Thirty years ago, three generations of Carays occupied the same broadcast booth

Family ties in baseball aren’t restricted to just the players. Managers, coaches, scouts, executives, and even umpires have their share of baseball relatives, too. However, among broadcasters, the Caray family (Harry, Skip, and Chip) is the only three-generation instance.

On May 13, 1991, all three broadcasters shared the same booth in a game between the Chicago Cubs at home against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Of course, Harry had become legendary as a broadcaster at Wrigley Field. Chip had just started with the Atlanta Braves, where his father Skip had been an institution.

Other father-son broadcasters over the years included Harry and Todd Kalas, Jack and Joe Buck, Marty and Thom Brennaman, and Don and Daron Sutton.

Perhaps one day, there will be a fourth generation of Carays in the booth, as Chip Caray has two sons, Chris and Stefan, who are broadcasters in the Cape Cod League.

Click here to read more about the Caray’s historic game thirty years ago.

Dodgers broadcaster Jaime Jarrin to finally call it quits after 2022 season

Famed Dodgers broadcaster Vince Scully was remarkably in the Dodgers broadcast booth for 67 years, retiring in 2016. Not as well-known is 85-year-old Spanish-language broadcasters for the Dodgers, Jaime Jarrin, who has been in the broadcast booth since 1959. Jarrin has announced his retirement will occur after the 2022 season.

Jarrin became the second Spanish-language broadcaster to receive the Ford C. Frick Award by the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998.

Jaime’s son, Jorge, teamed with his father in the Dodgers’ booth from 2012 to 2000, when he finally retired.

Read more about Jaime’s career by clicking here.

Alex Avila, with strong baseball family ties, set to retire after this season

Alex Avila, catcher for the Washington Nationals, has announced his retirement after 13 major-league seasons. In the only season (2011 with Detroit) in which he was a full-time player the entire year, he was selected an all-star for the American League. Most of his career was spent as a valuable backup catcher for the Tigers, Cubs, White Sox, Nationals, Diamondbacks, and Twins.

Alex is the son of Al Avila, who is executive vice president, baseball operations and GM for the Detroit Tigers. His grandfather is Rafael Avila was a long-time executive, advisor, and scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers. His brother Alan works in the front office for the Tigers.

Alex was a fifth-round pick out of the University of Alabama by Detroit in 2008. As of September 23, he had hit 105 home runs and 395 RBIs in 1,049 career games.

Click here for more information about Alex Avila.

Vlad Guerrero Jr.: Could he match his father and win the MVP Award?

Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vlad Guerrero Jr. is making a strong case for American League MVP. In fact, he might even be a Triple Crown winner. That’s heavy stuff for a player only in his third major-league season.

If he does win the MVP award, he would follow his father as an AL MVP. Vlad Sr. won the award in 2004 when he played for the Angels. He also finished third in the voting twice (2005 and 2007) and fourth once (2002). No wonder he’s in the Hall of Fame!

Click here to read more about Vlad Jr.’s quest.

Cam Bedrosian joins his father’s old team

Relief pitcher Cam Bedrosian was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent in July and has been called up to the big-league club for the final month’s division race. His father Steve Bedrosian pitched for the Phillies from 1986-1989.

Cam had stints with the Oakland A’s and Cincinnati Reds earlier this season. He is in his eighth major-league season.

Steve was a 14-year veteran of the big leagues. He was the National League Cy Young Award winner with the Phillies in 1987.

Click here to read more about the Bedrosian father-son duo.

DeShields father and son united on Reds team

Delino DeShields Jr. joined his father on the Cincinnati Reds team September 1, when he was acquired by the Reds from the Boston Red Sox organization. Delino DeShields Sr. is a coach with the Reds. It marks the first time the father-son combo have shared a clubhouse and dugout.

It was the first major-league appearance for DeShields Jr. this season. The outfielder has previously played in the majors for six seasons, primarily with the Texas Rangers. DeShields Sr. was a 13-year veteran of the majors during 1990 and 2002.

To read more about the DeShields duo, click here.

There’s another Pedro Martinez in the works

Pedro Martinez Jr., the son of Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez, is cutting his teeth in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League this summer with the Brockton Rox. After playing in the pandemic-shortened season with Nova Southeastern University in 2020, he transferred to Lynn University in Florida for the 2021 season. The 21-year-old is an outfielder who can also play in the infield.

Of course, he developed his love for the game through his father. When Pedro Sr. played for the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park was a familiar playground for young Martinez.

Click here to read more about the Martinez father-son relationship.

Andrew and Austin Romine become rare brother batterymates in MLB

On August 12, 2021, infielder Andrew Romine was pressed into service as a relief pitcher for the Chicago Cubs against division rival Milwaukee Brewers. With the Cubs losing 16-3, Cubs manager David Ross decided not to waste any more of his regular relievers and inserted Andrew as pitcher in the top of the 9th inning. It’s a tactic that is frequently used by major-league managers when their team has practically no chance of mounting a comeback, and their bullpen staff needs rest.

What made Andrew’s appearance unique in this case was that the catcher for the Cubs was his brother Austin Romine. Andrew wound up yielding one run on two hits and striking out one batter in the Brewers’ route of the Cubs.

The last brothers to play pitcher and catcher in the same game occurred on June 28, 1962, when Larry and Norm Sherry were the pitcher and catcher in a game for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Over the years, other brother batterymates in the majors have included Wes and Rick Ferrell, Mort and Walker Cooper, Milt and Alex Gaston, Elmer and Johnny Riddle, Bobby and Wilmer Shantz, and Jim and Ed Bailey. In these other instances, the players’ normal positions were pitcher and catcher, unlike Andrew Romine who is normally an infielder.

For more information about the Romine brothers’ game click here.

Reduced MLB draft takes its toll on baseball’s family ties

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi

Major League Baseball’s decision to reduce the number of draft rounds the past two years has had a negative effect on the number of players selected who have relatives in professional baseball. Prior to 2020, MLB typically conducted a draft that consisted of 40 rounds. In 2019 77 drafted players had family ties in baseball, including players, managers, coaches, scouts and front office personnel. Since 2013, the average number of drafted players who had family ties is 63.

Only 20 players with family ties were selected in 2020 when MLB conducted only five rounds in the annual amateur draft. It’s understandable why the draft was limited since the minor-league season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year ‘s draft consisted of 20 rounds. With the number of minor-league teams cut by 25% this year, there was naturally less need for the number of new ballplayers to enter the pros with affiliated major-league teams. Even with this season’s larger draft than last year, only 16 players with family ties were taken in the 2021 draft. That’s a 75% reduction from the average during 2013 and 2019. Some of the players who might have been selected in a larger draft are now signing as non-drafted free agents (NDFA) with major-league teams this year. Others are joining independent league teams with the hopes of eventually catching on with an affiliated minor-league club. Other non-drafted players are returning to college for their senior season in the hopes they can improve their draft status for 2022.

The most well-known player with family ties drafted this year was Jack Leiter, who was the second overall pick by the Boston Red Sox. He had a stellar season with Vanderbilt and has been high on the draft radar since high school. His father is Al Leiter, a former major league pitcher for 19 seasons. Al was a member of three World Series team including world championships with Toronto (1993) and Florida (1997) and in a losing cause with the New York Mets (2000). Jack’s uncle Mark Leiter and his cousin Mark Leiter Jr. were also major league pitchers.

Other draftees with well-known relatives were Will Wagner, the son of Billy Wagner, and Michael Sirota, the great-nephew of Whitey Ford. Wagner was the 18th-round selection of the Astros, the team with which his father played nine seasons. Sirota was selected in the sixteenth round by the Dodgers, a frequent World Series foe of his great uncle in the 50’s and 60’s.

Will Bednar, the Mississippi State pitcher who was the MVP of the College World Series, was the draft’s overall 14th pick of the Giants. His brother Dave is currently pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Darren Baker, the son of Astros manager Dusty Baker, was the 10th round pick of the Nationals. The infielder had played collegiately at the University of California.

Each year there are typically players drafted whose family ties are in sports other than baseball. For example, Kumar Rocker (10th overall draft pick of the Mets) is the son of Tracy Rocker, a former NFL player and current NFL coach. Blake Holub (15th round pick of the Detroit Tigers) is a relative of E.J. Holub, a former two-way player in the NFL from 1961 to 1970.

Some of the non-drafted free agents who have already signed contracts include famous last names: JJ Niekro (son of Joe Niekro and nephew of Phil Niekro), Jared Pettitte (son of Andy Pettitte), and Peyton Glavine (son of Tom Glavine and nephew of Mike Glavine). In past years that the draft consisted of 40 rounds, these players would have likely been drafted in the higher rounds. NFDAs are signed by major-league clubs for a standard bonus amount of $20,000.

High-profile prospects who went undrafted this year include Dante Baldelli (brother of Twins manager Rocco Baldelli), Casey Dykstra (nephew of Lenny Dykstra), and Max McGwire (son of Mark McGwire). With a larger number of draft rounds, they may have been selected, even if only as a sentimental pick.

The average number of players with family ties who made their MLB debuts from 2015 to 2020 was 28. It remains to be seen what the long-term effect of the reduced number of drafted players with baseball bloodlines is on those who eventually reach the majors. But early indications are that the number of relatives reaching the majors will be less than recent history.

Will the Cruz family become the next three-generation family in MLB?

Trei Cruz is playing his first minor-league season in 2021 in the Detroit Tigers organization. He was the third-round pick of the Tigers in 2020 out of Rice University. With the pandemic in the 2020 season cancelling the minor-league season, he played in an independent league.

If Trei winds up getting to the majors, his family would become one of the rare three-generation families in baseball history. His father is Jose Cruz Jr., who played in the majors from 1997 to 2008. His grandfather is Jose Cruz Sr., who played in the majors from 1970 to 1988.

The other three-generation families include the Bells, Boones, Stephensons, Hairstons, and Schofield/Werths.

To read more about Trei Cruz, click here.