Sunday, July 28, 2002

Reds star makes time for family of 9-11 victim

Meeting with Griffey pleases Marino clan

By John Fay,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Ken Griffey, Jr. talks to Tyler Marino, 2, before the game.
(AP photo)
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        NEW YORK — Katrina Marino had one wish Saturday. “I just hope Kenny is watching,” she said.

        Kenny, Katrina's late husband, was a New York City firefighter who perished in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. He was also a huge baseball fan, and Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. was his favorite player.

        Katrina hoped Kenny was watching the scene in the Reds dugout before Saturday's game with the New York Mets at Shea Stadium. The two Marino children — Kristin, 4, and Tyler, 2 — were all over Griffey. Kristin was on his shoulders. Tyler was crawling into his lap. Kristin took off Griffey's hat and tried it on.

        “He's been so nice,” Katrina said of Griffey. “The kids have really taken to him, and he's taken to them, as well. You can tell he's a family person.”

        The Marinos and Griffey will be linked forever. Before one of the first games after the tragedy, Katrina e-mailed Reds publicity man Rob Butcher with this message:

Junior holds Kristin Marino, 4, while meeting with her mother, Katrina, and brother Tyler.
(AP photo)
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        “My husband, Kenny Marino, a Rescue 1 firefighter, is missing. Ken Griffey Jr. was his favorite player. . . . If Ken Griffey Jr. could hit an extra home run for Kenny, I know he will be looking down with a big smile.”

        Griffey delivered, hitting a home run in the Reds' 8-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies that night.

        Griffey and Marino actually had met briefly when Griffey was playing for the Seattle Mariners. Marino attended a game, and he got close enough to give Griffey an NYFD T-shirt for Griffey's son, Trey.

        “We still have the shirt,” Griffey said.

        Sept. 11 is far removed for a lot of Americans, but not for Katrina Marino. She has good days and bad days.

        Saturday was a good one — emotional but good.

        “I didn't know it would affect me so much,” she said, fighting back tears. “This would have meant so much to Kenny.”


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