A Tale of Two Griffeys: One Very Good, One Dominant

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi

There have been nearly 250 father-son combinations to play in Major League Baseball. History shows that it’s pretty rare for both the father and the son to excel on the diamond at a high level comprising leadership in batting or pitching categories, all-star selections, and post-season appearances.

Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Tony Perez, and Earl Averill had major-league sons with marginal success as big-leaguers themselves, while Joe Wood and Ed Walsh’s sons were in the majors only long enough for the proverbial “cup of coffee.” Pete Rose’s son spent 21 years in the minors, but managed to get into only 11 games in the Big Show. The sons of Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, and Mickey Mantle never made it out of the low minor leagues.

On the other hand, there are a few good examples of father and son careers that were both highly successful. One of those was Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr.

Ken Griffey Jr. was simply one of the best players in baseball history. In 1998 The Sporting News came up with their list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players of all time which included Griffey Jr. who was then only 28 years old.  He joined legendary players such as Ruth, Aaron, Cobb, Williams, Mays, Musial, and DiMaggio.  The ultimate honor for a baseball player is his election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Griffey Jr. came closest of any player to being a unanimous Hall of Fame inductee in 2016, garnering 99.3% of the baseball writers’ votes.

Griffey Jr. had the distinction of being the first player in history to appear with his father in the same major-league game. 19-year-old Griffey Jr. and his 40-year-old father, Ken Sr., were teammates with the Seattle Mariners in 1990 when they first played together on August 21.  Three weeks later they hit back-to-back home runs in the same game.

While the Mariners’ roster featuring both Griffeys may have been somewhat of a publicity stunt at the time, Griffey Sr.’s own career was nothing to sneeze at. His performance is often overshadowed by his son’s superstardom.  Even though he wasn’t a Hall of Famer like his son (Griffey Sr. received a meager 4.7% of the votes in his only year of eligibility in 1999), Griffey Sr. did manage to log a few All-Star seasons and claim two World Series rings.

Here is more background and comparison of the careers of the two outstanding players.

Both Griffeys were born in Denora, PA, which was also the birthplace of Stan Musial. Griffey Jr. shares the same birthday as Musial.

Griffey Sr. began his professional career at age 19 in 1969, being drafted in the 29th round by the Cincinnati Reds.  However, he didn’t make his major-league debut until August 25, 1973 at age 23.  Griffey Jr. was the first overall pick in the 1987 MLB Draft by Seattle when he was 17 years old and made his major-league debut on April 3, 1989.  Griffey Jr. went on to play in 22 big-league seasons, while his dad recorded 19 seasons.  Both were outfielders.

Griffey Sr.’s career slash line (Batting Average/On-Base Percentage/Slugging Percentage) was .296/.359/.431 compared to Junior’s .284/.370/.538. The biggest contributor to their difference in Slugging Percentage was Junior’s 630 career home runs, currently sixth on the all-time leader list.  Griffey Sr.’s highest season was 21 home runs, as he managed to hit only 152 during his career.  Junior led the American League in round-trippers in four seasons and hit 40 or more in seven seasons.  Griffey Sr. had the edge over his father in Batting Average, as he compiled nine seasons with .300 or better.

Griffey Jr. was selected to 13 All-Star teams while his father appeared on three, including an All-Star Game MVP Award in 1980. Griffey Jr. also captured the award in 1992.

In addition to Junior, Griffey Sr. had another son, Craig, who took up a pro baseball career from 1991 to 1997. Craig appeared in seven minor-league seasons in the Mariners and Reds organizations but managed to reach the Triple-A level for only a handful of games.  Griffey Jr.’s son, Trey (Ken Griffey III), pursued football over baseball as his sport of choice.  He wound up playing wide receiver for the University of Arizona for four seasons, had tryouts with the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins, but has yet to make an active NFL team roster.  With no expectation of pursuing a pro baseball career, Trey was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 24th round of the 2016 MLB Draft as a tribute to his father (Griffey Jr.’s uniform number with the Mariners was 24.).

Griffey Sr.’s biggest claim to fame, and perhaps his most significant accomplishment over his son, came as a member of the fabled Cincinnati Reds’ “Big Red Machine” teams in the early-to-mid 1970s. He helped the Reds win the World Series in 1975 and 1976.  Junior played on three post-season teams, two with Seattle and one with the Chicago White Sox, but his teams reached the American League Championship Series only once.

Griffey Jr. attained a peak salary of $12.5 million in four seasons with Cincinnati. He earned a total of $151.7 million during his career.  Of course the economics of baseball were different when Griffey Sr. was playing.  He collected a little over $10 million during his entire career, with his highest annual salary being $1.15 million for Atlanta in 1987.

The Griffeys rank among the top major-league father-son duos for combined career performances. They lead all pairs in career hits, and rank second all-time behind Barry and Bobby Bonds in games played, runs scored, home runs, and RBI.

In addition to the Bondses, other successful major-league father-son combos include Felipe and Moises Alou, George and Dick Sisler, Gus and Buddy Bell, and Mel and Todd Stottlemyre.

Former big-league stars Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Craig Biggio and Dante Bichette currently have sons in the low minors trying to follow in their father’s footsteps. Perhaps one of these will be successful in forming the next great MLB father-son duo.

 

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HOFer Tim Raines Once Played in Same MLB Game as his Son

Tim Raines was recently inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, along with players Ivan Rodriguez and Jeff Bagwell and executives Bud Selig and John Schuerholz.

Raines combined solid hitting with speed to become one of the game’s best leadoff hitters.  He played in 23 seasons, compiling a .294 batting average, .385 on-base percentage, and .420 slugging percentage.  He currently ranks fifth all-time in stolen bases and was a seven-time all-star selection.

His son, Tim Raines Jr., played briefly in the majors during 2001 to 2004 with the Baltimore Orioles.

In 2001, Tim Sr. was acquired by the Baltimore Orioles from Montreal so that he could play on the same team as his son.  In three games at the end of the season, the father-son combo appeared together, becoming only the second father-son duo to accomplish this.  Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. were the first father-son combo to play in the same major-league game in 1990.

For more information about Tim Raines Sr., follow the link below from the Montreal Gazette:

Five highlights from former Expo Tim Raines's Hall of Fame career

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

Trey Griffey Made His Own Way Through Football

Trey Griffey has some of the strongest pedigree in baseball of practically anyone before him, yet he decided not to pursue a career in baseball.

His father is Ken Griffey Jr., who was elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2016 after a 22-year major-league career that included 630 home runs.  His grandfather, Ken Griffey Sr., spent 19 seasons in the big leagues that included two World Series championships with the Cincinnati Reds.  He earning All-Star honors in three seasons and posted a career .296 batting average.

Trey served as a batboy for Team USA in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, when his father played in the inaugural international tournament.

However, Trey decided football was his game, and after a highly successful high school career in Florida he went to the University of Arizona on a football scholarship. He played four seasons with the Wildcats as a wide receiver.

Just recently, he was selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game in Tampa, with a collection of outstanding of college football players.

For recent information about Trey Griffey’s football endeavors, follow the link below from the Tampa Bay Times:

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/bucs/wr-trey-griffey-follows-his-own-path-at-shrine-game/2310005

 

These Sons of Major Leaguers Chose Football

Major League Baseball has had over 200 father-son combinations who both played in the big-leagues.  But the sons of major-leaguers don’t always choose their father’s sport. Sometimes they don’t want the pressure of having to follow in their father’s baseball footsteps.  Sometimes they want to make a name for themselves by trying to excel another sport.

This year’s college football season features several prominent sons of former major leaguers.  Not surprising, they play in offensive skill positions on the gridiron. Below is a list of the more notable of these college players, their current teams, their father’s names and their father’s years in major-league baseball.

Shane Buechele, University of Texas QB, son of Steve Buechele (1985-1995)

Torii Hunter Jr., University of Notre Dame WR, son of Torii Hunter Sr. (1997-2015)

Trey Griffey, University of Arizona WR, son of Ken Griffey Jr. (1989-2010)

Pat Mahomes II, University of Texas Tech QB, son of Pat Mahomes Sr. (1992-2003)

Dante Pettis, University of Washington WR/KR, son of Gary Pettis (1982-1992)

Kenny Hill, Texas Christian University QB, son of Ken Hill (1988-2001)

Derek McLemore, University of Houston WR, son of Mark McLemore (1986-2004)

Brandon Johnson, University of Tennessee WR, son of Charles Johnson (1994 – 2005)

To read more about these football players, see the link below from bignewsnetwork.com:

http://www.bignewsnetwork.com/news/247723667/mlb-fathers-rooting-for-college-football-sonsetwork.com:

 

 

 

Rick Stowe and Ken Griffey Jr. Share a Common Connection

Rick Stowe is the home team clubhouse manager for the Cincinnati Reds.  He was working for the Red at the time Ken Griffey Jr. was playing for the Reds.

What they have in common is being second-generation members of the Reds organization.  Rick’s father, Bernie Stowe, was a long-time Reds equipment manager, while Griffey Jr.’s father also played with the Reds from 1973 to 1981.

To read more about the connection between Stowe and Griffey Jr, follow the link below from the Dayton Daily News:

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/sports/reds-clubhouse-manager-stowe-remembers-griffey-jr-/nr39k/