Contributed by Richard Cuicchi
The game of baseball has more family relationships than any other professional sport. The annual Major League Baseball drafts each year seem to be producing more and more occurrences of sons, grandsons, brothers, nephews, and cousins of major league players.
The 2014 baseball season appears to be another plentiful year of players, managers, and coaches who have relatives in professional baseball. I’ve completed my initial compilation for this season, and it counts over 300 members in this year’s class of family relationships. Following are a few of the highlights from the list.
The Rasmus brothers (Colby, Cory and Casey) are looking toward the day when all three of them play in the major leagues at the same time. Colby and Cory are waiting for Casey to advance through the minors. There have been only twenty occurrences of multiple brothers in MLB history. The last set of three big league brothers to play in the majors at the same time was the Molina family (Yadier, Jose, and Bengie) in 2010. The Alou brothers (Felipe, Matty, and Jesus) made major league history when they played in the same game together for the San Francisco Giants in 1963.
There are fourteen grandsons of former major league players in this year’s list. Some of the grandfather- grandson combo s include Lew Burdette (Nolan Fontana), Carl Yastrzemski (Mike Yastrzemski), Lee May (Jacob May), and Dick Schofield (Jayson Werth).
If minor leaguer Adam Law reaches the big leagues, he would become part of a three-generation family to play in the majors. His father (Vance) and grandfather (Vern) preceded him. There have been only four previous occurrences, including the Bells, Boones, Hairstons, and Colemans. Currently, David Bell is a coach for the Cardinals, while Scott Hairston plays for the Nationals.
Speaking of multiple generations, Drew Pomeranz of the Oakland A’s is the great grandson of Garland Buckeye, who first played in the majors in 1918 and went on to play five big league seasons. Drew’s brother Stu also had a short stint in the big leagues.
Avid baseball fans will recall the game’s only midget who made an appearance in a big league game in 1951, when St. Louis Browns owner Bill Veeck had 26-year-old, 3’ 7” Eddie Gaedel pinch-hit in a publicity stunt. Eddie’s nephew Kyle Gaedele, who is ironically 6’ 3” and 220 lbs., is now playing in the Padres organization.
Almost one-fourth of the list this year is comprised of major league managers (13) and coaches (71). It makes you wonder if having a baseball relative is a job qualification for managerial and coaching staff.
That’s especially true for the Milwaukee Brewers, where seven of their eleven coaching staff positions are filled by men who have relatives in professional baseball: Ron Roenicke (3), Garth Iorg (5), Mike Guerrero (5), Jerry Narron (4), Johnny Narron (3), John Shelby (3), and Lee Tunnell (1).
Long-time Los Angeles Dodgers coach Manny Mota had five sons who played professionally. Two of them, Andy and Jose, reached the major leagues. Manny’s cousin Jose Baez was also a big league player.
A few relatively new sons whose last names will be familiar to most baseball fans include L. J. Mazzilli (Lee), Travis Henke (Tom), Cody Dent (Bucky), and Dante Bichette Jr. (Dante).
The complete list of baseball relatives for the 2014 season can be found on the “Family Ties 2014 Season” page on this website. The list will be updated later in the summer after the MLB draft.
My book, Family Ties: A Comprehensive Collection of Facts and Trivia About Baseball’s Relatives has compiled over 3,500 players, coaches, managers, scouts, executives, owners, broadcasters, and umpires who had family relationships in baseball through the 2011 season. More information about the book can be viewed at http://thetenthinning.com/booksreviews.html