Commissioner Bud Selig awarded the honor to Griffey at a ceremony in Arlington, Texas, before Game 5 of the World Series between the Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Griffey is the 12th recipient of the award since it was established in 1998, which recognizes achievements and contributions of historical significance to the game of baseball.
"Ken Griffey Jr. was a gifted all-around player with a perfect swing, a brilliant glove and a childlike joy for the game," Selig said, adding the former Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds slugger "was one of our sport's greatest ambassadors."
"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," Griffey said.
Griffey, who ranks fifth on the all-time home runs list with 630, collected more than 50 million All-Star Game votes from fans -- the most in MLB history.