Keith Hernandez’s New Memoir Discusses Relationship with Father

Former major-league player Keith Hernandez’s new book, I’m Keith Hernandez: A Memoir (Little, Brown and Company, 2018) was recently released. One of the topics he discusses is his relationship with his father, John, who also played professional baseball for six seasons during 1941-1949, reaching the Double-AA level with several organizations.

Keith played 17 seasons in the major-leagues with the Cardinals, Mets, and Indians organizations.  He was the National League MVP in 1979 and was the winner of 11 Gold Glove Awards at first base.

Keith’s brother, Gary, played in the Cardinals and Angels organizations from 1972-1975.

For more information about Keith Hernandez’s new book, click on the link below from the New York Post:

https://nypost.com/2018/05/01/mets-legend-keith-hernandez-isnt-ashamed-he-cried/

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Baseball Roots Run Deep for Ronald Acuna Jr.

Atlanta Braves rookie sensation Ronald Acuna Jr. finally got the big-leagues on April 25 after a lot of hype during spring training. The Braves top prospect in 2017, he was named the Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America.

Acuna’s family is no stranger to baseball diamonds.  His father, Ronald Sr., played eight minor-league seasons from 1999 to 2006, mostly as an outfielder in the Mets organizations.  His grandfather, Romualdo Blanco, played in the minors from 1971 to 1977 in the Mets and Padres organizations.

Ronald Jr.’s younger brother Luisangel is a top prospect in Venezuela and will be eligible for the international signing period later this summer.

He has four major-league cousins: Vicente Campos (currently with the Los Angeles Angels organization), Alcides Escobar (currently with the Kansas City Royals), Edwin Escobar (last played with Arizona in 2016), and Kelvim Escobar (last played with the Angels in 2009).  His uncle, Jose Escobar, played with the Cleveland Indians in 1991.

For more information about Ronald Acuna Jr. and his father, click on the links below from mlb.com:

https://www.mlb.com/braves/news/5-things-you-need-to-know-about-ronald-acuna/c-273788768

https://www.mlb.com/news/jose-reyes-played-with-ronald-acunas-father/c-274934382

 

 

 

State College of Florida Has Three Players with MLB Ties

Three members of the State College of Florida Manatees team have family ties in the major-leagues.

Jaren Shelby is the son of John Shelby, former outfielder for 11 seasons, primarily playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles.  Jaren’s cousin, Josh Harrison, is currently playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Brock Bell is the son of Jay Bell, former infielder for 18 seasons, primarily playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks.  Brock’s brother, Brantley, is currently an infielder in the Cincinnati Reds farm system.

Rougie Odor is the nephew of current Texas Ranger shortstop Rougned Odor.  His father, Rouglas Odor, played in the minors and is currently a minor-league coach.

To read more about these three college players, follow the link below from the Bradenton Herald:

http://www.bradenton.com/sports/article209237439.html

Alex Cora beats brother Joey to managerial ranks

On Opening Day, Alex Cora began his inaugural season as the manager of the Boston Red Sox.  After playing 14 years in the majors, Alex got his first major-league managerial gig with the team he helped win a World Series championship in 2007.  Last season he was the bench coach for the World Series champion Houston Astros.

Alex’s brother, Joey, was an 11-year veteran of the big-leagues, having posted an all-star season with the Seattle Mariners in 1997.  Joey has pursued managerial jobs himself, having previously interviewed for a handful of major-league jobs.  He is currently the third-base coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates and still has hopes of eventually joining his brother in the managerial ranks.

Who know, one day we might see the Cora brothers at the helm of teams competing in the World Series.

For a recent story about the Cora brothers, follow the link below at mlb.com:

https://www.mlb.com/news/alex-cora-joey-cora-share-deep-bond/c-269895796

 

Hal Steinbrenner Has High Hopes for 2018

Hal Steinbrenner took over the reigns of the New York Yankees organization as it managing partner after the 2007 season, when after his father, George, stepped down from the day-to-day control of the team.   Hal’s brother, Hank, is also a partner in the organization.

Hal is looking forward to another successful season after coming within one game of getting to the World Series last year.  The Yankees have a new manager in Aaron Boone and also added National League home run champion Giancarlo Stanton to an already potent lineup during the off-season.

For more information about Hal Steinbrenner and the upcoming season, follow the link below from newsday.com:

https://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/yankees/hal-steinbrenner-yankees-1.17034801

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Griffeys: One Very Good, One Dominant

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi

There have been nearly 250 father-son combinations to play in Major League Baseball. History shows that it’s pretty rare for both the father and the son to excel on the diamond at a high level comprising leadership in batting or pitching categories, all-star selections, and post-season appearances.

Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Tony Perez, and Earl Averill had major-league sons with marginal success as big-leaguers themselves, while Joe Wood and Ed Walsh’s sons were in the majors only long enough for the proverbial “cup of coffee.” Pete Rose’s son spent 21 years in the minors, but managed to get into only 11 games in the Big Show. The sons of Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, and Mickey Mantle never made it out of the low minor leagues.

On the other hand, there are a few good examples of father and son careers that were both highly successful. One of those was Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr.

Ken Griffey Jr. was simply one of the best players in baseball history. In 1998 The Sporting News came up with their list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players of all time which included Griffey Jr. who was then only 28 years old.  He joined legendary players such as Ruth, Aaron, Cobb, Williams, Mays, Musial, and DiMaggio.  The ultimate honor for a baseball player is his election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Griffey Jr. came closest of any player to being a unanimous Hall of Fame inductee in 2016, garnering 99.3% of the baseball writers’ votes.

Griffey Jr. had the distinction of being the first player in history to appear with his father in the same major-league game. 19-year-old Griffey Jr. and his 40-year-old father, Ken Sr., were teammates with the Seattle Mariners in 1990 when they first played together on August 21.  Three weeks later they hit back-to-back home runs in the same game.

While the Mariners’ roster featuring both Griffeys may have been somewhat of a publicity stunt at the time, Griffey Sr.’s own career was nothing to sneeze at. His performance is often overshadowed by his son’s superstardom.  Even though he wasn’t a Hall of Famer like his son (Griffey Sr. received a meager 4.7% of the votes in his only year of eligibility in 1999), Griffey Sr. did manage to log a few All-Star seasons and claim two World Series rings.

Here is more background and comparison of the careers of the two outstanding players.

Both Griffeys were born in Denora, PA, which was also the birthplace of Stan Musial. Griffey Jr. shares the same birthday as Musial.

Griffey Sr. began his professional career at age 19 in 1969, being drafted in the 29th round by the Cincinnati Reds.  However, he didn’t make his major-league debut until August 25, 1973 at age 23.  Griffey Jr. was the first overall pick in the 1987 MLB Draft by Seattle when he was 17 years old and made his major-league debut on April 3, 1989.  Griffey Jr. went on to play in 22 big-league seasons, while his dad recorded 19 seasons.  Both were outfielders.

Griffey Sr.’s career slash line (Batting Average/On-Base Percentage/Slugging Percentage) was .296/.359/.431 compared to Junior’s .284/.370/.538. The biggest contributor to their difference in Slugging Percentage was Junior’s 630 career home runs, currently sixth on the all-time leader list.  Griffey Sr.’s highest season was 21 home runs, as he managed to hit only 152 during his career.  Junior led the American League in round-trippers in four seasons and hit 40 or more in seven seasons.  Griffey Sr. had the edge over his father in Batting Average, as he compiled nine seasons with .300 or better.

Griffey Jr. was selected to 13 All-Star teams while his father appeared on three, including an All-Star Game MVP Award in 1980. Griffey Jr. also captured the award in 1992.

In addition to Junior, Griffey Sr. had another son, Craig, who took up a pro baseball career from 1991 to 1997. Craig appeared in seven minor-league seasons in the Mariners and Reds organizations but managed to reach the Triple-A level for only a handful of games.  Griffey Jr.’s son, Trey (Ken Griffey III), pursued football over baseball as his sport of choice.  He wound up playing wide receiver for the University of Arizona for four seasons, had tryouts with the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins, but has yet to make an active NFL team roster.  With no expectation of pursuing a pro baseball career, Trey was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 24th round of the 2016 MLB Draft as a tribute to his father (Griffey Jr.’s uniform number with the Mariners was 24.).

Griffey Sr.’s biggest claim to fame, and perhaps his most significant accomplishment over his son, came as a member of the fabled Cincinnati Reds’ “Big Red Machine” teams in the early-to-mid 1970s. He helped the Reds win the World Series in 1975 and 1976.  Junior played on three post-season teams, two with Seattle and one with the Chicago White Sox, but his teams reached the American League Championship Series only once.

Griffey Jr. attained a peak salary of $12.5 million in four seasons with Cincinnati. He earned a total of $151.7 million during his career.  Of course the economics of baseball were different when Griffey Sr. was playing.  He collected a little over $10 million during his entire career, with his highest annual salary being $1.15 million for Atlanta in 1987.

The Griffeys rank among the top major-league father-son duos for combined career performances. They lead all pairs in career hits, and rank second all-time behind Barry and Bobby Bonds in games played, runs scored, home runs, and RBI.

In addition to the Bondses, other successful major-league father-son combos include Felipe and Moises Alou, George and Dick Sisler, Gus and Buddy Bell, and Mel and Todd Stottlemyre.

Former big-league stars Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Craig Biggio and Dante Bichette currently have sons in the low minors trying to follow in their father’s footsteps. Perhaps one of these will be successful in forming the next great MLB father-son duo.

 

Melvin Upton Jr. gets new life with Indians

Melvin Upton Jr. was once a star-level player with Tampa Bay, and then his career took a downturn after signing a lucrative contract with the Atlanta Braves.  The low point of his career came last year, when he signed a minor-league deal with the San Francisco Giants.  However, due to a thumb injury, he played only 12 games at the Triple-A level.

Upton recently signed a minor-league contract with the Cleveland Indians, with the hopes of getting back to the big leagues.

Upton’s brother, Justin, re-signed with the California Angels for the 2018 season. In 2013-14, the brothers played together with Atlanta.

For more information about Melvin Upton Jr.’s signing with the Indians, follow the link below from fangraphs.com:

https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/melvin-upton-signs-with-makes-sense-for-indians/