The Search for Baseball’s Relatives Continues

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi

Some of you already know one of my special interests in baseball research is identifying all the professional baseball players, managers, coaches, scouts, executives, broadcasters, owners, front office personnel, umpires, and clubhouse staff who have a relative that was also in some capacity in pro baseball. I just completed my annual compilation and have posted the results on my Baseball Relatives website https://baseballrelatives.wordpress.com/family-ties-2017-season/.

The process involved in the compilation activity requires arduous and time-consuming research. But I believe it results in one of the most comprehensive databases of baseball relatives information that I’m aware of.  My sources of information are primarily based on the major league team media guides, Major League Baseball websites, selected baseball magazines, and searches of the internet for current articles in newspapers and posts on blogs and websites.

My entire database now has over 7,400 individuals (all years) representing over 12,000 relationships. That’s more than double the number I had initially identified in my Family Ties book through the 2011 season.  The increase stems from the six additional seasons since the book was published, as well as the inclusion of additional minor league players and major league non-players I have discovered since then.

Some of the more noteworthy relatives from the 2017 season include the following:

  • Jake Boone was drafted out of high school in the 38th round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the Washington Nationals. If he were to eventually make it to the majors, he would become part of the first four-generation family of major leaguers. His family tree includes great-grandfather Ray Boone, grandfather Bob Boone, and father Bret Boone. His uncle, Aaron Boone, was also a major-leaguer.
  • Trei Cruz was drafted out of high school in the 35th round of the draft by the Houston Astros, the team his grandfather (Jose) and father (Jose Jr.) previously played for. Two of his grandfather’s brothers, Hector and Tommy, also played in the majors.
  • Several Hall of Famers have relatives coming up through the ranks. Carl Yastrzemski’s grandson, Mike Yastrzemski, is playing at the Triple-A level in the Baltimore Orioles organization. Harmon Killebrew’s grandsons, Chad and Grant Hockin, are both pitchers in the low minors. Cal Ripken Jr.’s son, Ryan, is a first baseman now playing in the Orioles organization where his father starred. Tom Glavine’s son, Peyton, was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels, but will attend college instead of signing a pro contract.
  • During the recent World Series between the Astros and Dodgers, two sons of former major leaguers were on center stage. Dodgers first baseman, Cody Bellinger, is the son of Clay Bellinger, who played on two World Series teams with the New York Yankees. Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. is the son of Lance McCullers Sr., who pitched for seven seasons in the majors.
  • This season’s Toronto Blue Jays minor league team Dunedin in the Class A Florida State League featured the sons of three former major-league stars. Third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s father was a 16-year major leaguer, American League MVP in 2004. Shortstop Bo Bichette’s father, Dante Bichette, was a four-time all-star with the Colorado Rockies. Second baseman Cavan Biggio is the son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio. Additionally, Dunedin outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s father was a star player and manager in Cuban professional leagues, while his brother currently plays for the Houston Astros.
  • Kacy Clemens, the son of seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, made his professional debut in the Toronto Blue Jays organization this year. He is Clemens’ third son to be drafted by a major-league team. Koby played in the minors and independent leagues for ten seasons. Kody was drafted by the Astros out of high school in 2015 and currently plays at the University of Texas. Note the first names of Clemens’ sons all begin with “K”, the significance being his second-place ranking on the list of all-time strikeout leaders.
  • Luke Farrell, the son of Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, made his major-league debut as a pitcher with the Kansas City Royals. John later took a day off from the Red Sox during the season in order to watch his son pitch in a big-league game.
  • Satchel McElroy, an outfielder in the Cincinnati Reds organization, is the son of former major-league pitcher Chuck McElroy. He is named after Hall of Famer Satchel Paige, who was a Negro League teammate of his grandfather Sylvester Cooper. Satchel’s brother C. J. is an outfielder in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. The brothers are the nephews of Cecil Cooper, former major-league player and manager.
  • Patrick Valaika is in his second big-league season with the Colorado Rockies. He has three brothers (Matt, Chris, and Nick) who also played professionally, with Chris having also played in the majors from 2010 to 2014.
  • Stephen Drew, who played for the Washington Nationals in 2017, and brothers J.D. and Tim were all former first-round draft picks in the MLB Draft—Stephen (2004), J.D. (1997 and 1998), and Tim (1997).
  • Zach Garrett was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 2017 and made his pro debut with Aberdeen in the Orioles minor league system. His baseball lineage includes grandfather Jasper Spears, who was an infielder in the Dodgers organization from 1949 to 1959. However, Zach’s more notable family members include NASCAR race drivers who happen to be grandfather Dale Jarrett and father Ned Jarrett.
  • 94-year-old Red Schoendienst still works for the St. Louis Cardinals organization as a special assistant. His major-league career has included time as a player, coach, manager and front office consultant with the Cardinals, starting in 1945. Schoendienst has five brothers who played professionally in the 1940s. His son, Kevin, was also a minor-leaguer for two seasons in the Cubs organization.

I’m always on the hunt for new entries in my Family Ties database. Of course, the newer, up-and-coming players aren’t as hard to find because so much information is now available on the internet.  Finding the older players is more challenging, but every once in a while I’ll discover a new instance, for example, when doing research in old newspapers and magazines for my SABR book projects.  For me, it’s sort of like finding that rare silver dime in a huge pile of coins.

 

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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

Vlad Guerrero Jr. Projected to Join His Father in Major League Ranks

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was signed as a 17-year-old by the Toronto Blue Jays last year, as one of the top international prospects.  Now he is on a path to eventually join his father, Vladimir Guerrero Sr.,  as a major-leaguer.  At 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, he’s already showing a talent reminiscent of his father’s.

Vlad Jr. was coached by his father and uncle, Wilton Guerrero, who also played in the majors.

To read more about Vlad Guerrero Jr.’s career, follow the link below from thestar.com:

https://www.thestar.com/sports/baseball/2017/06/25/vlad-the-dad-sees-guerrero-jr-ahead-of-him-on-the-learning-curve-griffin.html

Satchel McElroy is Namesake of his Grandpa’s Famous Teammate

Satchel McElroy comes from a baseball family.  He’s even named after one of the most legendary players in baseball history.

McElroy is currently in his second pro season in the Cincinnati Reds organization after having been selected in the 21st round by them in the 2015 MLB Draft.

He is the son of Chuck McElroy, a former major-league pitcher from 1989 to 2001 for nine teams.  Chuck appeared in 654 games, primarily as a middle reliever.  He compiled a 38-30 record and 3.90 ERA.

Satchel’s grandfather, Sylvester Cooper, played in the Negro Leagues and was a teammate of Satchel Paige, for whom the younger McElroy is named.

Satchel’s uncle is Cecil Cooper, a 17-year veteran of the major-leagues, and former manager of the Houston Astros.

For more information about Satchel McElroy, follow the link below from milb.com:

https://www.milb.com/milb/news/satchel-mcelroy-carries-on-a-proud-baseball-tradition/c-238063806/t-185364810

Mark Leiter Jr. Pitches for his Father’s Team

Mark Leiter Jr. got his first major-league win with the Philadelphia Phillies on June 23, joining his father as the 15th father-son combination to start for the same team, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Mark was drafted by the Phillies in the 22nd round of the 2013 MLB Draft.

Mark Sr. pitched two seasons with the Phillies in 1997 and 1998, when he led the National League in losing decisions (17) by a pitcher.  Overall, he pitched for 11 seasons with eight different clubs.

Mark Jr.’s uncle, Al Leiter, won 162 major-league games, while winning World Series championships with Toronto in 1993 and Florida in 1997.

For more information about Mark Leiter Jr., follow the link below from The Morning Call:

http://www.mcall.com/sports/baseball/phillies/

At 16, Pedro Martinez Jr. Already Appears to Have a Baseball Future

Pedro Martinez’s son, Pedro Jr., is already a top international baseball prospect.  At age 16, he is already competing with the best amateurs in the Dominican Republic and could be signed by a major-league team this summer.  He’s already recognized one of the best players in the International Prospect League.

If Pedro Jr. decides not to purse a pro career at this point, he is slated to attend high school in Boca Raton, Florida.

Pedro Sr. was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015, after a fabulous 18-year career in which he garnered three Cy Young Awards on his way to compiling a 219-100 record and 2.93 ERA.

Pedro Jr.’s uncle, Ramon Martinez, was a pirtcher in the majors from 1988 to 2001.

For more information about Pedro Martinez Jr., follow the link below from Bleacher Report:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2715247-whos-your-daddy-pedro-martinez-jr-making-own-fame-as-teen-hitting-star

Jake Boone Has Opportunity to be First Fourth-Generation MLB Player

Jake Boone was drafted in  the 38th round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the Washington Nationals.  If he were to eventually reach the major-league level, he would be the first player of a four-generation family to do so.

Jake is the son of Bret Boone, the grandson of Bob Boone and great-grandson of Ray Boone.  Bret, Bob, and Ray were the first three-generation family in the majors, a very exclusive club that includes only three other such families, the Bells, Hairstons, and Colemans.

Bret was a three-time All-Star during his 14-year MLB career.  Bob, was a four-time All-Star during his 19 years, while Ray  made the All-Star team twice during his 13-year career.  Jake’s uncle, Aaron was an infielder in the majors from 1997 to 2009.

For more information about the Boone family, follow the link below from Call to the Pen:

https://calltothepen.com/2017/06/18/mlb-fathers-day-boone-family-tradition-continues/