Tagged: Ken Griffey Sr.

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

 

HOF Inductee Griffey One of the “Sons of the Big Red Machine”

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi, 07/24/2016 

In his Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech, Ken Griffey Jr. mentioned his father’s Cincinnati Reds teams of the 1970s, known as the “The Big Red Machine.” as some of the best in baseball history. Griffey acknowledged his father’s role in his development as a player and as a person.  It’s likely some of Junior’s fondest memories are hanging out in a major league clubhouse with his father.

In a related story about the prevalence of children of Reds players from those teams who went on to play professional baseball, following is a chapter excerpted from my book “Family Ties: A Comprehensive Collection of Facts and Trivia About Baseball’s Relatives” published in 2012.

Sons of the “Big Red Machine”

The Cincinnati Reds teams of the early-to-mid-1970s are noted as one of the more famous teams in baseball history. The “Big Red Machine,” led by Sparky Anderson, was comprised of some of the game’s best individual players of that era: Rose, Bench, Morgan, Foster, Perez, Griffey, and Concepcion. They went to the World Series in 1970, 1972, 1975, and 1976, winning back-to-back world championships in 1975 and 1976.

Little did anyone know that these teams would produce a bevy of future professional baseball players. Sixteen players (fathers) on those teams had sons who would later play professional baseball at some level. Five of the sons were first-round draft picks by major league clubs: Brian McRae (1985), Lee May, Jr. (1988), Ken Griffey, Jr. (1987), Ed Sprague (1988), and Eduardo Perez (1991).

The sons were sometimes referred to as “Little Red Machine.” Tony Perez once commented, “They were wild. You had to keep after them. But they were good kids.” In any case, they learned the winning feeling hanging around the clubhouse of their famous fathers. This situation is a prime illustration of the sons of major leaguers excelling because of the environment in which they were raised.

Marty Brennaman (himself the progenitor of a baseball broadcasting family) was the Reds broadcaster during those years and some of his most endearing memories revolve around the players’ kids, who would congregate around the Reds’ clubhouse. They added to the excitement the Reds team was generating. “Little Pete was about as obnoxious a kid as you’d find,” Brennaman said. “But he grew up to be as fine a young man as I’ve ever known. They were all like that: loud and running around like water bugs. They were so brash it was incredible. But you’ve got to remember, they were all small then, not at an age where you would call them responsible. Riverfront Stadium was like their second home. That made it special. It was like a family in that clubhouse.”

Twenty-plus years later, several of these sons of the Big Red Machine made history in a spring training game. On March 27, 1997, in a game between Cincinnati and Texas, the Reds’ lineup included Pete Rose, Jr., who batted leadoff and played third base; Dave Concepcion, Jr., playing shortstop and batting second; and Eduardo Perez, son of Tony Perez, playing first base. In that same game, there were additional “family ties.” Aaron Boone, younger brother of Reds regular second baseman Bret, played second base; and Stephen Larkin, younger brother of Reds regular shortstop Barry, played in the DH position.

Below is a list of the father-son combinations from the “Big Red Machine” era.

Father Reds Years Son Son’s Playing Career
Pedro Borbon, Sr. 1970–1979 Pedro Borbon, Jr. Major league (1992–2003)
Tony Cloninger 1968–1971 Darrin Cloninger

Mike Cloninger

Minor league (1983–1985)

Minor league (1983–1985)

Dave Concepcion 1970–1988 Dave Concepcion, Jr. Minor league (1995–1996)
Ed Crosby 1973–1973 Bobby Crosby Major league (2003–2010)
Terry Crowley 1974–1975 Terry Crowley

Jimmy Crowley

Minor league (1986–1992)

Minor league (1991–1995)

Cesar Geronimo 1972–1980 Cesar Geronimo, Jr. Minor league (1995–1998)
Ken Griffey, Sr. 1973–1981 Ken Griffey, Jr.

Craig Griffey

Major league (1989–2010)

Minor league (1991–1997)

Tommy Helms 1964–1971 Ryan Helms

Tommy Helms

Wes Helms (nephew)

Minor league (1994–1995)

Minor league (1990–1992)

Major league (1998–2010)

Julian Javier 1972–1972 Stan Javier Major league (1984–2001)
Andy Kosco 1973–1974 Andrew Kosco

Bryn Kosco

Minor league (1986–1990)

Minor league (1988–1996)

Lee May 1965–1971 Lee May, Jr. New York Mets first round draft pick (1988).
Hal McRae 1968–1972 Brian McRae Major league (1990–1999)
Tony Perez 1964–1976 Eduardo Perez

Victor Perez

Major league (1993–2006)

Minor league (1990)

Pete Rose 1963–1978 Pete Rose, Jr. Major league (1997)
Ed Sprague 1971–1973 Ed Sprague Major league (1991–2001)
Woody Woodward 1968–1971 Matt Woodward Minor league (1998–1999)

It was truly a “family affair” in the Reds organization during those years. Additionally, the following Reds players, scouts, and executives were part of the heyday of the “Big Red Machine,” and they also had relatives in professional baseball.

Reds Affiliate Reds Years Relationship Relative Relative’s Career
Bob Bailey Player (1976) Son of Paul “Buck” Bailey Minor Leagueplayer (1939–1940)
Larry Barton, Sr. Reds scout (1970–1979) Father of Larry Barton, Jr. Reds scout (1970–1979)
Jack Billingham Player (1972–1977) Cousin of Christy Mathewson

Henry Mathewson

Major League player (1900–1916)

Major League player (1906–1907)

Joe Bowen Reds director of scouting Brother of Rex Bowen Pirates director of scouting; Reds special assistant
Marty Brennaman Reds broadcaster (1974–2011) Father of Thom Brennaman Major League broadcaster for Reds, Cubs, Diamondbacks, FOX network
Dan Driessen Player (1973–1984) Uncle of Gerald Perry Major League player (1983–1995)
Doug Flynn Player (1975–1977) Son of Robert Douglas Flynn, Sr. Minor League player
Phil Gagliano Player (1973–1974) Brother of Ralph Gagliano Major League player (1965–1965)
Ross Grimsley, Jr. Player (1971–1973) Son of Ross Grimsley, Sr. Major League player (1951)
Junior Kennedy Player (1974–1981) Brother of Jim Kennedy Major League player (1970)
Bob Howsam Reds GM (1966–1977) Father of Edwin Howsam Reds area scouting supervisor
Lee May Player (1965–1971) Brother of Carlos May Major League player (1968–1977)
Bill Plummer Player (1970–1977) Son of William Plummer Minor League player (1921–1927)

It’s a Family Affair for Griffey’s and Piazza’s Hall of Fame Weekend

Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza will be the latest additions to the Baseball Hall of Fame this weekend.  This was the first year Griffey was eligible for induction, while Piazza attained the pinnacle of his career in his fourth year. Both players were among the best of their respective positions during their careers.  Both have family ties in baseball.

Griffey is the son of Ken Griffey Sr., a major leaguer for 19 seasons and the owner of a .296 career batting average.  Griffey Sr. was a three-time all-star who played for the “Big Red Machine” years of the Cincinnati Reds.

Piazza is the godson of former Los Angeles Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda, also a Hall of Famer.  Lasorda and Piazza’s father had been long-time friends, and Lasorda opened the door for  Mike to be drafted by the Dodgers.

Below are several recent articles about Griffey and Piazza:

http://www.seattletimes.com/sports/mariners/ken-griffey-sr-on-sons-hall-of-fame-induction-hopefully-i-dont-break-down/

http://www.newyorkupstate.com/sports/2016/07/baseball_hall_of_fame_class_of_2016_meet_the_inductees.html

 

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/.

Odds of MLB Draft Legacies Making the Big Leagues

Each year there a number of sons, brothers, and cousins of current and former major-league players who are selected in the 2016 MLB Draft.

Bleacher Report provided an interesting assessment of the probabilities of several legacy prospects from the 2016  draft actually reaching the major-league level.

The assessment included the following drafted players who have relatives in pro baseball:

  • Bo Bichette, son of Dante Bichette and brother Dante Bichette Jr.
  • Cavan Biggio, son of Craig Biggio and brother of Conor Biggio
  • Conner Capel, son of Mike Capel
  • Trey Griffey, son of Ken Griffey Jr. and grandson of Ken Griffey Sr.
  • Jacob Heyward, brother of Jason Heyward
  • Torii Hunter Jr., son of Torii Hunter Sr.
  • Preston Palmeiro, son of Rafael Palmeiro and brother of Patrick Palmeiro
  • Cal Quantrill, son of Paul Quantrill
  • Nick Shumpert, son of Terry Shumpert and cousin of Mookie Betts

For the full report see the link below from Bleacher Report:

Odds of Each Notable 2016 MLB Draft 'Legacy' Prospect Reaching the Majors

 

 

Hall of Famer Griffey Jr. Credits Father

With his election to Baseball’s Hall of Fame, Ken Griffey Jr. reflected on how his father, Ken Griffey Sr., helped him prepare for a pro baseball career.  Junior had a good teacher since his father played for 19 seasons in the majors.  Junior recalled one of the early lessons he got from his father was about respect for the game.

The Griffey father-son combo make history when they appeared in the same game for the Seattle Mariners in 1991.

Read more about the Griffeys at the link below from the New York Daily News:

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/hall-famer-griffey-jr-recalls-dad-days-ousting-yankees-article-1.2489662

 

5 Facts You Should Know About Junior’s Dad

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi

During the first week of the year, Ken Griffey Jr.’s election to the Baseball Hall of Fame was the top baseball story. He missed being a unanimous selection by only three votes, although he did garner the highest percentage of votes in the history of the Hall, besting Tom Seaver who was the previous holder of that distinction.

What a lot of people forget is just how good of a career Junior Griffey’s father had. Of all the father-son combos in the history of the game, the Griffeys rank at the top along with Barry and Bobby Bonds.  George Sisler, Eddie Collins, Yogi Berra, Pete Rose, and Tony Gwynn are the fathers of some of the most recognizable father-son pairs, but their combined family performances pale those of the Griffeys.

From 1973 to 2010, there was a Griffey playing in the major leagues, as their careers actually overlapped, something that had never happened before.

So what should you know about Ken Griffey Sr.?

  1. Griffey Sr. was born in Denora, Pennsylvania, the same little town that produced Stan Musial, the former St. Louis Cardinal Hall of Famer. Ken’s father Buddy was a left-handed third baseman who played on the same high school team as Musial in the 1930s. Junior Griffey was also born in Denora (population around 9,000), likely making it the U. S. city with the highest number of Hall of Famers per capita.
  2. Griffey Sr. was a member of the famed Big Red Machine, the Cincinnati Reds teams of the early to mid-1970s that dominated the National League. Griffey played on two World Series championship teams in 1975 and 1976. His batting average with the Reds was .307, yet he was a minor star since he played on those Reds teams with future Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, and Tony Perez.
  3. Griffey Sr. was also a member of the storied New York Yankee franchise, except he played there during its drought years during the 1980s when they failed to produce a division winner. However, his 1985 Yankees team won 97 games but finished in second place behind the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL West Division. Griffey’s teammates on that team included three future Hall of Famers–Dave Winfield, Rickey Henderson and Phil Niekro, as well as Don Mattingly, Don Baylor, Ron Guidry, and Dave Righetti.
  4. When Junior Griffey made his major league debut in 1989, the father-son combo became the first to be active in the major leagues at the same time. In 1990, nearing the end of his career, the Cincinnati Reds allowed Griffey Sr. to sign with the Seattle Mariners, where Junior was playing. On August 31, they started in the same game for the Mariners, each collecting singles in the first inning. In their game together on September 14, they hit back-to-back home runs.
  5. Griffey Sr. was a three-time National League All-Star, claiming the midsummer classic’s MVP title in 1980. He contended for the league batting title in 1976 with a .336 average. He had a career .297 batting average, compared to Junior’s .284. Griffey Sr. had similar speed (200 career stolen bases to Junior’ 194), but far less power (152 home runs and .431 slugging percentage to Junior’s 630 home runs and .538 slugging percentage). Together, they rank among baseball’s most prolific families in offensive categories.