Josh Fuentes looks forward to joining cousin Nolan Arenado with Rockies

Josh Fuentes wasn’t drafted by a major-league team coming out of college, but he managed to become the MVP of the Pacific Coast League in 2018 while playing for Albuquerque in the Colorado Rockies system.

His cousin is Nolan Arenado, the best player on the major-league Rockies team, so he looks forward to the day when he can suit up in the same lineup with him.

Arenado is a four-time National League all-star who finished in the top five of the MVP voting for the third straight year last season.

For more information about the cousins, follow the link below from The Athletic

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Trio of Franco Brothers Playing for Rare Place in History

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi

Picture this: on the baseball highlights show one evening, the sports anchor mentions that Wander Franco hit a game-winning home run for his team.  Well, which Wander Franco was it?

Initially that may sound like a foolish question, but it turns out to be a legitimate one, since there’s actually a trio of current professional baseball brothers with the same first and last name, Wander Franco. The Dominican Republic-born brothers are still in their early careers, but if they ever get to the big leagues at the same time, they would likely cause a fair amount of confusion for baseball followers who will be challenged to keep them differentiated.

The pick of the litter of the ball-playing Franco brothers is the youngest, Wander Samuel, who at age 17 is already projected to be the next teen phenom in the majors. He was the Number 1 overall international pick of 2017 by the Tampa Bay Rays and proved in his debut season in 2018 that the Rays were correct in their assessment of his potential.  The switch-hitting shortstop recorded a slash line of .351/.418/.587 at the rookie-league level, while posting 11 HR and 57 RBI in 61 games.  He was named Player of the Year in the Appalachian League.  The Rays’ investment of $3.85 million to sign Franco looks like it may turn out to be a sound one.

22-year-old Wander Alexander played in the San Francisco Giants organization last season at the Single-A level. He is also a switch-hitter that plays both corner infield positions.  His numbers weren’t too shabby either, as his slash line consisted of .314/.351/.519.  He was originally signed by the Houston Astros as a teenager and spent four seasons in the low minors before being dealt to the Giants.

Wander Javier is the “old man” of the bunch at 23 years old. The third baseman also currently plays in the Giants organization, after starting his career with the Kansas City Royals.  Playing at the Single-A level in 2018, he showed a tendency to strike out a lot, but also knocked in 65 runs while posting a .271 average.  He was named Offensive Player of the Year for his team.

Reportedly the brothers’ father (yes, his first name is also Wander) had a brief stint in the Chicago White Sox minor league system, although that isn’t substantiated in Baseball-Reference.com. In any case, he taught them the fundamentals of the game, and they were also influenced by uncles Erick and Willy Aybar, both of whom had major-league careers.

If the three Franco brothers wind up in the majors at the same time, it wouldn’t be the first time.

Altogether there have been only 20 sets of brothers in baseball history that were comprised of three or more major-leaguers. Perhaps the most famous trio of brothers were the DiMaggios (Joe, Vince, and Dominic), who played at the same time in the late 1940s.  Each of them attained all-star status during their respective careers.

There were the Boyer brothers (Cloyd, Ken, and Clete) in 1955, and the Cruz brothers (Jose, Tommy, and Hector) played in the 1970s. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Delahanty, Mansell, and O’Neill brothers were among the first families with three or more siblings to play in the majors at the same time.

More recently, the Molina brothers (Bengie, Jose, and Yadier) played simultaneously during the 2004-2010 timeframe. Among the three brothers, all of whom were catchers, they have played a total of 43 seasons, with Yadier still active.  Each of them has at least one World Series ring.

However, the rarest occurrence of three brothers playing at the same time happened when the Alou brothers (Felipe, Jesus, and Matty) actually appeared in the same game on September 10, 1963, for the San Francisco Giants. In that game, they made all three outs in the 8th inning, with Matty and Jesus making pinch-hitting appearances.  On September 15, the three Alous manned all three outfield positions late in the game.

But there have been countless sets of multiple brothers who didn’t make it.

So it’s still a bit early to predict whether all three Franco brothers will reach The Show, since they have yet to prove themselves beyond the low minors. Based on history though, the odds are against them; but don’t count them out just yet.

 

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

 

 

 

Josh Fuentes Shares Third Base Position with Cousin

Josh Fuentes grew up playing whiffle ball with his cousin Nolan Arenado, who is the all-star third baseman for the Colorado Rockies.  Fuentes is playing in the Rockies’ farm system and his current position is also third base.

25-year-old Fuentes is in his first season at the Triple-A level with Albuquerque.  Last year he hit .307, with 15 home runs and 72 RBI with Double-A Hartford.

Arenado is currently in his sixth season with the Rockies, where he has been a Gold Glove third baseman in each of his prior seasons.  He led the National League in home runs in 2015 and 2016 and has been in the top 10 of the MVP Award voting for the past three seasons.

For more information about Josh Fuentes, follow the link below from KRQE.com:

http://www.krqe.com/sports/local-sports/isotopes-infielder-josh-fuentes-has-a-colorado-rockies-family-tie/1102321900

 

These Dads Were Ballplayers, Too

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi

It’s one thing for a dad to have his son make it to the major-leagues, but it’s even more special when the dad was also a former major-leaguer. The number of big-league father-son combinations is pretty rare.  Less than 500, out of almost 19,000 major leaguers to have played since 1876, are a father or son.

When former major-leaguer Pete Rose was shopping around for a new team in the free agent marketplace, one of his considerations was that the team would allow his son to practically have everyday access to the team’s clubhouse. Many major-league sons like Pete Jr. have their interests in baseball as youngsters fueled by hanging out with their dads in the clubhouse or shagging fly balls during batting practice before their dads’ games.  Consequently, the sons have a unique opportunity to rub shoulders with big-league players and to begin learning the ropes of what it takes to be a successful professional ballplayer.

Ironically, the fathers probably didn’t get too many chances to see their sons develop their own skills while growing up on the playgrounds, since the dads were off playing in big-league cities across the country. For example, Pete Rose said he attended fewer than ten of his son’s games during his childhood.  When Ken Griffey Jr. was playing in his first pro season in an instructional league, it was the first time in five years his major-league father had seen him play.

In honor of Father’s Day, below is a group of major league dads from the past, whose sons are currently playing in the big-leagues. The dads are organized into a Fathers Fantasy Team.

1B — Andy Van Slyke, father of Scott Van Slyke (Los Angeles Dodgers).  Andy was a three-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner during 1983 to 1995.  Most of his career was spent with the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates as an outfielder, but he occasionally played first base as well.

2B – Delino DeShields, father of Delino DeShields Jr. (Texas Rangers).  The elder DeShields was the first-round draft selection of the Montreal Expos in 1987.  Three years later he was runner-up for National League Rookie of the Year honors.  He then went on to 13-year career in which he batted .268.

SS – Ivan de Jesus, father of Ivan de Jesus Jr. (Milwaukee Brewers).  Ivan Sr. was a slick-fielding shortstop for the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies.  He was the shortstop on the 1983 Phillies World Series team whose infield included Pete Rose, Joe Morgan and Mike Schmidt.

3B – Clay Bellinger, father of Cody Bellinger (Los Angeles Dodgers).  Clay appeared in the World Series in 2001 and 2002 with the New York Yankees, earning a championship ring in 2001.  Primarily a utility player, he played every position with the Yankees except pitcher and catcher in 2000.

OF — Kevin Romine, father of Andrew Romine (Detroit Tigers) and Austin Romine (New York Yankees).  Kevin was a 2nd-round pick of the Boston Red Sox in 1982 and played with them during 1985 to 1991.  He had one post-season appearance with the Red Sox in 1988.

OF – Eric Young, father of Eric Young Jr. (Los Angeles Angels).  Eric Sr. played fifteen seasons in the big-leagues with seven different teams as a second baseman and outfielder.  During his career he compiled a .283 batting average and 465 stolen bases, currently 48th on the all-time stolen base list.  He was an All-Star in 1996 with Colorado as a second baseman.

OF – Raul R. Mondesi, father of Raul A. Mondesi (Kansas City Royals).  The elder Mondesi was National League Rookie of the Year in 1994 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and wound up playing seven seasons with them, including two post-seasons appearances.  He played a total of 13 seasons in the majors, compiling 271 home runs.

C – Sal Butera, father of Drew Butera (Kansas City Royals).  Sal was a backup catcher for five different major-league clubs during 1980 to 1988.  He was a member of the 1987 World Series champion Minnesota Twins.

SP – Tom Gordon, father of Dee Gordon (Miami Marlins).  Nicknamed “Flash,” Tom first started his pro career as a starting pitcher, but later switched to the bullpen.  He was runner-up in the voting for the American League Rookie of the Year in 1989 while with the Kansas City Royals.  He won 97 games as a starter during his first 10 seasons.  He led the led the American League in saves in 1998 with the Boston Red Sox.  Altogether he recorded 158 career saves.  He was a three-time All-Star selection.

RP – Steve Bedrosian, father of Cam Bedrosian (Los Angeles Angels).  Steve compiled a 76-79 record and 184 saves over 14 seasons during 1981 to 1985.  He was the National League’s Cy Young Award winner in 1987 with the Philadelphia Phillies, a relatively uncommon feat for a relief pitcher.  He was a member of the 1991 World Series champion Minnesota Twins.

A few other current major-leaguers with fathers who also played at the major-league level include Steve Lombardozzi (Marlins), Lance McCullers Jr. (Astros), Jason Grilli (Blue Jays), and Travis Shaw (Brewers).

Family Ties Flourishing in Baseball: New York Mets

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi

This is the ninth in a series of reviews that will take a look at family relationships in each of the thirty major-league organizations.

Baseball has more family relationships than any other professional sport. They existed in the earliest days of the sport in the 1870s, and they are abundant in today’s game, perhaps more so than ever before.  Baseball has been called a “generational” sport for several reasons.  One of them is that multiple generations of families have been active in the game–grandfathers, fathers, sons, and brothers.  And now even some great-grandsons are starting to show up on rosters.  Uncles, nephews, cousins and in-laws are part of the extended family of baseball relatives, too.

Baseball bloodlines aren’t limited to just the players. Family trees with a baseball background have commonly included managers, coaches, scouts, owners, executives, front office personnel, umpires, and broadcasters, as well.

The New York Mets were filled with examples of players and non-players that had relatives in baseball. Some of the more noteworthy ones include:

Lenny Dykstra began his major-league career with the Mets in 1985 and was a key member of their World Series championship team in 1986.  He was a .278 hitter with 116 stolen bases in his five seasons with the Mets.  He played the balance of his 12-year career with the Philadelphia Phillies ending in 1996.  His son, Cutter, was an outfielder with Washington’s Double-A Harrisburg affiliate last year, while his son, Luke, was an infielder currently in the Atlanta Braves organization.

Dwight Gooden was National League Rookie of the Year for the Mets in 1984, while also finishing second in the Cy Young Award voting.  In his eleven seasons with the Mets, he posted a 157-85 record, including 23 shutouts and 1,898 strikeouts.  Gooden pitched a no-hitter for the New York Yankees in 1996 and finished his career in 2000.  Gooden is the uncle of Gary Sheffield, who posted 509 HR, 1,676 RBI, and .292 BA in 22 major-league seasons.

Todd Hundley spent nine of his fourteen years in the major leagues with the New York Mets.  The catcher posted all-star seasons with them in 1996 and 1997 and compiled 202 HR and 509 RBI during his entire career.  Todd’s father, Randy, was also a major-league catcher for fourteen seasons, primarily with the Chicago Cubs.

Al Leiter had the most productive years of his career with the Mets during 1998 to 2004.  He won 95 games and posted a 3.42 ERA.  He started his major-league career with the New York Yankees in 1987 and pitched on two World Series winning teams, with Toronto in 1993 and Florida in 1997.  Al’s brother, Mark, pitched in eleven major-league seasons, compiling a career record of 65-73.  His brother, Kurt, pitched in four minor-league seasons in the Baltimore Orioles organization.  Al’s nephew, Mark Leiter Jr., is currently pitching in the Philadelphia Phillies’ farm system.

Frank “Tug” McGraw had the breakout of his career in 1969 as a reliever on the Mets’ first-ever division winning team, when he posted a 9-3 record, 12 saves and 2.24 ERA.  The popular Mets’ rallying cry, “Ya Gotta Believe,” is attributed to McGraw.  Altogether, he pitched nine seasons with the Mets and the remainder of his career with the Philadelphia Phillies.  The two-time all-star played for the Phillies in their 1980 World Series defeat of the Kansas City Royals.  Tug’s brother, Hank, played twelve minor-league seasons in which he hit 161 HR and 666 RBI, but never appeared in the big leagues.  Tug’s son is Tim McGraw, the award-winning singer, songwriter, and actor.

Jesse Orosco pitched eight of his twenty-four major-league seasons with the Mets, where he compiled a 44-44 record, 2.73 ERA and 144 saves.  He recorded the save in the 1986 World Series Game 7, in which the Mets’ defeated the Boston Red Sox.  The lefty currently holds the major-league record for games played (1,252) by a pitcher.  Jesse’s son, Jesse Jr., pitched in the minors and independent leagues from 2008 to 2011.

Joan Whitney Payson was the first owner of the New York Mets franchise and the first woman owner of a major-league baseball team without inheriting the team.  She was married to Charles Payson, who later took over the team after Joan died.  Joan’s daughter, Linda de Roulet, served as president of the Mets from 1976 to 1979.

Mookie Wilson played ten seasons with the Mets from 1980 to 1989.  He is often remembered for hitting the ground ball that went through Bill Buckner’s legs in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series won by the Mets.  During his 13-year career, he had a .274 batting average and 327 stolen bases.  Mookie is the uncle and stepfather of Preston Wilson, who played ten major-league seasons.  Preston’s best year was in 2003 when he led the National League in RBI with 141 and made the all-star team with Colorado.  Mookie’s brother, Johnny, played six minor-league seasons with the Mets and Detroit Tigers organizations from 1982 to 1987.

Fast-forwarding to more recent times, below are some highlights of baseball relatives in the Mets organization during 2016.

Travis d’Arnaud completed his fourth season with the Mets last year, after having been the first-round draft selection of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007 and spending three seasons in the Toronto Blue Jays farm system.  The catcher has a career .245 batting average.  His brother, Chase, was an infielder with the Atlanta Braves last season, his fifth major-league campaign.

Erik Goeddel was a relief pitcher for the Mets in 36 appearances last season.  H was in his third major-league season, after being selected out of UCLA in the 24th round of the of the 2010 MLB.  His brother, Tyler, made his major-league debut with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2016 as an outfielder.

Robert Gsellman made his major-league debut with the Mets last year, posting a 4-2 record and 2.42 ERA in eight starts.  He had been the 13th-round selection of the Mets in the 2011 MLB Draft.  His father, Bob, was a catcher in the Philadelphia Phillies organization from 1984 to 1986.

Addison Reed appeared in 80 games as a relief pitcher for the Mets last year, compiling a 4-2 record and 1.97 ERA.  He had previously pitched for the Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks.  His brother, Austin, pitched in the Chicago Cubs organization from 2010 to 2014.

Neil Walker was having an outstanding season (23 HR, 55 RBI, and .282 BA) in his first year with the Mets last year before missing the last month of the season due to injury.  He had previously played for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2009 to 2015, which included a Silver Slugger Award for second basemen in 2014.  His father, Tom, was a major-league pitcher for four teams from 1972 to 1977, compiling an 18-23 record.  Neil’s brother-in-law, Don Kelly, has been a major-league infielder/outfielder from 2007 to 2016, most recently with the Miami Marlins.  Neil’s uncle, Chip Lang, pitched parts of two seasons for the Montreal Expos from 1975-1976.

Zach Wheeler has missed the last two seasons with the Mets due to arm problems, but posted 18 victories in the prior two seasons.  He was a first-round pick of the San Francisco Giants in the 2009 MLB Draft.  His brother, Adam, pitched in the New York Yankees’ minor-league system from 2001 to 2004.

The Mets’ pipeline of baseball relatives includes several top minor league prospects whose relatives played professionally, several of them with famous last names in baseball.

Gavin Cecchini was drafted out of high school by the Mets in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft and made his major-league debut with the Mets on September 11, 2016.  His brother, Garin, a fourth-round pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2010, played at the Triple-A level for the Milwaukee Brewers last season.  Garin appeared in 13 games for the Red Sox during 2014 and 2015.

Ricky Knapp was an eighth-round pick of the Mets in 2013 and recorded a 13-6 record at all three levels of the minors in the Mets’ system last year.  Ricky’s father, Rick, pitched in the minors from 1983 to 1987, primarily for the Texas Rangers’ farm system.

  1. J. Mazzilli was the fourth-round pick out of the University of Connecticut by the Mets in 2013. Last year he split the season between the Triple-A and Double-A levels, hitting a combined .239 with 5 HR and 43 RBI. He is the son of Lee Mazzilli, a former outfielder with the Mets for ten seasons and an all-star for them in 1979.  Lee was the manager of the Baltimore Orioles in 2004-2005. L. J.‘s uncle, Don, played minor-league ball in the San Francisco Giants’ system in 1982-1983.

Tyler Pill completed his sixth minor-league season in the Mets organization last year.  He has a career record of 38-29.  His brother, Brett, played in three major-league seasons with the San Francisco Giants before spending the last three season playing in Korea.

Natanael Ramos signed as an 18-year-old out of Venezuela in 2011 and has played in the Met’s low minors since then.  His brother, Wilson, was a catcher with the Washington Nationals last year, where he hit 22 home runs, 80 RBI and .307 average; was selected to the National League all-star team; and collected the Silver Slugger Award for catchers.  Wilson’s brother, David, is a relief pitcher in the Nationals farm system.

Paul Sewald pitched for the Mets’ Triple-A club last year, his fifth with the organization.  He was selected by the Mets in the 10th round of the 2012 MLB Draft.  His brother, Johnny, has been an outfielder in the Houston Astros organization since 2015.

The 2016 Mets had their share of baseball relatives in the dugout and front office, too.

Sandy Alderson is the general manager of the Mets.  He was previously an executive with the Oakland A’s and San Diego Padres, as well as executive vice president for baseball operations with the MLB Commissioner’s Office.  His son, Bryn, is currently a scout in the Mets organization.

Ricky Bones is the bullpen coach for Mets.  He had an eleven-year major-league pitching career as a starter and a reliever for seven different clubs.  He posted one all-star season in 1994.  He is the cousin of Ricky Ledee, who was an outfielder for ten major-league seasons during 1998 to 2007.

Ron Darling is a broadcaster for the Mets, in addition to being a studio host for MLB Network.  He won 99 games for the Mets during 1983-1991 and was a member of the 1986 World Series champion Mets.  His brother, Edwin, was a first baseman in the New York Yankees farm system 1981-1982.

Rusty Staub is a club ambassador for the Mets, after having been a player and part of their broadcast team during his baseball career.  He began his major-league career at age 19 and played a total of 23 seasons in the big leagues, including stints with the Mets from 1972-1975 and 1981-1985.  He recorded 2,716 career hits and is the only player in baseball history to ever record more than 500 hits for four different clubs.  He was a six-time all-star selection.  His father, Ray Sr., played minor-league baseball in 1937-1938, while his brother, Ray Jr., was an outfielder in the Houston Astros organization in 1962-1963.

Tim Teufel was the third base coach for the Mets last year.  His 11-year major-league playing career included a stint with the Mets from 1986 to 1991.  He will be a minor league instructor and club ambassador for the Mets in 2017.  His son, Shawn, pitched four minor-league seasons with the Detroit Tigers and New York Mets from 2010 to 2013.

Fred Wilpon is chairman of the board and CEO of the Mets and has had an ownership stake in the club since 1980.  His family currently holds the majority ownership of the club.  Fred’s brother, Richard, is also partner/director of the club, while his son, Jeff, is the COO, in addition to a partner/director role.  Fred is the grandfather of Bradley Wilpon, who was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 36th round of the 2014 MLB Draft.

 

Baseball’s Relatives Website

The entire list of 2016 active major and minor league players and non-players can be retrieved at:

https://baseballrelatives.wordpress.com/2016-family-ties/

 

 

Family Ties Flourishing in Baseball: Cleveland Indians

Compiled by Richard Cuicchi

This is the eighth in a series of reviews that will take a look at family relationships in each of the thirty major-league organizations.

Baseball has more family relationships than any other professional sport. They existed in the earliest days of the sport in the 1870s, and they are abundant in today’s game, perhaps more so than ever before.  Baseball has been called a “generational” sport for several reasons.  One of them is that multiple generations of families have been active in the game–grandfathers, fathers, sons, and brothers.  And now even some great-grandsons are starting to show up on rosters.  Uncles, nephews, cousins and in-laws are part of the extended family of baseball relatives, too.

Baseball bloodlines aren’t limited to just the players. Family trees with a baseball background have commonly included managers, coaches, scouts, owners, executives, front office personnel, umpires, and broadcasters, as well.

The Cleveland Indians were filled with examples of players and non-players that had relatives in baseball. Some of the more noteworthy ones include:

Buddy Bell was a five-time all-star and six-time Gold Glove Award winner as a third baseman during his 18 major-league seasons, including seven with the Indians.  Buddy also managed three major league teams and is currently an executive with the Chicago White Sox.  Bell is part of one of only a handful of three-generation players in the history of major-league baseball.  His son, David, is the current bench coach of the Cardinals.  During David’s major-league playing career that spanned from 1995 to 2006 with six different major-league clubs, he was a career .257 hitter. Buddy’s father, Gus, was a four-time all-star during his nine seasons with the Cincinnati Reds.  Overall, Gus played 15 seasons, ending in 1964.  Buddy’s son, Mike, played briefly with the Cincinnati Reds in 2000 and now currently works in the front office of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Ray Boone was a major league infielder from 1948 to 1960, including all-star seasons in 1954 and 1956.  The infielder played for the Indians from 1948 to 1953.  His family is also a three-generation major-league baseball family.  His son, Bob, is a senior advisor to the Washington Nationals’ general manager Mike Rizzo.  Bob was a major-league catcher for nineteen years (1972-1990), including four all-star and seven Gold Glove Award seasons.  Bob also managed in the majors for six seasons, splitting his time between the Kansas City Royals and Cincinnati Reds.  Two of Ray’s grandsons, Bret and Aaron, had lengthy major league careers as infielders, both of whom had all-star seasons, while another son, Matt, played seven seasons in the minors.

Larry Doby Sr. was the first African-American player in the American League, making his major-league debut for the Cleveland Indians on July 5, 1947, barely three months after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the major leagues.  The outfielder went on to have a Hall of Fame career that included seven all-star selections and the runner-up spot in the 1954 American League MVP voting.  His son, Larry Jr., played three minor-league seasons in Class A.

Oscar Grimes played nine years in the majors, including his first five with the Cleveland Indians.  The infielder was a career .256 hitter between 1938 and 1946.  His father, Ray, was a career .329 hitter during his six major-league seasons from 1920 to 1926.  His uncle, Roy, played only 26 games in his only major-league season with the New York Giants in 1920.  Ray and Roy were one of only eight sets of twins to ever play in the major leagues.

Jim Hegan played fourteen of his seventeen major-league seasons with the Cleveland Indians, earning five all-star selections.  The catcher played in the World Series with the Indians in 1948 and 1954.  He later became a coach for the New York Yankees.  His son, Mike, signed after one year in college at Holy Cross with the Yankees and made his major-league debut with them in 1964, while his father was still coaching.  Mike went on to play twelve major-league seasons, including an all-star selection with the expansion Seattle Pilots in 1969, their only year of existence.  Mike later became a broadcaster for the Milwaukee Brewers and Cleveland Indians.

Orestes “Minnie” Minoso began his major-league career with the Cleveland Indians in 1949.  However, it was with the Chicago White Sox that he made most of his impact.  The speedy outfielder was runner-up for Rookie of the Year in 1951 and was selected an American League all-star in seven seasons.  He returned to the Indians in 1958 and 1959.  In four different seasons, he finished fourth in the voting for league’s MVP.  Altogether, he posted a .298 career batting average, collecting over 1,950 hits.  His son, Orestes Jr., played in five minor-league seasons with the Kansas City Royals and White Sox organizations.  His grandson, Sam Macias, played in the rookie league for the White Sox farm system in 2013 and 2014.

Ray Narleski pitched for five seasons with the Cleveland Indians, both as a starter and reliever, during 1954 to 1958.  He posted a career record of 43-33, with 28 saves and a 3.60 ERA.  He is part of a three-generation baseball family.  His father, William E. “Bill”, played two seasons for the Boston Red Sox in 1929 and 1930, while his son, Steve, pitched in the Indians’ farm system from 1976 to 1983.  Ray’s two brothers, Bill Jr. and Theodore, and his uncle, William L., had minor-league careers.

Russ Nixon was a catcher for twelve major-league seasons, including four with the Cleveland Indians during 1957 and 1960.  He managed the Cincinnati Reds from 1982 to 1983 and the Atlanta Braves from 1988 to 1990.  His twin brother, Roy, was a first baseman in the Indians farm system from 1953 to 1957.

Fast-forwarding to more recent times, below are some highlights of baseball relatives in the Indians organization during 2016.

Michael Brantley was in his eighth year with the Indians last year, when his season was cut short by injury.  The outfielder’s best year was in 2014 when he finished 3rd in the voting for MVP.  He is the son of Mickey Brantley, an outfielder for the Seattle Mariners from 1986 to 1989.

Yan Gomes was in his fourth season with the Indians, when he also was injured after 74 games.  He was the Silver Slugger Award winner as a catcher in 2014.  His brother, Juan, played briefly in the Indians and Miami Marlins organizations last year.  Yan is the brother-in-law of Atlee Hammaker, a former major-league pitcher for twelve seasons, including an all-star year in 1983 when led the National League with a 2.25 ERA.

Jeff Manship was in his second season with the Indians last year as a middle relief pitcher.  He made his major-league debut with the Minnesota Twins in 2009 after being drafted out of Notre Dame in 2006.  Jeff’s brother, Matt, played one minor-league season in the Oakland A’s organization in 2006.

Zach McAllister was in his second season as a converted relief pitcher last year, posting a 3.44 ERA.  He began his major-league career with the Indians in 2011, after being a 3rd-round selection of the New York Yankees in 2006.  Zach’s father, Steve, was a scout in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization last year, after having previously served in the same capacity for the Milwaukee Brewers, California Angels, and Boston Red Sox.

The Indians’ pipeline of baseball relatives includes several top minor league prospects whose relatives played professionally, several of them with famous last names in baseball.

Conner Capel was the 5th-round draft choice of the Indians in 2016.  He made his professional debut in the Arizona Rookie League.  He is the son of Mike Capel, who pitched parts of three major-league seasons during 1988 to 1991.

Joe Sever completed his fifth season as a first baseman in the Indians organization last year, after being drafted in the 21st round in 2012.  With Double-A Akron last, he hit .251 with 4 HR and 35 RBI.  He is the nephew of John Elway, NFL Hall of Fame player, an outfielder in the New York Yankees organization in 1982.

Luke Wakamatsu was drafted out of high school in the 20th round of the 2015 MLB Draft and finished his second pro season at the Class A level last year.  The infielder is the son of Don Wakamatsu, who played part of one major-league season with the Indians in 1991 and was manager of the Seattle Mariners in 2009-2010.

Bradley Zimmer was a first-round draft pick of the Indians in 2014 and has progressed through the Indians farm system, including 37 games with Triple-A Columbus last season.  The outfielder is the brother of Kyle Zimmer, a first-round pick of the Kansas City Royals in 2012, who is still recovering from shoulder surgery in October 2014.

 

The 2016 Indians had their share of baseball relatives in the dugout and front office, too.

Sandy Alomar Jr. was the first-base coach for the Indians last year.  He was Rookie of the Year for the Indians in 1990 and was selected to six all-star teams with them.  He was a career .273 hitter in twenty major-league seasons.  His brother, Roberto, was a Hall of Fame second baseman during 1988 to 2004.  Their father, Sandy Sr., was a major-league infielder from 1964 to 1978 for six different clubs.  He had an all-star season with the California Angels in 1970.

Terry Francona, the manager of the Indians, led the team to their first World Series since 1995.  He previously won two Series titles as manager of the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2007.  Francona also had a ten-year playing career as a first baseman and outfielder.  His father, Tito, was a major-leaguer player from 1956 to 1970, including six seasons with the Indians.  He was an all-star selection in 1961 with the Indians.

Tom Hamilton is a broadcaster for the Indians.  His son, Nick, was a minor-league infielder in the Indians organization from 2012 to 2014.

Steve McCatty was a pitching coach in the Indians minor-league system last year, after serving as the pitching coach for the Washington Nationals from 2009 to 2015.  He had formerly pitched for the Oakland A’s from 1977 to 1985.  His son, Shane, was a pitcher in the Nationals organization from 2009 to 2012.

Brad Mills was the bench coach for the Indians last year, having also served in that capacity with Francona at Boston.  He managed the Houston Astros from 2010 to 2012 and was an infielder for the Montreal Expos from 1980 to 1983.  His son, Beau, was the first-round pick of the Indians in 2007 and played six minor-league seasons with the organization as a first baseman.

Mike Seghi worked in the Indians front office as director of team travel last year.  He is the son of Phil Seghi, the former general manager of the Indians from 1973 to 1985.

Robby Thompson served as a special assistant for the Indians last season.  He played second base for the San Francisco Giants from 1986 to 1996, which included two all-star seasons.  He was a coach for the Giants, Indians and Seattle Mariners.  He had twin sons who also played baseball.  Tyler was drafted out of the University of Florida, his father’s alma mater, by the Washington Nationals in the 46th round in 2011.  Logan was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 2010 and played one minor-league season with them.

 

Baseball’s Relatives Website

The entire list of 2016 active major and minor league players and non-players can be retrieved at:

https://baseballrelatives.wordpress.com/2016-family-ties/