This is the transcript, as provided by Major League Baseball, of the press conference Sunday in which Ken Griffey Jr. was given the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award in Arlington, Texas, before Game 4 of the World Series.

Harold Reynolds, who was Griffey's teammate in Seattle, moderated the event.

HAROLD REYNOLDS: Thank you for coming. My name is Harold Reynolds and I'm with MLB Network. It's my honor to host this. Today this is a very special presentation. We're presenting the Commissioner's Historic Achievement Award, which was created in 1998, and has recognized achievements and accomplishments and contributions of historical significance in baseball. There have only been 11 recipients of this prestigious award, and it was last given in 2007 when the Commissioner honored Rachel Robinson for her continued legacy of her late husband Jackie Robinson, and her service to Major League Baseball. I'd like it turn it over to Commissioner Selig and he'll tell you about his special guest and his special presentation.

COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG: Thank you, Harold. I'm honored to be here today to present the Commissioner's Award for Historic Achievement to Ken Griffey, Jr. It's been four years, as Harold said, since I've had the privilege to bestow this award, and frankly I can't think of anyone more deserving. Ken's retirement came quickly, and he never got the send off that I felt and many felt he so richly deserved.

I think this award is a fitting way for Major League Baseball, as an institution, to say thank you to one of its all time really great players. His career is obviously Hall of Fame worthy, there is no doubt about that. If you look at his accomplishments, it is clear that he was one of the greatest players to ever step on a baseball field.

He was a 13 time All Star, ten time Gold Glove Award winner. He was, and how well I remember this, the youngest member of Major League Baseball's All Century Team. He ranks fifth all time with 630 home runs, was the unanimous winner of the 1997 American League Most Valuable Player Award.

But you can't measure Ken Griffey, Jr.'s, impact on his impressive numbers alone. The manner in which he carried himself made him among the most popular players for this past generation. He played the game with a smile and with an enthusiasm that showed how much he loved playing baseball. From his knack for stealing home runs (from opposing batters) to his swing, which was one of the smoothest, most beautiful that I have ever seen, his ability made him electric to watch.

All of you know how much I love history, and there are little things that happen in a sport, and I remember him racing around the bases to score the winning run against the Yankees in 1995, sending the Mariners to the American League Championship Series for the first time in their history. It was a Sunday night call, I remember, I was just walking in the house, my phone was ringing. Ken called me, and it was his idea to wear No. 42 as a tribute to Jackie Robinson on the day commemorating his historic achievement.

He asked my permission to do that, and I of course granted it. It told me a lot, however, about Ken, about how much he understood the history, how much he understood the impact of Jackie Robinson, and so I've often gotten credit for something, but really he made a phone call to me on a Sunday night at home that I'll never forget.

So with Ken leading the way, it began to catch on with other players. Eventually it led to all on field personnel throughout baseball wearing No. 42 on Jackie Robinson Day, a tradition that continues to this day and will continue at least as long as I'm around.

Ken, I'm grateful for your contributions to our national pastime. You were a joy to watch and your highlights and accomplishments will be appreciated for decades to come. And for a myriad of reasons: Staying out of controversy, playing the game the way it was supposed to be played and should be played, this is a pleasure to award the Commissioner's Award for Historic Achievement. Congratulations. (Applause).

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: First of all, thank you. This is truly an honor. Just to have my name even brought up in the conversation about getting this award means a lot, and to actually be able to take it home is something that I will remember for the rest of my life. There's a lot of people that I'd like to thank. You know, first it would be my mom and dad, my family, my wife, my three kids, for letting me continue to play baseball after they were born. If you listen to my oldest, he was like, you should have stopped a long time ago so you could hang out with me. The Mariners for drafting me, giving me a chance to go out there and fulfill my dream of playing Major League Baseball. Then I'd go to Cincinnati for letting me come home, where I grew up, and even Chicago for rejuvenating me as a baseball player and my beliefs in the game.

You know, I had ups and downs like everybody, but I can tell you that this is...everything that I've done in this game I wouldn't change. I came in this game just wanting to play baseball, my love for baseball. It wasn't because I thought I was going to win an award. It was because of the guys that I watched on TV, not necessarily my dad but everybody else, the smiles on their face. Willie Randolph, Kirby Puckett, all these guys were a big part of...Rickey Henderson, all these guys were there when I was just about that age to say what do I want to do, do I want to play football or do I want to play baseball? They said, you can play baseball and have fun. Look at us and stuff like that. When I finally talked to my dad about playing baseball, he was like, just go out there and give it your best shot and see what happens. You're going to be bigger, stronger. He didn't say faster. He just said bigger and stronger. He said, you're going to hit more home runs. I was like, yeah, okay. Just like any other son, not believing their dad, until it actually happens.

You know, I give a lot of credit to the guys, all my teammates who pushed me, especially the guy to my right, Harold. As a kid coming up there, he was my big brother. He was the guy, hey, we're going to do this. We've got to do this. This is how you act like a Major Leaguer. These are things you're going to have to do if you want to be successful. I learned that at an early age. 19 year old kid being in the Big Leagues, you're just free range on everything. You're just running around, and like I said, I had guys who really took care of me. A lot of this award also goes to them because without them, I wouldn't be me.

I mean and I can't say enough for the guys in the organization and my family and Bud for, of course, even thinking about me. With that, I want to thank everybody. It's humbling.

HAROLD REYNOLDS: Well said. I often was asked when Ken was 19 what I thought about him, and I said, well, he skipped three years in the Big Leagues by going to high school. (Laughter). He was that great. At 19, he was that great. We are going to open it up for questions.

Q. Commissioner Selig mentioned that your retirement was quick, and I'm wondering if you felt at all that you didn't get to enjoy your retirement as many perhaps other great players did?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: No, not really. I've always said when it's time for me to go, I'm going to go. I mean, it's not that I want to have a cross country tour and get a rocking chair. I got called a fossil a couple times from a couple teammates.

No, I just felt it was time, and I'm a firm believer that I didn't want to have that added pressure of my teammates asking and getting asked all the questions. I made the decision and stuck to it.

Q. Now that you've had a couple of years or a year and a half or so to reflect on your career, what do you want people to most remember you for?

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: That I enjoyed baseball. I went out there and played hard and enjoyed it, had a smile and that I cared a lot about the game itself.

Q. Just building off that point about the swift exit, does receiving this award, coming here to the World Series, does it feel like any kind of closure in some way, the closure you maybe didn't get a year ago?