Kyle Seager announces retirement

34-year-old Kyle Seager announced his retirement from baseball at the end of 2021. He began his major-league career with Seattle in 2011 and played his entire career with the Mariners. His career stats included 242 home runs and 807 RBIs. His slash line was .251/.321/.442. His career OPS+ was 112.

Kyle is the brother of Corey Seager, who signed to play with the Texas Rangers for the 2022 season, after playing seven seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. There was some earlier speculation that Kyle, also a free agent, would join his brother in Texas.

Their brother Justin Seager played in the Mariners organization from 2013 to 2017.

For more information about Kyle’s retirement, click here for an article from mlb.com.

Juan Soto’s brother Elian expected to join him with Nationals

The Athletic reported on January 10, 2022, that Juan Soto‘s younger brother Elian, an international prospect, is expected to sign with the Washington Nationals as soon as he reaches age 16, the required minimum age for MLB contracts. Elian just finished his age-15 season, so he won’t be able to sign until 2023. The New York Mets have reportedly expressed interest in the young outfielder, too.

Juan Soto played his first professional season in the Nationals organization at age 17. By age 19, he was playing in the majors with the Nationals, when he finished as the runner-up for the NL Rookie of the Year Award. He finished as runner-up for the NL MVP Award in 2021.

For more information about the Soto brothers, click here for the article from The Athletic (subscription access required).

Andruw Jones’s son a top prospect for 2020

Andrew Jones had a spectacular career in the majors from 1996 to 2012, primarily with the Atlanta Braves. He was a 10-time Gold Glove Award winner in centerfield. He also hit 434 home runs and 1,289 RBIs during his career. Jones was 19 years old when he played for the Braves in the 1996 World Series. He garnered 33.9% of the votes in his fourth year on the Hall of Fame ballot.

Andruw’s son, Drew, is currently a top amateur prospect for 2022. Only 18 years old, he was named the No. 1 prospect by the MLB Network for the 2022 draft, although he has officially committed to play at Vanderbilt University.

Click here to read more about the Jones father-son duo on forbes.com

Andrew Romine hangs up his spikes

Earlier this month, major-leaguer Andrew Romine announced his retirement after 11 big-league seasons. The infielder played 26 games for the Chicago Cubs in 2021, as he split the season with Triple-A Iowa. He has played for five different clubs during his career; the most games were with the Detroit Tigers over four seasons.

Andrew is the brother of major-league catcher Austin Romine, who has 10 seasons under his belt and the son of Kevin Romine, who played with the Boston Red Sox from 1985 to 1991.

Click here to read more about Andrew’s career on mlb.com.

Ranking the best father-son combos in MLB history

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi

Father’s Day is a good time to recall some of the all-time best Major League Baseball father-son duos.

There have been over 250 combinations of fathers and sons to play in the majors since Jack Doscher became the original second-generation player in the majors in 1903.  They represent a little more than 1% of the 20,000+players to ever play in the big leagues.  Almost 35 of the sons were still active at the end of the 2020 season.

One would think sons of major leaguers have an advantage over other prospective professional players, because of their name.  That’s probably true.  A player with the last name of Biggio or Yastrzemski would likely attract a baseball scout’s attention more than a player with a last name like Smith or Jones. 

In fact, when many sons of major leaguers were growing up, they spent time with their dad in the clubhouse or during pre-game warmups and batting practice.  From that perspective, they have an advantage of being more comfortable in the major-league environment once they get there.  For example, during the heyday of the Cincinnati Reds “Big Red Machine” teams of the 1970s, sixteen Reds players had sons who went on to play professional baseball, including the sons of Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Ken Griffey, Lee May, and Hal McRae.  Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium was like a second home to their kids.

Furthermore, sons of major-league fathers probably had better access to advanced coaching when they showed potential in their developmental years in the sport.  They also had ready access to a father who could advise them how to handle the mental side of the game, such as how to deal with being in a hitting slump recovering from an injury.

However, having the same last name as a major league father obviously doesn’t guarantee success for a son aspiring to a professional baseball career like his father.  Sons of major leaguers usually have more pressure to excel.  Some of the second-generation players have struggled as much against their family name as they did against the opposition.  For example, sons who didn’t measure up to their father’s Hall of Fame careers include Eddie Collins Jr., Tim Raines Jr., Ed Walsh Jr., George Sisler Jr., and Joe Wood Jr.

Former major leaguer Moises Alou, son of former major-league player and manager Felipe Alou, perhaps said it best, “If you can’t hit, field, and throw, it doesn’t matter who your father is.

So who were the best father-son duos in the majors?  Who were those sons that managed to become good enough to follow in their father’s footsteps and have a respectable career themselves? The Bonds and Griffey duos are the most recognizable, but the rest of the list may not be as obvious.

Below are the Top 10 duos ranked by their combined Wins Above Replacement (WAR).  Pairs were eliminated where one of the players didn’t have a substantial major league career. (For example, Pete Rose had a WAR of 79.7, but his son played in only 11 career major-league games and actually had a negative WAR.)  Fathers are listed first in the below combinations.

Bobby (57.9) and Barry (162.8) Bonds

Total WAR 220.7.  Barry has the fourth-highest WAR in baseball history, which makes their ranking practically uncontested by any other duo.  He was a seven-time MVP for the Pirates and Giants and was selected to 14 all-star games.  He has a slash line of .298/.444/.607 and holds the major-league record for most career HRs (762).  His father Bobby finished in the Top 4 for MVP voting twice and was a three-time all-star selection.  He was noted for his combination of power and speed, connecting for 331 (107th all-time) career home runs and swiping 461 bases (51th all-time).  Both players were outfielders.

Ken Sr. (34.5) and Ken Jr. (83.8) Griffey

Total WAR 118.3.  Ken Jr. fulfilled his potential as the overall Number 1 of the MLB draft in 1987, by hitting 630 HRs (7th all-time) and 1,836 RBIs (16th all-time) while posting a career slash line of .284/.370/.538.  A thirteen-time all-star selection for Seattle and Cincinnati, he was a near-unanimous selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.  Ken Sr. was a member of two World Series championship teams with the Reds.  He posted a career batting average of .297 and was selected as an all-star in three seasons.  The father-son duo, who were both outfielders, became the first to play in a major-league game as teammates in 1990.

Felipe (42.2) and Moises Alou (39.9)

Total 82.1.  Felipe was the best of three brothers that all played in the majors at the same time.  A three-time all-star selection, he led the league in hits twice and in runs scored once.  A career .286 hitter with 206 HRs and 852 RBIs, he played for the 1962 World Series champion San Francisco Giants.  Moises finished third in the MVP voting twice, when he played for Montreal and Houston.  He was a six-time all-star who had a .303 career batting average with 332 HRs and 1,287.  Moises was a key member of the 1997 Florida Marlins that won its first World Series.  He was one of only a few major-leaguers to have played for his father as manager, when they were with Montreal.

Gus (15.4) and Buddy Bell (66.3)

Buddy Bell (66.3) and David Bell (15.3)

Total WAR 81.7 and 81.6.  Buddy is actually part of three father-son duos, including one with his father Gus and two with sons David and Mike.  A career .281 hitter, Gus was a four-time all-star selection with the Cincinnati Reds as an outfielder.  David was an infielder for 12 seasons, appearing in the World Series with San Francisco in 2002.  Buddy was the best of the three generations as a five-time all-star and Gold Glove winner at third base in six consecutive seasons.  He batted .279 with 201 HRs and 1,106 RBIs.  There have been only four occurrences of three-generation families in major-league history.

Sandy Sr. (10.5) and Roberto (67.1) Alomar

Total WAR 77.6.  Roberto is a Hall of Fame second baseman who was selected to 12 consecutive all-star teams and won 10 Gold Glove awards.  He was a career .300 hitter with 200 HRs, 1,135 RBI, and 474 stolen bases.  He won two World Series rings with Toronto.  Sandy Sr. was an all-star selection for one of his 15 seasons.  The infielder hit only .245 with only 13 HRs during his career.  Sandy Sr. had another son, Sandy Jr., who played 20 seasons in the majors, but didn’t have near the productive career as his brother Roberto.

Tony Sr. (69.2) and Tony Jr. (5.2) Gwynn

Total WAR 74.4.  Tony Sr. was a Hall of Fame outfielder who won eight batting titles, while compiling a career .338 average and collecting 3,141 hits.  He was selected as an all-star in fifteen seasons, while capturing five Gold Glove awards and seven Silver Slugger awards.  He appeared in two World Series for San Diego.  Tony Jr. was an outfielder during eight major-league seasons after being drafted in the second round of the 2003 MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers.  It turned out he couldn’t hit like his father, as his career batting average was 100 points less.

Jose Sr. (54.4) and Jose Jr. (19.5) Cruz

Total WAR 73.9.  Jose Sr. had a career slash line of .284/.354/.420 in his 20 major-league seasons (19 with Houston).  The outfielder was in the Top 8 for National League MVP voting on three occasions.  An all-star selection in two seasons, he had 1,077 RBI and 317 stolen bases.  Jose Jr. was the third overall selection of the 1995 MLB Draft by the Mariners and went on to play 12 major-league seasons.  Ironically, he was traded during his rookie season in which he was the runner-up for Rookie of the Year honors.  A Gold Glove winner as an outfielder with the Giants in 2003, he was a career .247 hitter with 204 career HRs.

Craig Biggio (65.4) and Cavan Biggio (5.1)

Total WAR (70.5). Craig was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2015. He played three different positions for the Houston Astros: catcher, second base, and center field. He is 25th on the all-time hits list with 3,060. He was a seven-time all-star that won four Gold Glove awards and five Silver Slugger awards. He finished fourth and fifth in the NL MVP voting in 1997 and 1998, respectively. Cavan is only in his third major-league season, finishing fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2019.

Mel Sr. (43.1) and Todd (22.9) Stottlemyre

Total WAR 66.0.  Mel Sr. won 15 or more games for the Yankees during six seasons, while totaling 164 career wins.  A five-time all-star selection, he posted an impressive career 2.97 ERA.  He started three games for the Yankees in the 1964 World Series against St. Louis.  Todd pitched for 14 major-league seasons during which he posted double-digit wins in eight seasons and compiled 138 career wins.  He was a member of two World Series championship teams with Toronto.  Mel Sr. had another son, Mel Jr., who pitched in one major-league season.

The recent rise to the majors for Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio in the past few years has resulted in in a change in the father-son combo leaders. The Biggio combo pushed Yogi Berra and his son Dale from the last Top 10 List I compiled two years ago. The Berras had a combined WAR of 65.3. (Of course, Yogi provided the bulk of the value in their case.) In fact, 11th place is now occupied by the Vlad Guerrero (Senior and Junior) combo, who also edged out the Berras. The Guerreros’ combined WAR is currently 65.5. With Cavan Biggio and Vlad Guerrero Jr. still early in their careers, they could easily rise further in the Top 10 list.

The next five father-son combos after the Guerreros include George Sr. (56.3) and Dick (8.0) Sisler; Dizzy (49.6) and Steve (13.3) Trout; Maury (39.7) and Bump (16.5) Wills; Bob (27.4) and Bret (22.8) Boone; and Gary Sr. (30.4) and Gary Jr. (14.2) Matthews.

Hey, brother, let’s play ball

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi

Playing wiffle ball in the backyard with a brother was an experience familiar to a lot of us. Playing on the same team with a brother in Little League, Babe Ruth, or high school baseball is something we might have also experienced. But what about brothers playing with or against each other in the major leagues? Not too many can say they know what that’s like.

But it happens every once in a while. Some of the occurrences go relatively unnoticed. Others like the Alou brothers (Felipe, Matty, and Jesus) attracted significant attention in September 1963 when the trio of Dominican players started in the outfield together in a game for the San Francisco Giants. Their improbable feat is often the subject of baseball trivia question

This year’s major-league season saw several instances of brothers playing on opposite sides of the diamond and one in which the brothers teamed up as batterymates.

Brothers Jordan and Justus Sheffield pitched in the same game during Spring Training in March. Justus started for the Seattle Mariners, while Jordan entered the game in the fourth inning in relief for the Colorado Rockies. It was the second time they had crossed paths in a professional game as opponents, the first in a minor-league series in 2019. The brothers roomed together during spring training camp.

Brothers Corey (Dodgers) and Kyle Seager (Mariners) have opposed each other as major leaguers several times. On April 19 this season, Corey homered in a 4-3 loss to the Mariners. On May 11, Kyle homered in a 6-4 loss to the Dodgers. Even though Kyle is the older of the two, his nickname is “Corey’s Brother.”

Yuli and Lourdes Gurriel are Cuban-born major-leaguers whose father Lourdes Sr. was a baseball star for the Cuban National team in the 1980s and 1990s. The brothers played against each other in a series between Houston and Toronto on May 7-9. Houston’s Yuli outshined his brother with a 4-for-4 performance in one of the games. Yuli wound up leading the National League in batting this season with a .319 average.

Veteran major-league brothers Andrew and Austin Romine became the first brother batterymates since brother Norm (catcher) and Larry Sherry (pitcher) played together on June 28, 1962. Andrew, normally an infielder, was brought in to pitch for the Chicago Cubs in a blowout game against the Milwaukee Brewers on August 12. His catcher was his brother Austin. With the Brewers already holding a 16-3 lead   Andrew pitched the final inning of the game, yielding a home run and a single and striking out one batter.

On August 21, Aaron Nola and his brother Austin played against each for the first time since both were playing in a spring practice game as teammates at LSU. Aaron, who pitches for the Philadelphia Phillies, faced Austin with the San Diego Padres in three at-bats. Austin struck out, flied out, and walked against his brother, who had a perfect game through the first 6 1/3 innings. The Padres wound up inning, 4-3, in 10 innings.

On September 27, Cleveland’s Bradley Zimmer got bragging rights when he a 408-foot home run off his brother Kyle who was pitching in relief for the Kansas City Royals. The Indians won, 8-3. The brothers, who were both first-round draft picks, had faced each other three times previously this season. It was the first time a brother homered against his brother since 1976. (See Niekro brothers below.)

Below is a sampling of other games in baseball’s long history where MLB brothers played with or against each other.

Alex Gaston of the Boston Red Sox broke up his brother Milt’s no-hitter in 1926, hitting the first pitch of the ninth inning for a single.

The St. Louis Browns’ Rick Ferrell almost broke up kid brother Wes’s no-hitter on April 29, 1931; but the official scorer ruled Rick’s 8th inning at-bat an error and Wes claimed his no-hitter. On July 19, 1933, the brothers homered in the same inning for opposing teams. Rick hit his off Wes, only one of 28 total home runs in an 18-year career.

Mort and Walker Cooper were the pitcher-catcher combo for six seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and one with the New York Giants. During 1942 through 1944 with the Cardinals, each of the brothers made the all-star team and helped their team win three National League pennants and two World Series championships.

Clete and Ken Boyer played against each for the first time in Game 1 of the 1964 World Series between the Yankees and Cardinals. In Game 7, Clete (Yankees) and Ken (Yankees) each hit home runs in the Cardinals’ win.

Brothers George and Ken Brett played against each other for the first time in an exhibition game on March 27, 1976. George, playing for the Kansas City Royals, hit a home run off Ken of the New York Yankees. In 20 regular-season plate appearances against his brother, George never homered once.

Joe Niekro (Astros) hit the only major-league home run of his 22-year career against his brother Phil on May 29, 1976. Joe’s seventh-inning home run against his older brother tied the game, with the Astros ultimately defeating the Braves, 4-3. Joe got the winning decision, giving up only four hits and one earned run in eight innings. Phil recorded the loss.

Family Ties Still Flourishing in 2021

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi

One of my special interests in baseball, going back about 30 years, has been the prevalence of relatives in professional baseball, including the majors and minors. My interests manifested itself in a book I authored in 2012, where I published my initial research efforts about baseball’s relatives. Appropriately, I titled the book “Family Ties: A Comprehensive Collection of Facts and Trivia about Baseball’s Relatives.” Since then, I have continued extensive research and documentation of the occurrences of family relationships in the sport, except it is now maintained in a database, with annual updates posted on my website “Baseball’s Relatives.”

There is no single source you can go to find all the family ties in baseball. There are several websites that provide lists of major-league players who are fathers, sons and brothers, but that’s about it. Several factors distinguished the information in my book from the other lists on these websites: 1) I not only included players, but also managers, coaches, scouts, executives, owners, front office personnel, broadcasters, and umpires who had relatives in baseball; 2) I also included minor-league players; 3) I included additional family relationships (uncle, nephew, cousin, grandson, etc.); 4) I included relatives who participated in non-baseball sports. The additional information I gathered resulted from reading baseball-related websites, books, magazines, and newspapers.

I thought I had a pretty comprehensive set of information in the Family Ties book. There were over 3,500 baseball personnel identified, covering all of the baseball roles. But I acknowledged in the book that my information was not exhaustive, if only for the reason that each new baseball season would bring in new players who had family relationship in the sport.

I just finished the 2021 season updates of my database.  I now have accumulated over 8,300 major-league and minor-league players, managers, coaches, scouts, executives, owners, front office personnel, broadcasters and umpires. All of these represent over 12,000 family relationships (father, son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, etc.) in baseball. There are another 1,400 family relationships with athletes in other major sports at various levels (amateur, college, professional, and Olympics).

For the past several years, most of my updates have been found in major-league team media guides. Most of the teams are pretty good at identifying in the bios of their players any relatives they have in baseball or another sport.

The 2021 season information can be viewed at https://baseballrelatives.wordpress.com/family-ties-2021-season/

Here are a few stats and interesting facts from the 2021 season:

  • 592 active major and minor league players have one or more relatives in pro baseball. That’s equates to about one in every seven players in the majors and minors combined.
  • Those 592 players had 835 family relationships.
    • Nationals minor-leaguer Jake Boone and major-leaguer Vlad Guerrero each have six relatives. If Boone makes the majors, his family would become the first four-generation MLB family.
    • Minor-leaguer Trei Cruz has five family members in pro baseball. If he reaches the majors, the Cruz family would become only the sixth three-generation MLB family.
  • 648 active non-players have one or more relatives in pro baseball.
  • Those 648 non-players had 1,180 relationships.
    • Jerry Hairston Jr. (Dodgers broadcaster) and Shawn Roof (Tigers minor-league manager) each have nine relatives in pro baseball.
    • Phillies executive Andy MacPhail has seven relatives, which includes four generations of front office personnel, going back to Larry MacPhail who began his career in the 1930s.
    • With more and more major-league and minor-league coaching and front office personnel being hired without playing experience, this category of relatives will likely decline over time.
  • 32 players with relatives made their MLB debut.
    • Reds pitcher Riley O’Brien is the grandson of former major-leaguer Johnny O’Brien, whose twin brother Eddie was also a major-leaguer.
    • Rays phenom Wander Franco has two brothers (both also named Wander) who played in the minors. They are nephews of retired MLB brothers Willy and Erick Aybar.
    • Brothers Trevor and Tylor Megill made their debuts with the Cubs and Mets, respectively.
  • 62 players with relatives made their minor-league debut
    • The last names of several of these rookie minor-leaguers are very familiar (Glavine, Kessinger, Niekro, Pettitte, and Boone).
  • 18 players with relatives were selected in the MLB Draft which consisted of 20 rounds. (In 2020 there were five rounds.) When there were 45 draft rounds in 2019, 77 players with relatives were drafted. There will be more of a shift toward undrafted free agent signings with limited rounds.
  • 362 players and non-players had relatives in other sports and levels. Below are some examples.
    • Royals manager Mike Matheny has four sons who played college baseball, one of which made it to the minors. His daughter played hockey in college.
    • Orioles second baseman Jahmai Jones’s father and three brothers played in the NFL
    • Cubs outfielder Trayce Thompson’s father and two brothers played in the NBA
  • By far, the San Francisco Giants had the most active players with relatives (31) and the most active non-players with relatives (41). It makes you wonder if this was by design (preference for hiring players and non-players with baseball in their bloodlines) or just a coincidence.
  • I envision a future trend in which we’ll see a reduction of family ties in baseball. The pipeline for new entrants is being reduced in several areas. There are now fewer draft rounds and fewer minor-league teams, which affects both the number of players and coaches. Many jobs in major- league front offices are being filled nowadays with personnel who did not play professional baseball. Scouting staffs are being reduced by many teams because of the availability of technology to evaluate players without seeing them in person.

Jim Fregosi Jr. dies at 57

Jim Fregosi Jr. was a special assistant in the Kansas City Royals organization and the son of former major-league player and manager Jim Fregosi Sr. He died a week ago at age 57.

Fregosi Jr. spent nearly 20 years in several roles in scouting with the Philadelphia Phillies, Colorado Rockies and Royals. He had been drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985 and spent five seasons in the minors.

His father played from 1961 to 1978, mostly with the Angels organization. He was a major-league manager for 15 seasons, including the Angels, White Sox, Phillies, and Blue Jays.

Click here and here to read more about Fregosi Jr.

Vlad Guerrero Sr. has more sons in the pipeline

Vlad Guerrero Sr. has a lot to be proud of in his son Vlad Jr., who finished the 2021 season as the runner-up in the AL MVP voting behind two-way star Shohei Ohtani. In only his second full major-league season, Vlad Jr. has become a real threat in Toronto’s lineup.

Before too long, Vlad Jr. could be joined in the big leagues by two brothers, Vladi Miguel Guerrero and Pablo Guerrero. They are still only 15 years old but are already showing some promise at the amateur level.

For more information about the Guerrero family, click here.

Aaron Boone gets three-year extension with Yankees

After four years as manager of the New York Yankees, Aaron Boone will have the opportunity to lead the team for three more seasons. Through the 2021 season, Boone has a winning percentage of .601 (328 wins, 218 losses), including one first-place finish and three second-place finishes. The Yanks have advanced to the post-season in each of his four campaigns, but only once getting to the AL Championship Series.

Aaron is part of a three-generation major-league family. His father Bob played during 1972-1990, while his grandfather Ray appeared during 19487-1960. His brother Bret played during 1992-2005. All four players have been an All-Star at least one season.

Click here to read more about Aaron Boone’s contract extension.