Tyler Soderstrom a first-round draft pick like his father

Tyler Soderstrom was the first-round selection of the Oakland A’s in the 2020 MLB Draft. The high school catcher from Turlock, CA is the son of Steve Soderstrom, who was the sixth overall pick of the San Francisco Giants in the 1993 draft. Steve wound up pitching briefly for the Giants in 1996.

The father-son duo became only the tenth in major-league history to be selected in the first rounds.

Click here to read more about Tyler Soderstrom.

Third-round draft pick Trei Cruz could make it a three-generation MLB family

Trei Cruz was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the third round of the 2020 MLB Draft. He had been an infielder at Rice University for the past three seasons.

He is the son of Jose Cruz Jr., who had been a first-round pick of the Seattle Mariners in 1995 after a college career at Rice. His father went on to a 12-year career in the majors that included one Gold Glove. He was also the runner-up for Rookie of the Year in 1997,

Trei is the grandson of Jose Cruz Sr., who played 19 seasons in the major, primarily with the Astros and Cardinals. Cruz Sr., whose brothers Tommy and Hector were also major leaguers, was a two-time National League all-star.

If Trei eventually makes it to the majors, the Cruz family would become only the fifth three-generation family in major-league history.

For more information about Trei Cruz, click here.

Jose and Ozzie Canseco a rare set of major-league twins

If you followed baseball in the 1980s and 1990s, you were well aware of Jose Canseco, the slugger for the Oakland A’s. He was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1986 and the AL MVP in 1988, when he led the league in home runs (42) and RBI (124). Altogether, he hit 462 career home runs to go along with 1,407 RBI during his 17-year career. He also played for the Rangers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rays, Yankees, and White Sox.

You may not be as familiar with Jose’s twin brother, Ozzie, who appeared briefly in the majors, playing 24 games across three seasons for the A’s and St. Louis Cardinals from 1990 to 1993.

The Cansecos are one of only 10 sets of twins to ever play in the majors.

For more information about the Canseco brothers, click here for an article from sportscasting.com.

Matt Keough dies at 64; had several baseball family ties

Former major-league pitcher Matt Keough died on May 1, 2020 at age 64. He pitched for nine seasons in the big leagues, primarily with the Oakland A’s from 1977 to 1983. Unfortunately, he is best remembered for having one of the worst won-lost records in a season, when he finished 2-17 in 1979. During his entire career, he was 58-84 with a 4.17 ERA.

Matt was the son of former major-league outfielder Marty Keough who played from 1956 to 1966 and nephew of Joe Keough, a major-league outfielder from 1968-1973, and Thomas Keough, a minor-leaguer in 1954.

Matt’s son, Shane, was an outfielder in the A’s organization from 2007 to 2010. His son, Colton, was a draft selection of the Seattle Mariners in 2010, but did not sign.

For more information about Matt Keough, click here.

Griffeys were first-ever father-son MLB teammates

In my research for my book Family Ties about baseball’s relatives a few years ago, I came across hundreds of facts about father-son combos and brother combos over the course of baseball history.  The most fascinating for me was the game in which Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. played as teammates in 1990.  It was the first time that situation had ever occurred, and it has only been accomplished once more since the Griffeys.

When you think about what must transpire for this feat to occur, there are several factors that must fall in place at the right time.  The father must have a lengthy career, at least 20 years as a professional.  The son must begin his pro career right out of high school and reach the big leagues by age 20 or 21.  For the father and son to be major-league teammates, a team will likely be compelled to go out of its way to bring them together at the same time.

The odds of all these factors happening are extremely high, especially when you consider there have only been 200+ father-son duos in the history of the majors.

Griffey Jr. was the No. 1 overall pick out of high school by the Seattle Mariners in the 1987 MLB Draft.  He made his major league debut at 19 years of age in 1989 and joined his father Ken Griffey Sr. (with Cincinnati) as the first father-son combo to play in the majors at the same time.  A year later Griffey Jr. was an American League All-Star and one of the most promising stars in baseball.

Griffey Sr. had been drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 1969 and made his major-league debut with them in 1973. He became part of Cincinnati’s dynasty teams of the 1970s known as the Big Red Machine.  His career took him to the Yankees, Braves, and back to the Reds by 1988.  By then he was on the downside of his career, serving as a pinch-hitter and occasional starter in the outfield and at first base.  However, he provided a valuable veteran presence in the Reds clubhouse.

In mid-August 1990, the Reds informed Griffey Sr. he was at risk of losing his roster spot. He decided to announce his retirement on August 18, in order to help the club with a roster problem. With the prospect of Griffey Sr. being able to team up with his son for Seattle, the Reds agreed to take him off the voluntarily retired list and put him on waivers, so that he could become eligible to play for another club. When Seattle signed him on August 29, Mariners manager Jim Lefebvre insisted Griffey Sr.’s signing was not a publicity stunt. He said, “This is not a dog-and-pony show.  We’re looking for a spark.” The Mariners were looking to capture their first-ever winning season since joining the league in 1977.

Their historical first game as teammates occurred on August 31 against Kansas City. 40-year-old Griffey Sr. played left field and batted second in the lineup, while Junior took his normal centerfield position and batted third.

Facing Royals right-handed pitcher Storm Davis, both father and son singled in the bottom of the first inning and later scored to help the Mariners take a 3-0 lead. They both went hitless during the remainder of the game that the Mariners won 5-2.

On September 14, the father-son duo hit back-to-back home runs in the top of the first inning in the Mariners’ game against the California Angels.

Griffey Sr. didn’t hang up his spikes after the 1990 season. He returned with the Mariners in 1991, where he continued to team up with his son until May 31, when he retired after 19 major-league seasons.

Over a decade later, in 2001, 41-year-old Tim Raines and his son 21-year-old Tim Raines Jr., became the second father-son duo to play as teammates in the same game. Raines Jr. was called up late in the season by the Baltimore Orioles, who then made a request to Montreal to trade for his father. On October 3 against Toronto, Raines Sr. made a pinch-hit appearance, while his son was the starting centerfielder. Both father and son started the next day as outfielders against the Boston Red Sox. Raines Sr. retired in 2002 after 23 seasons in the majors.

On at least two other occasions, father-son combos were active players at the same time, although only the fathers were in the majors. Juan Beniquez played in the majors until 1988 (his 17th major-league season), while his 18-year-old son was in his second season in the Kansas City Royals farm system. Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez was active in 2011 (his 21st major-league season), when his 19-year-old son was a rookie in the Twins minor-league system.

Following are examples of other noteworthy father-son duos.

49-year-old pitcher Jamie Moyer was still playing in the majors in 2012 when his son Dillon was drafted out of high school but opted to attend college instead.

45-year-old Fernando Valenzuela and his 23-year-old son Fernando Jr. played together for Mexicali in the Mexican League in 2006. The elder Valenzuela had been a major-league pitching star from 1980-1997, amassing 173 career wins.

53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro and his 28-year-old son Patrick were teammates for independent league team Cleburne Railroaders in 2018. The elder Palmeiro had been a 20-year major-league veteran, collecting over 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.

Hank Steinbrenner dies at age 63

Hank Steinbrenner, son of George Steinbrenner, died on April 14 at age 63. He and his brother Hal followed in their father’s footsteps as partnership owners of the the New York Yankees, along with other family members.

Hank shared in the responsibility of overseeing and directing the team’s on- and off-field strategies, while Hal was the managing general partner.

George was the owner of the Yankees from 1973 to 2010.

Click here for Hank’s obituary in the New York Times.

Terry Kennedy outperformed his father Bob as major league player

Former major league catcher Terry Kennedy was a four-time all-star and had two World Series appearances (1984 Padres and 1989 Giants), although both were in losing situations. He finished with a career slash line of .261/.314/.386, 113 home runs and 638 RBIs.

Terry’s father, Bob, played in the majors from 1939 to 1957. Bob was never an all-star but did play for 1948 World Series winner Cleveland Indians. He went on to manage briefly for the Cubs and A’s and served in the front offices of the Cubs, Cardinals, Mariners, Astros, and Giants organizations.

Terry was a minor-league manager for 12 seasons, most recently in the Padres organization in 2012.

Click here for an article in Sports Illustrated about the Kennedys.

Henry Aaron carried the weight on list of brothers with most all-time home runs.

If you’ve followed baseball during the past 50 years, you know Henry Aaron was the all-time home run king until Barry Bonds broke his record in 2007. For many fans, Aaron is still considered the career leader, because of the suspicion that Bonds’s numbers were influenced by the use of PEDs.

Aaron’s brother, Tommie, played in the majors from 1962 to 1971 as Henry’s teammate with the Braves. However, he manged to hit only 13 career home runs in 437 games, while Henry hammered out 755. Together they hold the record for brother combos.

The next closest set of brothers was Eddie and Rich Murray, who combined for 508.

Father-son combo Barry and Bobby Bonds amassed 1,094 home runs between them, with Bobby accumulating 332.

Ken Griffey Jr. and his father, Ken Griffey Sr. combined for 782, of course with Junior carrying the load with 630.

For more information about the Aaron brothers, click here for an article from Sportscasting.com.

Corey Seager on a path to become one of Dodgers’ best shortstops

Corey Seager’s major-league career started with a bang, earning National League Rookie of the Year honors in 2016. He followed up with another all-star season in 2017.

After being sidelined for most of 2018 with elbow and hip surgeries, he rebounded last season to lead the National League with 44 doubles and hit a personal-best 87 RBIs.

One of the few positions the Dodgers organization haven’t been flush with all-stars during their long history has been shortstop. Pee Wee Reese, Maury Wills, and Bill Russell are the names that come to mind first when Dodgers fans think about their stars at shortstop, but the list stops after them. Seager aims to be the next Dodgers superstar at the position.

Seager is the brother of Kyle Seager, a third baseman who has played nine major-league seasons with the Seattle Mariners. Their brother, Justin, was a 12th-round pick of the Mariners in 2013, and he played five minor-league seasons.

To read more about Seager’s Dodgers’ career, click here.

There’s no confusing which Wander Franco is the best

Wander Franco comes from a baseball family, but it has sometimes been confusing identifying him, relative to his two brothers, also named Wander Franco.

However, Tampa Bay Rays fans surely know which Wander Franco will be the next star in their future. Wander Samuel Franco is currently the No. 1 rated prospect in baseball after playing only two seasons in the Rays organization. The 19-year-old shortstop may be only a couple of seasons away from getting his chance in the big leagues.

Wander’s brother, Wander Javier Franco, is a seven-year veteran of the minors, last playing for the San Francisco Giants organization in 2018 and playing in the independent leagues last season.

Their other brother, Wander Alexander Franco, is currently in the Giants minor-league system, after beginning his career with the Houston Astros organization.

The family ties for the three brothers doesn’t end there. They are the nephews of former major league brothers Willy and Erick Aybar.

For more information about Wander’s career and projections, click here.