"It's always important that you go back to somewhat where you started from. The city's been unbelievable the last couple weeks," Griffey said. "This is one of those things -- it's pretty cool to see what the city's doing."
As youth ambassador, Griffey wants to try to give back to the kids in any way that he can to help them reach their dreams the way that he got to. His biggest piece of advice is that they have to be willing to put in the work if they really want to achieve whatever it is they have their minds set on.
"Nobody's going to do it for you," Griffey said. "You've got to go out there and play. That's on everything you do in life. Nobody's going to do it for you. You've got to be the man, the woman. You've got to go out there and take control of it."
And while Griffey hopes to help the kids reach their dreams, he also hopes to make an impression on the parents as he gets out and gets to interact with them.
"We all remember certain things that we've done over the years," Griffey said. "I tell parents all the time, 'What's your greatest game?' and they'll go, 'Uh, I had three hits,' and blah, blah, and I'll go, 'Did y'all win or lose?' They don't answer it right away, because they don't know -- they can't remember that part. I say, that's the kind of stuff you want to give these kids, memories that will last a lifetime. And mainly, don't put added pressure on their kids. Let them be kids."
Cody Pace is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.