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).

Trey Griffey Departs from Family’s Baseball Lineage

Trey Griffey is currently at the Indianapolis Colts’ mini-camp, trying to make the football team as a non-drafted wide receiver.  He played football at the University of Arizona where he had 79 catches for over 1,200 yards.

Griffey didn’t choose to follow in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps in pro baseball, where they both had long major-league careers.  Ken Griffey Jr, was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016, while Trey’s grandfather, Ken Griffey Sr., had an excellent major-league career that spanned 19 years and included two World Series championship teams.

Trey was actually selected in the 2016 MLB Draft in the 24th round by the Seattle Mariners, his father’s original big-league team, but it was a courtesy pick by the Mariners since Trey had not played baseball since his early teenage years.

To read more about Trey Griffey’s pursuit of a pro football career, follow the link below from foxsports.com:

http://www.foxsports.com/indiana/story/indianapolis-colts-rookies-looking-carry-family-legacies-051417

Ruben Amaro Sr. Dies at 81

Ruben Amaro Sr., a long-time member of the Philadelphia Phillies organization, died on March 31 at age 81.

After making his major-league debut with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1958, he was an infielder for the Phillies from 1960 to 1965 and then played four more major-league seasons, including three with the New York Yankees.  He remained in baseball as a major-league coach; minor-league manager, coach and instructor; as well as a scout and executive, spending six decades in the game.

Amaro Sr.’s son, Ruben Amaro Jr., is currently a coach for the Boston Red Sox, after serving as general manager for the Philadelphia Phillies from 2008 to 2015.  Amaro Jr. also had an eight-year major-league playing career from 1991 to 1998, including five seasons with the Phillies.

Amaro Sr.’s son, David Amaro, was drafted by the Chicago Cubs out of Duke University in 1984, but appeared in only one professional season.  His son, Luis Amaro, played one minor-league season in the Phillies organization in 2011.

Amaro Sr.’s father was Santos Amaro, a baseball star in the Cuban and Mexican professional leagues, being inducted into the halls of fame of both countries.

Read more about Ruben Amaro Sr.’s career at the link below from philly.com:

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/Philadelphia-Phillies-Ruben-Amaro-Sr-dies-at-81.html

Third-Generation Ballplayer, Jacob May, Makes Major League Debut

Jacob May made his major-league debut with the Chicago White Sox on April 4 against the Detroit Tigers, getting one RBI in four at-bats.  He was a third-round pick of the White Sox out of Coastal Carolina University in the 2013 MLB Draft.

May is the son of Lee May Jr., currently a minor-league coach in the Boston Red Sox organization.  Lee Jr. played eight minor-seasons with the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals, reaching the Triple-A level but never appearing in a big league game.

Jacob is the grandson of Lee May Sr., a three-time all-star and veteran of 18 major-league seasons.  Lee Sr. slammed 344 HR and 1,244 RBI during his career.

Jacob’s great-uncle, Carlos May, also had a major-league career consisting of ten seasons (1968-1977), primarily playing for the Chicago White Sox.  He was a two-time all-star with the White Sox.

Read more about Jacob May by following the link below from the Chicago Tribune:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/whitesox/ct-new-faces-jacob-may-white-sox-spt-0402-20170331-story.html

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/

 

Family Ties Flourishing in Baseball – Washington Nationals

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi

This is the seventh 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 heritage of the Nationals’ started with the Montreal Expos, its predecessor prior to the franchise’s move to Washington for the 2005 season. The Expos were filled with examples of players and non-players that had relatives in baseball.  Some of the more noteworthy ones include:

Andre Dawson is arguably the best player in the Expos’ history.  In his eleven seasons with them, he compiled 225 home runs, 838 RBI, and 253 stolen bases, while hitting .280.  He was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1977.  In 1987 with the Chicago Cubs, he led the National League in home runs and RBI as the league’s MVP.  Dawson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.  He is currently a special assistant with the Miami Marlins.  He is the nephew of Theodore Taylor, who played one minor league season in 1950.

Delino DeShields Sr., a speedy infielder, got his major league start with the Expos in 1990 when he was runner-up as the league’s Rookie of the Year.  In his 13-year career, he stole 464 bases and collected over 1,500 hits.  His son, Delino Jr., was the first-round pick of the Houston Astros in 2010 and completed his second major-league season with the Texas Rangers last year as an outfielder.

Vladimir Guerrero played eight seasons with the Expos from 1996 to 2003.  He had a career batting average of .323 with the Expos, while hitting 234 home runs and 702 RBI.  Over the course of his 16-year career, the outfielder hit .318 to go along with 449 home runs and 1,496 RBI.  Guerrero was nearly elected the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2017, when he garnered 71.7% of the votes.  Guerrero’s brother, Wilton, played alongside his brother at Montreal from 1998 to 2000 and went on to have an eight-year career, compiling a .282 batting average.  Another brother, Julio, played in the Red Sox minor-league system from 1998 to 2001.  Vladimir’s son, also named Vladimir, made his professional debut as a 17-year-old with the Toronto Blue Jays organization last year.  His nephew, Gabriel, reached the Triple-A level in the Diamondbacks organization last year.

Joe Kerrigan pitched two of his four major-league seasons as a relief pitcher with the Expos.  He went on to have a long career as a pitching coach for five major-league seasons.  Kerrigan managed the Boston Red Sox for part of the 2001 season.  Joe’s son, Joe, was infielder in the Red Sox minor-leagues from 1999 to 2001, followed by two seasons in the independent leagues.  Joe’s brother, Thomas, played in the Philadelphia Phillies organization from 1963 to 1964.

Tim Raines had a Baseball Hall of Fame career that included thirteen seasons with the Expos.  He led the National League in stolen bases in four consecutive seasons while playing with the Expos.  Raines currently ranks 5th on the all-time stolen base leaders.  During his 23-year major-league career, the outfielder batted .294 and was named to seven all-star teams.  Tim’s son, Tim Jr., played parts of three major-league seasons with the Baltimore Orioles.  In 2001, the Raines father-son combo became the second in history to play on the same major-league team.  Tim’s brother, Ned, played in the minors from 1978 to 1980.

Tim Wallach was one of the longest-tenured Expos players, logging thirteen seasons from 1980 to 1992.  With the Expos, he hit 204 home runs and 905 RBI.  He was a five-time all-star and three-time Gold Glove winner as a third baseman.  Tim was the bench coach for the Miami Marlins in 2016.  Tim has three sons who pursued professional baseball careers: Chad is currently in the Cincinnati Reds organization; Brett last played in 2015 in the independent leagues; and Matt last played in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in 2013.

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

Stephen Drew played as a backup infielder with the Nationals last season, his 11th in the majors.  The shortstop is one of three brothers to be drafted in the first round of the MLB Draft.  Stephen was the 2004 pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks.  His brother, J. D., was twice drafted in the first round, in 1997 by the Philadelphia Phillies and 1998 by the St. Louis Cardinals.  J. D. was a member of the 2007 World Series champion Boston Red Sox and wound up playing in fourteen major-league seasons as an outfielder.  Stephen’s brother, Tim, was the first-round pick of the Cleveland Indians in 1997.  He pitched in parts of five seasons with three different teams.

Bryce Harper was one of the most highly-touted prospects ever to enter the major leagues.  As a 19-year-old, he made his major-league debut with the Nationals in 2012 and won National League Rookie of the Year honors.  He was voted the NL MVP in 2015 and already has four all-star selections under his belt.  His brother, Bryan, is a relief pitcher in the Nationals organization, splitting last season between Triple-A Syracuse and Double-A Harrisburg.

Daniel Murphy turned in the best season of his career in his first year with the Nationals in 2016.  He was runner-up in the National League MVP Award voting based on his 25 home runs, 104 RBI, and .347 batting average.  He had an historic post-season in 2015 with seven home runs in helping the New York Mets to the World Series.  Daniel’s brother, John, was an outfielder in the Twins organization from 2012 to 2014.

Wilson Ramos had career highs in his seventh season with the Nationals last year.  He hit 22 home runs, 80 RBI and .307 average.is seventh with the team.  He was selected to the all-star team and collected the Silver Slugger Award for National League catchers.  However, Wilson tore his ACL in September. He was granted free agency and signed with Tampa Bay Rays over the winter.  Wilson’s brother, David, is a relief pitcher in the Nationals farm system, while his brother, Natanael, is a catcher in the Mets organization.

Joe Ross finished with a 7-4 record in 19 starts with the Nationals last year.  The 23-year-old right-hander had been a first-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 2011.  His brother, Tyson, missed practically all of the 2016 season with the San Diego Padres due to shoulder problems, after having been their best pitcher the two previous seasons.  Tyson was signed by the Texas Rangers as a free agent during the offseason.

Jayson Werth was in this sixth year of a seven-year contract with the Nationals last year, when he hit 21 home runs and 69 RBI.  He part of a three-generation family of ballplayers from his mother’s side of the family.  His grandfather, Dick “Ducky” Schofield, was a major-league utility infielder from 1953 to 1971, primarily with the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals.  Jayson’s uncle, Dick Schofield, was a 14-year major-league shortstop, with twelve of his seasons playing for the California Angels.  He is the stepson of Dennis Werth, a first baseman who played parts of four major-league seasons from 1979 to 1982 with the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals.  Jayson’s father, Jeff Gowan, played a minor league season in the St. Louis Cardinals organization in 1978.

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

Cody Dent, in his fourth seasons with the Nationals farm system, is the son of Bucky Dent, who hit the dramatic three-run home run for the New York Yankees in the 1978 American League East tie-breaker win against the Boston Red Sox.

Cutter Dykstra, an outfielder with Washington’s Double-A Harrisburg affiliate last year, is the son of Lenny Dykstra, the scrappy outfielder of the 1986 World Series champion New York Mets and a three-time all-star, and the brother of Luke Dykstra, an infielder currently in the Atlanta Braves organization.

Carter Kieboom, the Nationals’ first-round draft pick last year, is the brother of Spencer Kieboom who made his major-league debut with the Nats in 2016.

Jaron Long, a pitcher at the Triple-A level for the Nationals last season, is the son of Kevin Long, who is the hitting coach for the New York Mets.

Ryan Ripken, who completed his third minor-league season with the Nationals in 2016, is the son of Cal Ripken Jr., the Hall of Fame shortstop of the Baltimore Orioles.  He is the nephew of Billy Ripken, former major league infielder from 1987 to 1998 and the grandson of former Orioles coach and manager, Cal Ripken Sr.

Mariano Rivera III was the fourth-round pick of the Nationals in 2015.  Last year he pitched in 39 games for Single-A Hagerstown, recording five wins and eight saves.  He is the son of Mariano Rivera, the legendary relief pitcher of the New York Yankees who retired in 2013.

Matt Skole was an infielder with the Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate Syracuse in 2016, when he hit 24 home runs and 78 RBI.  He is the brother of Jake Skole, an outfielder in the New York Yankees farm system, and the grandson of Tom Skole, who played in the St. Louis Browns organization in 1951-1952.

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

Dusty Baker spent his first year as the Nationals manager last season, after twenty years of managing the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, and Cincinnati Reds.  He also played nineteen seasons in the majors.  While managing the Giants during the 2002 World Series, Dusty’s son, Darren, was a batboy who was swept up by the Giants’ J. T. Snow to avoid a collision at home plate where another Giants base-runner was in the process of scoring.  Darren is now playing baseball at the University of California.

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

Billy Gardner Jr. was the manager of the Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate Syracuse in 2016.  He has been a minor-league coach and manager since 1990 with numerous organizations.  His father, Billy Gardner Sr., was a major-league player for ten seasons and a manager for six seasons, primarily with the Minnesota Twins.

Mike Maddux was in his first season as the Nationals pitching coach last year, after seven years in the same capacity with the Texas Rangers.  He had a 15-year career as a pitcher with nine different teams.  He is the brother of Greg Maddux, the Hall of Fame pitcher who won 355 career games and four Cy Young awards.

Kasey McKeon was the Nationals’ director of player procurement last season.  He previously played in the minors from 1989 to 1991 and held positions in scouting and player development for several major-league organizations.  His father is former major-league manager and executive Jack McKeon.  At age 72, he managed the Florida Marlins to a World Series title in 2003.  Kasey’s brother-in-law is former major-league pitcher Greg Booker.  Kasey is the nephew of Bill McKeon, former minor league player and a major-league scout.  He is the uncle of Zach Booker, a minor-league player from 2007 to 2011.

Calvin Minasian was the minor-league clubhouse and equipment manager for the Nationals last year.  His father, Zach Sr. had been the equipment manager in the Texas Rangers organization for over twenty years.  His brother, Zach Jr. is a scouting executive in the Milwaukee Brewers organization, while brother Perry was a scouting executive in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.  Altogether, the Minasian family has over 90 years of service in professional baseball.

Sam Narron was a minor league coach in the Nationals organization last year, and he comes from a family with an extensive background in baseball.  His father, Samuel “Rooster” Narron, played in the minors in 1967 and 1969 with the New York Mets and Baltimore Orioles organizations.  His grandfather, Sam, played briefly for the St. Louis Cardinals in parts of three seasons between 1935 and 1943.  His uncle, Milton, played in the New York Giants’ farm system from 1946 to 1951.  Sam’s cousin, Jerry, was a major league player, coach, and manager in over forty years in the game.  His cousin, Johnny, is currently a minor league coordinator in the Los Angeles Angels organization, having previously been a major-league coach for Cincinnati, Texas, and Milwaukee.  His cousin, Connor, was a fifth-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 2010 and played five seasons in the Orioles and Brewers organizations.

Mike Rizzo is currently the General Manager and President of Baseball Operations for the Nationals.  He has had a long career in scouting, as has his father, Phillip, who is currently a special advisor to Mike. Mike’s grandfather, Vito, also had a background in baseball scouting.

Chris Speier was the bench coach for the Nationals last year.  He played in the infield for five major-league teams during 1971 to 1989 and was selected an all-star three times.  His son, Justin, was a major-league middle relief pitcher from 1998 to 2009.  His nephew, Gabe, is currently a pitcher in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.

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/