Naming a candy bar for Ken Griffey Jr. was an odd choice because the baseball player is allergic to chocolate. In 1989 when Griffey was a 19-year-old rookie center fielder playing for the Seattle Mariners, he was honored with The Ken Griffey Junior Milk Chocolate Bar, a solid chocolate bar embossed with his image. It was released by Pacific Trading Cards Company in Edmonds, Washington after Griffey had played Major League Baseball (MLB) for only two months. He was just the second player in history to have his own candy bar. The company’s president went on record as saying it was a strategic decision before Griffey became more successful and the value of his image went up.
More about Ken Griffey Jr.:
- Ken Griffey Jr. was one of only six players to hit over 600 home runs.
- In 1990, Ken Griffey Jr. and his father became the first father-son pair in history to hit home runs right after one another for the same team.
- Ken Griffey Jr.’s 1989 rookie card was the first baseball card produced by the Upper Deck Company and is considered the most popular rookie card of all time, according to Professional Sports Authenticator.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it unusual to name a candy bar after a sports figure like Ken Griffey Jr.?
Naming a candy bar after a sports figure like Ken Griffey Jr. is unusual because athletes typically promote health and fitness, which contrasts with the indulgent and sugary nature of candy bars. While sports endorsements often involve athletic gear or health-related products, a candy bar seems counterintuitive to an athlete's image of promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Did Ken Griffey Jr. have a reputation for endorsing food products?
Ken Griffey Jr., known for his outstanding baseball career, did not have a widespread reputation for endorsing food products, especially not candy. His endorsements were more commonly associated with sports-related brands and products that aligned with his athletic image. This makes the choice to name a candy bar after him somewhat unexpected.
How did fans react to the Ken Griffey Jr. candy bar?
Fan reactions to the Ken Griffey Jr. candy bar were mixed. While some fans were excited to see their favorite athlete's name on a product and collected the candy bar as memorabilia, others found it an odd pairing due to the mismatch between Griffey's athletic persona and the unhealthy nature of candy. The novelty of the product, however, did garner attention.
Has there been a precedent for naming candy bars after athletes?
There have been instances where candy bars were named after athletes, such as the Reggie Bar for Reggie Jackson. However, these cases are relatively rare and often rely on the athlete's exceptional popularity and marketability. The success of such endorsements depends on the cultural context and the personal brand of the athlete involved.
What impact did the candy bar have on Ken Griffey Jr.'s brand?
The impact of the candy bar on Ken Griffey Jr.'s brand was likely minimal in the long term. While it may have been a topic of conversation at the time, Griffey's legacy is primarily built on his baseball achievements and not his commercial endorsements. The candy bar is a footnote in an otherwise storied career.