Jayson Werth is Fourth-Generation Player in his Family

Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth comes from a family rooted in baseball.  He completed the 15th major-league season of his career, which includes stints with the Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Philadelphia Phillies in addition to the Nationals.

Jayson comes from a baseball family which includes four generations.  His great-grandfather, John Schofield, was a minor-league shortstop from 1924 to 1938.  His grandfather, Dick “Ducky” Schofield, was a member of the World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960, and played a total of 19 seasons in the big leagues.  His uncle, Dick Schofield, played 14 seasons in the majors, primarily with the California Angels.

Jayson’s stepfather is Dennis Werth who is married to his mother, Kim Schofield, who competed in the 1976 Olympic trials in track and field.  Dennis played in the majors from 1979 to 1982.

To find out more information about Jayson Werth, follow the link below from the Chicago Tribune:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-cubs-nationals-playoff-jayson-werth-family-farm-met-20171009-story.html

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Mel Didier’s Passing Recalls Prominence of Louisiana Baseball Family

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi

Mel Didier’s passing on September 11 is a reminder that few baseball families have had as big an impact on a specific area of the country as his family did in South Louisiana.

Didier, whose professional baseball career spanned nearly fifty years, made his mark in baseball as a well-regarded scout and front office executive for several major-league clubs. Named after Mel Ott, he was involved in administrative posts at the start-up of three expansion franchises:  1969 Montreal Expos, 1977 Seattle Mariners, and 1997 Arizona Diamondbacks.  Up until the time of his death, he was a special assistant with the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

Mel’s father, Irby Didier, was the patriarch of the sports family, which included six sons (Pearce, Clyde, Robert, Mel, Raymond, and Gerald) who played, coached, managed, and scouted at various levels of high school, collegiate, and professional baseball. Irby played semi-professionally (for Marksville), as did Pearce (an outfielder with Thibodaux and manager of the Homer Louisiana Oilers) and Clyde (a catcher for the Baton Rouge Red Sticks).

Robert Irby Didier Jr., was a minor-league catcher in 1940 with Greenville in the Cotton States League before going into military service during World War II. He sustained wounds during his service that prevented him from continuing a pro baseball career, although he was later able to participate in semi-pro leagues in the Baton Rouge area.

Gerald Didier, was a second baseman in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization from 1952 to 1954, and then played a season in the Mexican League in 1955. After a season in the South Atlantic League in 1956, he concluded his pro career with Baton Rouge in the Evangeline League in 1957, when he batted a career-high .327.

Raymond Didier played pro baseball with Port Arthur of the Evangeline League in 1940 before becoming the head baseball and football coach at Southwestern Louisiana Institute (now University of Louisiana Lafayette) in the 1950s. From 1957 to 1963, he was the head baseball coach at LSU, claiming an SEC baseball championship in 1961.  Raymond was an assistant coach for the football team during that time period as well.  He then served as the head baseball coach and athletic director at Nicholls State University from 1963 to 1978.  The baseball field at Nicholls State is named in his honor.

Mel’s son, Bob “Hiya” Didier, was a major-league catcher from 1969 to 1974 for the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, and Detroit Tigers. He was selected by the Braves in the fourth round of the 1967 MLB Draft out of Glenn Oaks (LA) High School and reached the majors with the Braves at age 20.  After his playing career ended in 1976, he got he first job as a minor-league manager in the Braves organization at age 28.  Over his career, he managed in the minors for 15 seasons, including stints at the Triple-A level in the Astros and Blue Jays organizations.  Bob served on the big-league coaching staffs of the Oakland A’s (1984-1986) and Seattle Mariners (1989-1990), as well as scouted in the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs organizations.

Beau Didier, son of Bob Didier and the family’s fourth-generation ballplayer, was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 40th round of the 2008 MLB Draft, out of Bellarmine High School in Tacoma, Washington.  However, the catcher/infielder committed to LSU, where he lettered in three seasons (2010-2012).

Mel earned letters in football (1944-1945) and baseball (1947) at LSU before beginning his professional baseball career as a player in 1948 and 1949. However, he soon turned to coaching at the high school level, where his 1953 Baton Rouge Catholic High team captured their first state championship baseball title.  That team, which Didier dubbed “one of the greatest high school teams in American history,” featured four players who went on to sign pro contracts and seven who accepted college scholarships to play baseball.

He served as a scout in the Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Braves, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, and Baltimore Orioles organizations. He was involved in player development roles for the Montreal Expos, Seattle Mariners, and Arizona Diamondbacks organizations, as these franchises were getting off the ground.  Some of the major-league players whose careers he influenced included Hall of Famers Andre Dawson, Gary Carter, Mike Piazza, and Eddie Murray.

At the college level, Didier was the LSU freshman team football coach in 1967 and 1968, head baseball coach at the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now ULL) in 1981-1982, and athletic director at USL in 1982.

Mel received the “Legends in Scouting” Award in 2009, presented by the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation. He authored “Podnuh, Let Me Tell You a Story,” a book about his baseball life.

Mel died at age 90 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Alex Avila is Let Go by his Father Again

Alex Avila may be getting the impression his father doesn’t like him.  Alex was traded by the Detroit Tigers to the Chicago Cubs on July 31.  What makes this transaction unique is Alex’s father, Al, is the General Manager of the Tigers and responsible for making the deal.

But this isn’t the first time Alex has been dumped by his father.  After the 2015 season, Alex, then playing catcher for the Tigers, was granted free agency by his father, as the Tigers went in different direction at the catcher position.

Alex’s grandfather, Rafael Avila, was also involved in professional baseball as a scout and executive in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.

For more information about Alex Avila’s recent trade, follow the links below:

https://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2017/8/1/16079976/alex-avila-dad-trade-tigers-cubs-mom-upset

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/tigers-gm-al-avila-trades-alex-avila-son-cubs-article-1.3374084

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-cubs-alex-avila-20170801-story.html

Lee May Sr., Patriarch of Baseball Family, Dies at 74

Lee May, a three-time major-league all-star, passed away on July 29.  He played for 18 seasons during 1965 to 1982.  He was a member of the famous Cincinnati Reds “Big Red Machine” team in the early 1970s.  May was a career .267 hitter, with 354 home runs and 1,244 RBI.

May has a son, Lee May Jr., who played professional baseball from 1986 to 1993 after being selected in the first round of the 1986 MLB Draft by the New York Mets.  Lee Jr. is currently a coach in the Boston Red Sox farm system.

Lee Sr., is the grandfather of Jacob May, who made his major-league debut with the Chicago White Sox this year.  His brother, Carlos May, was a major-leaguer from 1968 to 1977.

For more information about Lee May Sr.’s career, follow the link below from the Philadelphia Tribune:

http://www.phillytrib.com/obituaries/lee-may-slugging-baseball-player/article_5bb148a1-c0e3-50e3-aebe-f83e137ab5cf.html

Like His Name, Trei Cruz Aims to Make it Three

Trei Cruz was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 35th round of the 2017 MLB Draft, but he knows it was out of courtesy for his grandfather and father who both played in the big-leagues with the Astros.  Before the draft, Trei had let it be known he had plans to play baseball at Rice University in 2018.

Trei’s grandfather, Jose Cruz Sr., was one of three brothers to make it to the big-leagues.  After starting his career in St. Louis, Jose Sr. made his mark with the Houston Astros, with whom he played 13 seasons.  Altogether, he logged 19 big-league seasons in which he compiled a .284 batting average, 2,221 hits, 165 home runs and 1,077 RBI.  He is one of the more popular players in Astros history.

Trei’s father, Jose Cruz Jr., played at Rice University before being drafted in the first round of the 1995 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners.  He was runner-up for American League Rookie of the Year in 1997.  Jose Jr. wound up playing 12 major-league seasons, primarily with the Toronto Blue Jays.  His last season was with the Astros in 2008.

Trei has hopes of his family will ultimately join the elite group of families who have had three-generations of major-leaguers, including the Bells, Boones, Colemans, and Hairstons.

For more information about Trei Cruz’s baseball family, follow the link below from the Houston Chronicle:

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/astros/article/Trei-Cruz-following-in-family-s-baseball-footsteps-11285035.php

 

Mike Yastrzemski Feels No Pressure from his Famous Last Name

Mike Yastrzemski, an outfielder in the Baltimore Orioles farm system, gets immediate recognition every place he plays because his grandfather was legendary Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Yastrzemski.  However, Mike says he doesn’t feel the added pressure brought on him by fans, as he makes his way through the minors.

Mike was drafted out of high school by the Boston Red Sox in the 2009 MLB Draft, but chose to attend Vanderbilt University instead.  He was drafted again in 2012, but chose to return to Vandy for his senior year.  Then in the 2013 MLB Draft, he was selected in the 14th round by the Baltimore Orioles.

His father, Mike Yastrzemski, played three seasons at the Triple-A level in the Chicago White Sox organization in 1986-1988, but never advanced to the majors.

Grandfather Carl was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989 after 23 major-league seasons in which he won the Triple Crown in 1967 and made 18 all-star appearances.

For more information about Mike Yastrzemski’s family relationships, follow the link below from the Hartford Courant:

http://www.courant.com/sports/baseball/yard-goats/

 

Luke Farrell Pitches in MLB Debut With MLB Father in Attendance

Normally, you’d find John Farrell in the dugout of the Boston Red Sox as its manager.  However, on July 1, he missed the Red Sox game to attend the major-league pitching debut of his son, Luke Farrell, with the Kansas City Royals.

Luke was a 6th-round pick of the Royals in 2013 and had advanced to Triple-A this season before his call-up.

The Farrell family has other relatives in its family tree.  Luke’s grandfather, Thomas, played  in the Cleveland Indians organization in 1953-1954.

Luke also has two other brothers who pursued baseball careers.  Jeremy was infielder in the Pirates and White Sox organizations from 2008 to 2015.  He is currently a minor-league coach in the Cubs organization.  Shane was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011, but did not sign.  He is currently a scout in the Cubs organization.

For more information about Luke Farrell, follow the link below from The Kansas City Star:

http://www.kansascity.com/sports/mlb/kansas-city-royals/article159230639.html