Bo Weiss Follows in his Father’s Footsteps at UNC

Bo Weiss had a choice to attend Stanford or University of North Carolina to play college baseball, and he wound up at UNC largely because his father also played there in the 1980s.

His dad is Walt Weiss, former major-league shortstop for 14 years during 1987 and 2000.  Walt was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1988 for the Oakland A’s.  He later managed the Colorado Rockies from 2013 to 2016.

Bo passed up a chance last year to sign professionally out of high school with the New York Yankees after being drafted in the 29th round.  Of course, Tar Heel fans recall his father’s time at UNC and are hoping for similar results.

Bo’s brother, Brody, was also a Major League Baseball draft selection, being taken by the Colorado Rockies in the 22nd round of the 2013 Draft, but he did not sign.

Read more about Bo Weiss at the link below from North State Journal:

http://www.nsjonline.com/article/2017/05/major-league-sons-thriving-at-state-schools

 

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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

Chris Owings One of Three Baseball Brothers

Shortstop Chris Owings of the Arizona Diamondbacks is currently in his fifth major-league season and is off to the best start of his career, as the D’backs are currently in third place in the National League West Division.

Chris’s brother, Connor, is in his second pro season in the D’backs organization after having been drafted in the 34th round of the 2016 MLB Draft.  Their brother, Kyle, also played in the Arizona system in 2012 before playing one season in an independent league.

To read more about the Owings family, including their mother who was a two-sport athlete in college, follow the link below from GoEerie.com:

http://www.goerie.com/sports/20170514/albion-native-sherri-owings-part-of-true-baseball-family

Cal Quantrill Makes Bid to Follow in his Father’s Footsteps

Cal Quantrill was the first-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in the 2016 MLB Draft despite not having pitched for his college team, Stanford University, this season.  He had Tommy John surgery in 2015 after pitching only a few games for Stanford.  However, his outstanding freshman campaign, in which he earned a spot on the Freshman All-American team, and his baseball bloodlines were enough for the Padres to take a chance on him.

Cal is the son of Paul Quantrill, who pitched for fourteen major-league seasons during 1992 to 2005.  He played for seven different clubs, including six seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays.  He led his league in games pitched for four consecutive seasons, in 2001-2004.  He was an All-Star with Toronto in 2001.

Although Cal’s stats from his first minor-league season are not that impressive, the season is considered a success in his return from surgery and the long layoff.

To read more about Cal Quantrill, follow the link below from todaysknuckleball.com:

http://www.todaysknuckleball.com/nl/san-diego-padres/baseball-bloodlines-cal-quantrill-working-way-back-tommy-john/

Third-Generation Kessinger to Play for Ole Miss

Grae Kessinger was a top high school baseball prospect in 2016 and became the 26th round pick of the San Diego Padres in the 2016 MLB Draft.  He has committed to play college baseball at the University of Mississippi, where his father, uncle and grandfather also played.

Grae’s grandfather is Don Kessinger, who signed out of Ole Miss with the Chicago Cubs in 1964.  He made his major-league debut that year and became the starting shortstop the next season.  He was a six-time All-Star with the Cubs for whom he played until 1975.  He briefly played for the St. Louis Cardinals and then finished his career as the player/manager of the Chicago White Sox in 1979.

Grae’s father, Kevin, was a 22nd pick of the Chicago Cubs in 1992 after playing at Ole Miss.  He made a brief minor-league appearance that year.

Grae’s uncle, Keith, was a draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 1989 and played eleven games for the Cincinnati Reds in 1994.  He finished his career in 1996 with the Cubs organization.

During the summer, Grae got the opportunity to play in the showcase Under Armor Game at Wrigley Field, where his grandfather once roamed.

Read more about the Kessinger family at the link below from Ole Miss Sports:

http://www.olemisssports.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/100616aab.html?utm_source=social%20media&utm_medium=story&utm_campaign=BSB_100616_S

Bichette Brothers Play for Brazil in WBC Qualifier

Dante Jr. and Bo Bichette had never played baseball together in competition, until they recently appeared for Brazil in the World Baseball Classic Qualifier round in Brooklyn, NY.  They were eligible to represent Brazil because their mother is a native of the country.

They are the sons of Dante Bichette, Sr., who logged fourteen seasons in the major-leagues with 355 HRs, 1078 RBIs, and a .299 batting average.  He was a four-time All-Star and runner-up for National League MVP in 1995.

Dante Jr. was a first-round pick of the New York Yankees in 2011, and he played at Double-A Trenton in 2016, where he posted 9 HRs and 49 RBIs to go along with a .243 average.

Bo was a second-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays this year.  He played rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League, where he excelled with 4 HRs, 36 RBIs and an amazing .427 batting average in 22 games.

Read more about the Bichette family at the link below from Hardball Scoop:

http://www.scout.com/mlb/rumors/story/1710943-bichette-family-forges-baseball-legacy

Family Ties Prominent Again in this Year’s MLB Draft

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi, 07/05/2016

Following the MLB Draft in June of every year, I try to identify those drafted amateur players who have a relative in professional baseball. I’ve found 48 players so far who fit this criteria this year.  They represent the latest crop of relatives that have infused baseball rosters since the sport’s professional beginnings in the 1870s.

Every year there are intriguing backgrounds for several of the drafted players. This year is no exception.  Here’s a look at some of the highlights of this year’s players with family ties in baseball.

One of the headliners in this year’s major-league draft class probably won’t attempt to play professional baseball at all. Trey Griffey was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 24th round, even though he hasn’t played baseball since grade school.  He is currently a senior wide receiver for the University of Arizona.  Trey has one of the most recognizable last names in baseball.  His father is Ken Griffey Jr., who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame later this summer.  His grandfather is Ken Griffey Sr., who was a 19-year veteran of the majors.  The Mariners actually selected Trey as a tribute to his father, who played a significant portion of his career in Seattle, wearing uniform Number 24.

Torii Hunter Jr. is another college football player selected in this year’s draft, except he also played baseball, albeit sparingly, at Notre Dame for two seasons. His father is Torii Hunter Sr., who retired only last year after playing 19 years in the majors.  Torii Jr. had been drafted out of high school in 2013 by the Detroit Tigers, but chose to attend Notre Dame to play football and baseball.  However, football became his primary sport, as he has played on special teams and as a wide receiver.  He wound up playing only a handful of baseball games for The Fighting Irish.  Because of his athleticism and family bloodlines, he was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 23rd round this year and proceeded to sign a pro contract with them.  He still intends to play football at Notre Dame this fall.  Who knows?  He may be the next Deion Sanders, who played professionally in both football and baseball.

Bo Bichette was encouraged by his father, Dante Bichette, to play tennis as a youngster, but he wound up following in his father’s baseball footsteps. Bo was drafted out of high school by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2nd round, after becoming one of the top prep pitchers in the country.  The elder Bichette was a four-time major-league all-star during his 14-year career.  Bo’s older brother, Dante Jr., is currently an infield prospect in the New York Yankees organization.

Cavan Biggio, son of 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Craig Biggio, was drafted this year by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 5th round.  The infielder had previously been drafted out of high school in 2013 by the Phillies, but chose to attend college at Notre Dame, where he was a starter for three seasons.  Cavan’s brother, Conor, was drafted last year by his father’s major league team, the Houston Astros, after also playing for Notre Dame, but he did not sign a pro contract.

Chad Hockin is the grandson of another Hall of Famer, Harmon Killebrew. He was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 6th round, after completing his third season as a pitcher for Cal State Fullerton.  Grandfather Killebrew was one of the all-time great sluggers in baseball, recording 573 career home runs.  He was selected to all-star teams on eleven occasions and was American League MVP in 1969.  Chad’s brother, Grant, was a 2nd round pick of the Cleveland Indians in 2014.  His uncle, Cameron Killebrew, played in the Texas Rangers organization and unaffiliated baseball from 1978-1981.

Grae Kessinger is a third-generation baseball player that was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 26th round.  His grandfather is Don Kessinger, a six-time all-star shortstop for the Chicago Cubs who also managed in the majors for the Chicago White Sox.  Grae’s father is Kevin Kessinger, who played in the Cubs organization in 1989, while his uncle, Keith Kessinger, played part of one major-league season for the Cincinnati Reds in 1993.  It is likely Grae will opt to attend Ole Miss on a baseball scholarship, where his grandfather, father, and uncle also played collegiately.

Brandon Bossard’s baseball bloodlines go back three generations before him. The shortstop was drafted out of high school by the Chicago White Sox in the 31st round.  However, his forefathers didn’t play the game, but instead worked as groundskeepers for the White Sox.  His great-grandfather, Emeril, was the first in the family to hold the position, followed by his grandfather, Gene, and his father, Roger, who is currently the head groundskeeper at U. S. Cellular Field.

JaVon Shelby, drafted by the Oakland A’s in the 5th round out of the University of Kentucky, also comes from a large baseball family.  His father, John Shelby, was a big league outfielder from 1981 to 1991, primarily for the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers.  JaVon has three brothers who also played baseball.  John III played in the minors from 2006 to 2012 for the White Sox and Rays organizations, while Jeremy played briefly in the Orioles organization in 2010.  Youngest brother Jaren, this year’s Gatorade Player of the Year in Kentucky, has signed a letter of intent to play for Kentucky next year and projects to be a future major league draft pick.  JaVon’s cousins, Josh Harrison and Vince Harrison Jr., both played baseball professionally, with Josh currently playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Brothers Joshua and Nathaniel Lowe were both drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays. Joshua was a top high school third baseman in Georgia, while Nathaniel played first base for Mississippi State University.  Joshua was selected in the first round, the 13th overall pick, and Nathaniel was picked in the 13th round.  They are the sons of David Lowe, who was drafted out of high school by the Seattle Mariners in the 5th round in 1986, but did not play professional baseball.

Every year there are also a handful of major-league draftees whose bloodlines don’t include a baseball background. This year’s list includes pitcher Matt Manning, son of Rich Manning who played in the NBA for two seasons (1995-1996).  Matt was a first-round pick of the Detroit Tigers.  Pitcher Griffin Jax, the son of NFL linebacker Garth Jax (1986-1995), was the third-round pick of the Minnesota Twins.  Outfielder Chris Bono, the 37th round pick of the San Francisco Giants, is the son of former NFL quarterback Steve Bono, a veteran of 14 pro seasons (1985-1999).

A full list of the players from the 2016 MLB Draft with relatives in professional baseball can be viewed at http://baseballrelatives.mlblogs.com/2016-family-ties/.