One of my special interests in the game of baseball has been the identification of the many family relationships that have existed throughout the history of the game. In 2012, I published Family Ties: A Comprehensive Collection of Facts and Trivia About Baseball’s Relatives that contained over 3,500 professional players, managers, coaches, scouts, executives, umpires, and broadcasters with relatives in professional baseball.
As the World Series winds down the 2014 season, it’s a good time to look back and assess the current level of family relationships (brothers, father-son, uncle-nephew, cousins, etc.) among the players, managers, and coaches in the game. I’ve compiled an updated list of the 2014 players, managers, and coaches that have current or past relatives in professional baseball. It’s safe to say the tradition of baseball’s family ties has continued at a very high level, with over 650 current family relationships existing in 2014, including over 170 players who had multiple relationships.
The entire 2014 list can be retrieved on my Family Ties 2014 Season site page on this website.
Following is a “By the Numbers” illustration of how prevalent baseball’s family trees were in 2014.
418 – number of major and minor league players in 2014 with a present or past relative in professional baseball (major, minor, and independent leagues). Admittedly, my list is not exhaustive for the minor league players with relatives, and I estimate my compilation could be low by as much as 20%.
84 – number of 2014 major league managers and coaches with a relative in professional baseball. Assuming each of the 30 MLB teams has a coaching staff of eight members, this number represents about a third of the coaching staff in the entire league.
100 – number of 2014 major league players with a relative that also played in the major leagues (present or past). Assuming an average of 50 players appearing on the roster for each of the 30 MLB teams throughout the season, the count for this season is consistent with my count in Family Ties that 7% of all major league players in history were either a father, son, brother, or grandfather.
52 – number of additional 2014 major league players with a relative in the minor leagues (present or past).
25 – number of 2014 major league players with a relative also playing in the major leagues in 2014.
14 – number of grandsons playing professionally in 2014 whose grandfathers formerly played in the major leagues; another 15 grandsons had grandfathers who previously played in the minor leagues.
73 – number of amateur players selected in the 2014 MLB Draft with current or past relatives in professional baseball; 13 of these amateur players had multiple relatives in professional baseball.
Some additional facts from information in the list include:
Included in the number of grandsons are last names which may sound familiar—Hall of Famers Yastrzemski, Ripken, and Killebrew. Current A’s pitcher Drew Pomeranz is the great grandson of Garland Buckeye who played in the majors from 1919 to 1928.
40 of the drafted amateurs in 2014 have a relative who played in the majors. Some of the drafted players were relatives of prominent major leaguers: Mariano Rivera III (son of Mariano), Justus Sheffield (nephew of Gary), Nick Gordon (son of Tom and brother of Dee), Benito Santiago Jr. (son of Benito), and Ryan Ripken (son of Cal Jr. and grandson of Cal Sr.).
The Atlanta Braves led the league in selecting the most relatives in the 2014 MLB Draft with eight, while the Cincinnati Reds drafted seven.
Veteran Scott Hairston is a three-generation player, one of only seven major leaguers in baseball history. Three players drafted in 2014, Ryan Ripken, Adam Law, and Jed Sprague , could add to this list if they eventually get to the big leagues.
In addition to Hairston’s father and grandfather playing in the big leagues, he had two uncles and two brothers who also played professionally.
Torii Hunter’s son was drafted in 2014, but he chose to attend college at Notre Dame to play football and baseball. The last father-son combo to play in the majors at the same time was Tim Raines and his son in 2001.
The Milwaukee Brewers, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals and Colorado Rockies teams each had five of their coaching staff with relatives in baseball.
Brett Bochy made his major league debut in 2014 for San Francisco and played for his father, Bruce, who was the manager.
Thirteen players who made their 2014 major league debuts had relatives that were former major leaguers.
Mike Guerrero, current coach for the Milwaukee Brewers, has four brothers in professional baseball capacities as player, scout, or coach. His father was a former major league scout.