Tagged: Richard Cuicchi

Family Ties Flourishing in Baseball – San Francisco Giants

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi

This is the sixth in a series of reviews that will take a look at family relationships in each of the thirty major-league organizations.

Baseball has more family relationships than any other professional sport. They existed in the earliest days of the sport in the 1870s, and they are abundant in today’s game, perhaps more so than ever before.  Baseball has been called a “generational” sport for several reasons.  One of them is that multiple generations of families have been active in the game–grandfathers, fathers, sons, and brothers.  And now even some great-grandsons are starting to show up on rosters.  Uncles, nephews, cousins and in-laws are part of the extended family of baseball relatives, too.

Baseball bloodlines aren’t limited to just the players. Family trees with a baseball background have commonly included managers, coaches, scouts, owners, executives, front office personnel, umpires, and broadcasters, as well.

Giants’ history is filled with examples of players and non-players that had relatives in baseball. Some of the more noteworthy ones include:

Bobby Bonds made his major league debut with the Giants in 1968, en route to a 14-year major-league career.  He joined the team that featured future Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry.  Bonds was no slouch either, as he belted 186 home runs and 552 RBI, while stealing 263 bases in his seven seasons with the Giants.  Over his career, he was selected as an all-star on three occasions and finished in the top four of the MVP Award voting twice.  His son was Barry Bonds, the all-time leader in home runs and fourth on the all-time list for on-base plus slugging percentage.  Barry was the MVP Award winner seven times.  Bobby’s son, Bobby Jr., played professional baseball for seven seasons in the San Diego and San Francisco farm systems from 1992 to 1998.  In the Class A California League All-Star Game in 1997, Bobby Jr. was scheduled to play in the same outfield as Garry Maddox Jr. and Gary Matthews Jr., but injuries to Maddox and Bonds prevented it from occurring.  Maddox and Matthew were sons of former Giants outfielders as well.

Carl Hubbell was a Hall of Fame pitcher who spent his entire 16 years with the New York Giants.  He had five consecutive seasons with 20 or more victories, winning 253 altogether in his career.  The lefty helped the Giants to three National League pennants, including one World Series victory in 1933.  Hubbell gained fame for striking out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin in succession in the 1934 All-Star Game.  Carl had two brothers, John and George, who also played professionally in the Giants and Pirates organizations, respectively.  Carl’s son, Carl Jr., pitched one season in the Giants farm system in 1958.

Hal Lanier was an infielder for the Giants from 1964 to 1971 and spent two more seasons with the New York Yankees before turning to a coaching and managerial career.  He served as a coach for the St. Louis Cardinals and later managed the Houston Astros from 1986 to 1988 earning Manager of the Year honors in 1986.  In 2016 at age 74, he was still managing in the independent leagues.  Hal’s father was Max Lanier, who pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals for 12 seasons.  He was one of a dozen major-league players that jumped to the Mexican League in 1946, lured by higher salaries offered by the league owner.  Max eventually returned to Major League Baseball.

Garry Maddox played three full seasons and part of another with the Giants before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in May 1975, where he won seven consecutive Gold Glove Awards as their centerfielder.  He played in two World Series with the Phillies, defeating the Kansas City Royals in 1980.  His son, Garry Jr., was a minor-league outfielder from 1997 to 2003, including a stint with the Phillies.  Garry Sr.’s son, Derrick, played part of one season in the Phillies organization in 1998.

Gary Matthews Sr. played his first five seasons with the Giants, earning Rookie of the Year honors in 1973 and sharing the outfield with Bobby Bonds and Garry Maddox.  Altogether, Matthews played sixteen seasons in the majors, winning a World Series with Philadelphia in 1983.  His son, Gary Jr. played twelve major-league seasons with seven different clubs, making an appearance in the All-Star Game in 2006.  Gary Sr.’s son, Dustin, played one minor-league season in the Chicago White Sox organization.  His son, Del, worked in the White Sox front office.

Don Mueller, part of a three-generation family of players, played ten seasons with the New York Giants, including the 1954 team which upset the heavily-favored Cleveland Indians in the World Series.  Mueller led the league in hits (212) that season, while posting a career-high .342 batting average.  His career average was .296.  Don is the son of Walter Mueller, who played parts of four seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1922 to 1926.  Don’s brother, Leroy, played in the Red Sox and Yankees organizations in 1947 and 1948.  Don’s son, Mark, was an infielder in the Cardinals and Mets organizations from 1971 to 1973.  Don’s two grandsons played college baseball.

Matt Williams played ten of his seventeen major-league seasons with the Giants, for whom he hit 247 home runs and 732 RBI.  The third baseman was both a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner for several seasons.  He played with the 1989 Giants team that won the National League pennant.  Matt managed the Washington Nationals in 2014 and 2015, winning Manager of the Year in his first year.  Matt’s grandfather, Bert Griffith, was a major-league outfielder from 1922 to 1924.  Matt’s son, Jake played two minor-league seasons in the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system.

Fast forwarding to more recent times, below are some highlights of baseball relatives in the Giants organization during 2016.

Gregor Blanco was a reserve outfielder with the Giants in 2016, his fifth season with them.  He is a career.258 hitter with 101 stolen bases.  His twin brother, Gregory, played in the Anaheim Angels farm system in 2003.

Santiago Casilla has been the Giants’ primary closer for the past two seasons.  He has thirteen years in the majors, including six with the Oakland A’s.  He was a member of the Giants’ World Series championship teams in 2010, 2012 and 2014.  Santiago’s brother, Jose, has been a pitcher in the Giants farm system since 2006.

Conor Gillaspie had his second stint with the Giants in 2016, having previously played for them from 2008 to 2012.  The third baseman had a hot bat in September last year, hitting for a .338 average, to help the Giants hang on to a wild-card berth.  His brother, Casey, was a first-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2014 and advanced to the Triple-A level last year.  His father, Mark, was an outfielder and first baseman in the minors from 1981 to 1988.

Derek Law made his major-league debut with the Giants in 2016, serving primarily as a middle reliever.  He had been drafted by the Giants in the 9th round of the 2011 MLB Draft.  His father, Joe, was a starting pitcher for nine seasons in the Oakland A’s farm system.

Hunter Pence, the charismatic leader of the Giants, completed his fifth season with the Giants last year.  He missed a good part of the season due to injury, but still managed to hit thirteen home runs and 57 RBI, while compiling a .289 batting average.  He is a three-time all-star.  His brother, Howard, was a pitcher in the minors from 2003 to 2007.

Hunter Strickland made 72 appearances with the Giants in 2016, mostly in middle relief.  Originally the 18th round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox in 2007, the 6-foot-4 right-hander completed his third season with the Giants last year.  Hunter’s father, Kenneth, pitched one season in the Tigers farm system in 1968.

The Giants’ pipeline of baseball relatives includes several top minor league prospects whose relatives played professionally:

Jonah Arenado hit 17 home runs and 68 RBI for the Giants’ Class A affiliate San Jose in 2016.  His brother is Nolan Arenado, the home run and RBI leader in the National League for the past two seasons. Shawon Dunston Jr. is the son of Giants coach Shawon Dunston, who had an 18-year major-league career.  Shawon Jr. was the 11th-round pick of the Chicago Cubs in 2011. Jacob Heyward was the 18th round pick of the Giants in 2016 and batted .330 in his first pro season.  He is the brother of Jason Heyward of the Chicago Cubs. Dylan Manwaring played in the Giants farm system in 2016.  His father is Kirt Manwaring, former Giants major leaguer and currently a minor-league coach with the Giants. Tyler Rogers played at the Triple-A level in the Giants minor leagues in 2016.  His twin brother, Taylor, made his major league debut in 2016 with the Minnesota Twins as a middle relief pitcher. Jose Vizcaino Jr. appeared in his second season in the Giants farm system last year after being their 7th round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft.  His father, Jose Sr. played two of his eighteen major-league seasons with the Giants.

The 2016 Giants had their share of baseball relatives in the dugout and front office, too.

Felipe Alou is currently a special assistant with the Giants, but got his start in the organization as an outfielder in 1958.  He went on to a 17-year career in which he compiled a .286 batting average and three all-star appearances and then a 14-year managerial career, including four with the Giants.  He is the brother of two former major leaguers, Matty and Jesus.  They became the first trio of brothers to play in the same game on September 10, 1963, when they manned the outfield positions for the Giants.  Felipe’s son, Moises, was a six-time all-star in his seventeen major-league seasons, which included a World Series championship with the Florida Marlins in 1997.  Felipe has three other sons, Felipe Jr., Luis, and Jose, who hold various roles in professional baseball.  Felipe is the uncle of former major league pitcher Mel Rojas, whose best season included a 7-1 record and 1.43 ERA in 68 relief appearances.  Felipe is the cousin of Jose Sosa who pitched in parts of two seasons with the Houston Astros in 1975-1976.

Bruce Bochy, the current Giants manager, is on his way to an eventual Hall of Fame induction.  He has won over 1,700 games in his 22 years as a manager that includes four pennants and three World Series titles.  Brett Bochy had brief stints as a pitcher for his father in 2014 and 2015.

Duane Kuiper is a broadcaster for the Giants, in his 32nd year as a major-league announcer in 2016.  He played in the majors from 1974 to 1985 with the Cleveland Indians and the Giants.  His brother, Jeff, is a broadcast producer for the Giants, while brother Glenn is a broadcaster for the Oakland A’s.

Damon Minor played parts of four seasons as an infielder with the Giants during 2000 to 2004.  He is currently a minor league coach with the Giants.  His twin brother, Ryan, also appeared in four major league seasons in the Baltimore Orioles and Montreal Expos organizations.  They are one of only eight sets of twins to appear in the majors.

Jorge Posada Sr. is a long-time major league scout, currently working in the Giants organization.  He is the father of Jorge Posada Jr., a 17-year, five-time all-star catcher with the New York Yankees.  Jorge Sr.’s brother, Leo, was a major-league outfielder for the Kansas City A’s in 1960 -1962.

Dave Righetti completed his 17th season as the Giants’ pitching coach in 2016.  He pitched for sixteen major-league seasons, primarily as a reliever for the New York Yankees, compiling an 82-79 record and 252 saves.  His father, Leo, was an infielder in the minor leagues from 1944 to 1957.  Dave’s brother, Steven, was an infielder in the Texas Rangers organization from 1977 to 1979.

The father-son combo of Paul Turco Jr. and Paul Turco Sr. are currently scouts in the Giants organization.  Paul Sr.’s son, Anthony, is a scout for the Boston Red Sox.  Both of his sons previously played in the minors.

Baseball’s Relatives Website

The entire list of 2016 active major and minor league players and non-players can be retrieved at:

https://baseballrelatives.wordpress.com/2016-family-ties/

 

Family Ties Flourishing in Baseball – St. Louis Cardinals

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi

This is the fifth in a series of reviews that will take a look at family relationships in each of the thirty major league organizations.

Baseball has more family relationships than any other professional sport. They existed in the earliest days of the sport in the 1870s, and they are abundant in today’s game, perhaps more so than ever before.  Baseball has been called a “generational” sport for several reasons.  One of them is that multiple generations of families have been active in the game–grandfathers, fathers, sons, and brothers.  And now even some great-grandsons are starting to show up on rosters.  Uncles, nephews, cousins and in-laws are part of the extended family of baseball relatives, too.

Baseball bloodlines aren’t limited to just the players. Family trees with a baseball background have commonly included managers, coaches, scouts, owners, executives, front office personnel, umpires, and broadcasters, as well.

Cardinals history is filled with examples of players and non-players that had relatives in baseball. Some of the more noteworthy ones include:

Ken Boyer had an MVP season with the Cardinals in 1964, when they won the National League pennant and defeated the New York Yankees in seven games in the World Series.  Altogether he played seven seasons with the Cardinals, which included seven all-star selections.  He later managed the Cardinals for one full season and portions of two others during 1978 to 1980.  Ken had six brothers who played professional baseball, including Clete and Cloyd who reached the major leagues.  Clete played for the Yankees and opposed his brother in the 1964 World Series, in which they both homered in Game 7.  Cloyd pitched in five major league seasons during 1949 to 1955.  He later coached and scouted for several major league teams.  Ken’s son, David, played five minor league seasons in the Cardinals organization.

Jose Cruz was one of three brothers who played for the Cardinals in the 1970s.  Jose was the best of the three outfielders, putting in 19 major league seasons and recording a .284 career batting average and 1,077 career RBI.  He spent 13 of his seasons with the Houston Astros, where he had two all-star selections.  Jose’s brother, Hector, spent four seasons with the Cardinals as part of a 9-year career, mostly as a reserve outfielder.  Jose’s brother, Cirilo (Tommy), appeared in only three Cardinals games in 1973, and practically all of his pro career was spent in the minors and in Japan.  Hector and Jose once hit home runs while on opposing teams on May 4, 1981.  Jose’s son, Jose Jr., played twelve major league seasons, mostly with the Toronto Blue Jays.  Jose Jr. was runner-up for American League Rookie of the Year in 1997.  Jose had another son, J. E., who played five seasons in the minors.

Chick Hafey played for the Cardinals from 1924 to 1931, contributing to four National League pennant-winning teams.  They won the World Series in 1926 and 1931.  Over his 13-year major-league career, he compiled a .317 batting average and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971 by the Veterans Committee.  Chick’s brother, Albert (also nicknamed Chick), pitched for one minor league season in 1913.  Chick had two cousins, Bud and Tom, who played briefly in the majors, and a third cousin, Will, who played in the minors in the 1940s and 1950s.

Lindy McDaniel was one of the top relief pitchers of his era after beginning his career with the Cardinals as a starter in 1955.  Overall, he spent 21 years in the big leagues, including eight with the Cardinals, in which he won 141 games and saved another 174.  Lindy’s brother, Von, only weeks out of high school, joined Lindy at the major-league level with the Cardinals in 1957 and was outstanding pitching prospect.  However, Von he developed a sore arm the next year from which he never recovered.  Von spent the remainder of his nine-year minor-league career as a third baseman and outfielder, but never returned to the majors.  Lindy and Von had a third brother, Butch, who signed with the Cardinals out of high school, but only managed to play three seasons in the minors.

Red Schoendienst has had one of the longest tenures of any Cardinal in history, first as a player, then as a coach and manager.  At age 94, he is still retained by the Cardinals as a special assistant to the Cardinals’ front office.  He played for 19 years in the majors, including 15 with the Cardinals.  He was a 10-time all-star, compiling a .289 career batting average.  He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989 by the Veterans Committee.  Schoendienst managed the Cardinals for twelve consecutive seasons, earning a World Series ring in 1967 and other NL pennant in 1968.  He served as an interim manager of the Cardinals in 1980 and 1990, while he was coach for the team.  Red’s son, Kevin, played in the minors for the Cubs organization in 1980 and 1981.  Red had four brothers who played in the minors during the 1940s.

Harry Walker began his 11-year major-league career with the Cardinals in 1940 and had an all-star year before going into military service in 1944 and 1945.  He was dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1947, when he recorded another all-star year leading the National League in batting average (.363) and on-base percentage (.436).  During his last season as a player with the Cardinals in 1955, he replaced Eddie Stanky as manager for the final 118 games.  He later managed the Pittsburgh Pirates for three seasons and the Houston Astros for five seasons.  Harry was the son of Dixie Walker, who pitched for the Washington Senators during 1909 to 1912.  Harry’s brother, also named Dixie, had an 18-year career as an outfielder for five teams, including the Brooklyn Dodgers where he was an all-star in four seasons.  Harry and Dixie are the only brothers to both win major league batting titles.  Harry’s uncle, Ernie Walker, played in the outfield with the St. Louis Browns from 1913 to 1915.

Dizzy Dean was one of the most colorful figures in the history of the game.  He made his mark with the St. Louis Cardinals as part of the Gas House Gang from 1932 to 1937, when he won 134 games.  1934 was his best season, winning 30 games and leading the league in strikeouts on his way to an MVP Award.  The Cardinals, led by Dean’s two victories, captured the World Series title that year.  Dean’s career was impacted by hurting his arm in 1937, as a result of altering his pitching mechanics following a broken toe injury.  Despite his shortened career, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953.  After his playing career, he became a popular radio and TV broadcaster.  Dean’s brother, Paul, also pitched for the Cardinals, winning 19 games in each of the 1934 and 1935 seasons.  For those years, they formed one of the best brother-teammates combos in the history of the game.  In a game against the Brooklyn Dodgers on September 21, 1934, Dizzy pitched a no-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader, while Paul hurled a one-hitter in the second game.

Fast forwarding to more recent times, below are some highlights of baseball relatives in the Cardinals organization during 2016.

Matt Carpenter completed his sixth season with the Cardinals in 2016, which included his third all-star selection.  2013 has been his best season to date, as he compiled a .319 batting average and led the National League in hits and runs.  Matt’s brother, Tyler, was a catcher in the Mets farm system during 2011 and 212.

Greg Garcia, a Cardinals infielder, had the best season of his three-year career on 2016.  He had been a 10th-round pick of the Cardinals in the 2010 MLB Draft.  His brother, Drew, spent eight minor-league seasons in the Chicago White Sox and Colorado Rockies organizations.  Greg’s grandfather, Dave, was a major-league manager from 1977 to 1982 in the California Angels and Cleveland Indians organizations.  Dave played third base in the minors from 1939 to 1957, followed by stints as a minor-league manager and a major-league coach.

Matt Holliday had been a mainstay in the lineup for the Cardinals for seven seasons, although his 2015 and 2016 seasons were marred by injuries.  During his time with the Cards, he compiled a .293 average, 156 HR and 616 RBI, and appeared in two World Series.  With Colorado in 2007, he led the National league in batting average, hits, doubles, and RBI.  Matt is the son of Tom Holliday, who played one season with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 1975.  Tom later became head coach and pitching coach at several high-profile colleges.  Matt’s brother, Josh, played two seasons in the Toronto Blue Jays farm system before following his father in the coaching ranks.  He is now the head coach at Oklahoma State, where his father previously held the same job.  Matt’s uncle, Dave Holliday, is currently a scout in the Atlanta Braves organization.  Matt was signed as a free agent by the New York Yankees over the winter.

Jose Martinez made his major league debut with the Cardinals in 2016.  The outfielder/first baseman began his professional career in 2006 at age 17 in the Venezuelan Summer League.  His father is Carlos Martinez, a native Venezuelan who played outfielder/third baseman in the majors during 1988 – 1995.  Jose’s brother, Teodoro, was an outfielder for seven minor-leagues seasons during 2009 to 2015.

Yadier Molina is likely on his way to a Hall of Fame election, having been one of the top catchers of his era.  The 33-year-old began his major league career with the Cardinals in 2004.  Thirteen years later, he has compiled a .284 average, collecting over 1,500 hits and 700 RBI.  Yadier has won eight Gold Glove Awards.  In 89 post-season games, including four World Series, he has hit .289.  Yadier is one of three brothers to have played catcher in the major leagues.  Bengie won a World Series with the Anaheim Angles in 2002.  Jose won World Series titles with the Angels in 2002 and the Yankees in 2009.

Steven Piscotty, a product of the highly-rated Cardinals farm system, played his first full major-league season in 2016.  In 153 games he posted 22 HR, 85 RBI and a .273 average.  Steven had been a first-round draft pick out of Stanford University by the Cardinals in 2012.  His brother, Nick, was selected in the 32nd round by the Kansas City Royals in the 2011 MLB Draft, but did not sign.

Michael Wacha, only one season out of college, gained national attention with the Cardinals in the 2013 post-season, as he won four of five starts.  However, a shoulder injury incurred in 2014 has affected his number of innings in the last four seasons.  His career won-loss record is 33-21 with a 3.74 ERA.  Michael’s uncle, Dusty Rogers, was a first-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in the January 1984 and went on to pitch five seasons in the minors.

Kolten Wong completed his fourth season with the Cardinals in 2016, when his playing time decreased at second base and he began playing some games in the outfield.  His job security as the regular starter at second is likely in jeopardy for 2017.  Kolten’s brother, Kean, is currently a second baseman in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.

The Cardinals pipeline of baseball relatives includes several top minor league prospects whose relatives played professionally: Tyler Bray, a relief pitcher in his third season in the Cardinals farm system, has a brother, Colin, who is an outfielder in the Diamondbacks organization; Anthony Garcia, who split time between the Double-A and Triple-A levels last year, is the son of former major leaguer Leo Garcia, who is currently a minor-league coach in the Los Angeles Dodgers system; Corey Littrell, a third-generation professional who spent the 2016 season with Triple-A Memphis, is the grandson of former major leaguer Jack Littrell, while his father pitched in the minors from 1977 to 1980; C. J. McElroy, the 3rd-round pick of the Cardinals in the 2011 MLB draft, is the son of former major-league pitcher Chuck McElroy, the nephew of former major-league first baseman Cecil Cooper, and brother of Satchel McElroy, an outfielder in the Cincinnati Reds organization; Casey Turgeon, the 22nd-round pick out of the University of Florida in 2014 who advanced to Double-A last year, is the nephew of Dave Turgeon, a minor league coordinator in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

The 2016 Cardinals had their share of baseball relatives in the dugout and front office, too.

David Bell is the current bench coach of the Cardinals.  During his major-league playing career that spanned from 1995 to 2006 with six different major-league clubs, he was a career .257 hitter.  Bell is part of one of only a handful of three-generation players in the history of major-league baseball.  His grandfather, Gus, was a four-time all-star during his nine seasons with the Cincinnati Reds.  Overall, Gus played 15 seasons, ending in 1964.  His father, Buddy, was a five-time all-star and six-time Gold Glove Award winner as a third baseman during his 18 major-league seasons.  Buddy also managed three major league teams and is currently an executive with the Chicago White Sox.  David’s brother, Mike, played briefly with the Cincinnati Reds in 2000 and now currently works in the front office of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Bill DeWitt, Jr. is owner and chairman of the Cardinals.  He had previously been a part owner/investor with the Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds, and Texas Rangers.  Bill’s son, Bill DeWitt III, is currently president of the Cardinals.  Bill Jr.’s father, Bill DeWitt, Sr., was a part-owner and general manager of the St. Louis Browns when they won their only American League pennant in 1944.  He later owned the Cincinnati Reds and served in the front offices of the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers.  Bill Jr. was a batboy for the Browns when his father was affiliated with the team.

Marty Keough is a long-time scout in the Cardinals organization.  He had an eleven-year career as a major league outfielder with six teams without ever having a full-time job.  His brother, Joe, was also a reserve outfielder and first baseman for six major-league seasons, primarily with the Kansas City Royals.  Another brother, Thomas, had a “cup of coffee” in the Boston Red Sox organization in 1954.  Marty’s son, Matt, was a big league pitcher from 1977 to 1987, winning 16 games with the Oakland A’s in 1980.  After his playing career, he served in scouting and executive roles for several clubs.  Marty is the grandfather of Shane Keough, who played four minor league seasons in the A’s organization, and Colton Keough, who was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in 2010, but did not sign.

Mike Matheny completed his fifth year as manager of the Cardinals in 2016.  He has three first-place and two second-place finishes during his tenure, including a National League pennant in 2013.  Matheny was a major-league catcher from 1994 to 2006, including five seasons with the Cardinals.  His son, Tate, an outfielder in the Boston Red Sox farm system, was drafted by the Red Sox in the 4th round in 2015. Mike has two other sons currently in the college ranks:  Luke plays for Oklahoma State University, while Jake plays at Indiana University.

Aaron Looper is currently a scout in the Red Sox organization.  During his 10-season pro career, he appeared in the majors in only one season in 2003 for the Seattle Mariners.  His cousin, Braden Looper, was a relief pitcher in the majors for twelve seasons and currently works in the Cardinals front office.  Aaron’s father, Benny, has been a scout and player development executive in the Seattle Mariners and Philadelphia Phillies organizations.  Aaron’s brother, Jason was selected in the 31st round of the 2000 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners, but did not sign.

Derrick May is a minor league hitting instructor in the Cardinals organization.  His father, Dave, was a major-league outfielder from 1967 to 1978, compiling his best season with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1973 with 25 HR, 93 RBI and a .303 batting average.  His brother, Dave Jr., is currently a scout in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.  Derrick’s son, also named Derrick, was the 37th-round pick of the Cardinals in 2013, but did not sign.

Jose Oquendo is currently the third-base coach for the Cardinals.  His son, Eduardo, was the 32nd-round pick of the Cardinals in 2012, but did not sign.

Baseball’s Relatives Website

The entire list of 2016 active major and minor league players and non-players can be retrieved at:

https://baseballrelatives.wordpress.com/2016-family-ties/

 

Family Ties Flourishing in Baseball – Chicago Cubs

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi

This is the fourth in a series of reviews that will take a look at family relationships in each of the thirty major league organizations.

Baseball has more family relationships than any other professional sport. They existed in the earliest days of the sport in the 1870s, and they are abundant in today’s game, perhaps more so than ever before.  Baseball has been called a “generational” sport for several reasons.  One of them is that multiple generations of families have been active in the game–grandfathers, fathers, sons, and brothers.  And now even some great-grandsons are starting to show up on rosters.  Uncles, nephews, cousins and in-laws are part of the extended family of baseball relatives, too.

Baseball bloodlines aren’t limited to just the players. Family trees with a baseball background have commonly included managers, coaches, scouts, owners, executives, front office personnel, umpires, and broadcasters, as well.

Cubs history is filled with examples of players and non-players that had relatives in baseball. Some of the more noteworthy ones include:

Lou Brock got his major league start with the Chicago Cubs before going on to a Hall of Fame career with the St. Louis Cardinals.  He is often the subject of the worst trade in Cubs history, when they acquired pitcher Ernie Broglio from the Cardinals.  Broglio would only win seven games for the Cubs in 2 ½ years.  Brock’s son, Lou Jr., was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 17th round in 1982, but did not sign.  Brock’s cousin, Dale, played in the Cardinals organization in 1976-77.

Dolph Camilli made his major-league debut with the Cubs in 1933, but the more significant portion of his career was spent with the Brooklyn Dodgers, where he was the National League MVP in 1941 and earned two-time all-star selections.  Dolph had four sons that played pro baseball, although Doug was the only one to make it to the majors, as a backup catcher for several teams during the 1960s.  Doug’s son, Kevin, played in the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers organizations from 1984 to 1988.

Jim Delahanty was one of five brothers to play in the majors, the most in baseball history.  He played for the Chicago Cubs in 1901 and went on to have a 13-year major-league career.  The best of the brothers was Ed, a Hall of Fame player primarily with the Philadelphia Phillies.  Frank, Joe, and Tom were the other brothers.  The Delahanty brothers never played together in the major leagues, but Joe, Jim and Tom were teammates in the minors for Allentown and once accounted for eleven hits and twenty total bases among them.  A sixth brother, Will, was a minor league player.

Don Kessinger was a six-time all-star shortstop in his twelve seasons with the Cubs from 1964 to 1975, playing with Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, and Billy Williams.  Don’s son, Keith, played eleven major-league games with Cincinnati in 1993, while son Kevin, played one minor-league season with the Cubs in 1992.  Don’s grandson, Grae, is currently a freshman infielder at his college alma mater, Ole Miss.

Lennie Merullo was on the 1945 Chicago Cubs team that played in the World Series, the last before the Cubs’ appearance in 2017.  However, he is best known for having made three errors in a 1942 game, on the day his son, Lennie Jr., was born, earning him the nickname “Boots.”  Lennie Jr. played minor-league baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization from 1962 to 1964.  Lennie Jr.’s son, Matt, was a backup catcher in big leagues from 1989 to 1995 and later managed in the minors.  Matt’s son, Nicholas, played one minor league season in the Baltimore Orioles farm system.

Fast forwarding to more recent times, here are some highlights of baseball relatives in the Chicago Cubs organization during 2016.

Kris Bryant has emerged as one the game’s top players in only two major league seasons.  He followed his National League Rookie of the Year Award season in 2015 with an MVP Award season last year and led the Cubs to their first World Series championship since 1908.  Last season, he led the league in runs scored and posted a slash line of .292/.385/.522.  Kris’ father, Mike, was an outfielder in the Red Sox organization in 1981-82.

Willson Contreras made his major league debut with the Cubs last season, sharing catching duties with veterans Miguel Montero and David Ross.  He responded with a .282 average, 12 HR and 35 RBI in 76 games.  He had ten hits, one HR and 5 RBI in the Cubs’ post-season games last year.  His brother, William, is an 18-year-old catcher in the Atlanta Braves organization.

Jason Heyward came to the Cubs for the 2016 season with an All-Star selection and three Gold Glove Awards to his credit.  His offensive production with the Cubs declined from his previous years.  However, he claimed his first World Series ring when the Cubs won their first championship since 19xx.  Jason’s brother, Jacob, was drafted in the 18th round of the 2016 draft by the San Francisco Giants and turned in a .330 batting average for the season.

Ryan Kalish was promoted to the Cubs for a week in May last year and then suffered a knee injury that put him out for the rest of the season.  Prior to 2016, he had two brief stints with the Boston Red Sox and then played in 57 games for the Cubs in 2014.  The Cubs granted Kalish free agency after last season.  Ryan’s brother, Jake, is currently a pitcher in the Kansas City Royals farm system.

Ben Zobrist has gained a reputation as one of the game’s best “super utility” players.  In his first season with the Cubs in 2017, he played both second base and outfield positions.  The veteran was key player in the Cubs’ victory in the World Series.  He was named the MVP of the Series for his ten hits, five runs and 2 RBI.  Ben’s brother-in-law is Jon Gilmore, who played in the minors for the Atlanta Braves and Chicago White Sox organizations.

The Cubs’ pipeline of baseball relatives includes several top minor league prospects whose relatives were former major-league players:

John Andreoli was an outfielder for Triple-A Iowa in the Cubs farm system last year.  He is the cousin of Daniel Bard, a former major league pitcher for the Boston Red Sox during 2009 – 2013.  After sitting out the 2015 season due to injury, Bard attempted a return with the St. Louis Cardinals last year.  John’s cousin, Luke Bard, pitched in the Minnesota Twins organization last year.

Chad Hockin was the 6th-round draft selection of the Cubs last year and then pitched at the Class A level of the Cubs farm system.  His brother, Grant, was a 2nd-round pick of the Cleveland Indians in 2014, but pitched in only one pro season.  Their grandfather was Harmon Killebrew, a Hall of Fame infielder and designated hitter from 1954 to 1975.  Killebrew hit 573 career home runs and claimed the American League MVP Award in 1969 while playing for the Minnesota Twins.

Daniel Lockhart completed his sixth season in the Cubs organization last year, after being drafted out of high school in the 10th round of the 2011 MLB Draft.  His father, Keith Lockhart, is currently a scout in the Cubs organization and played ten seasons for three major-league teams.  Keith appeared in six post-seasons with the Atlanta Braves.

Carson Sands was the 4th-round selection of the Cubs in the 2014 MLB Draft and completed his third pro season last year in 2016.  Carson’s brother, Cole, was drafted by the Houston Astros in 2015, but did not sign.

The 2016 Cubs had their share of baseball relatives off the field, too.

Tom Ricketts is the owner and chairman of the Chicago Cubs, having acquired the franchise in 2009.  Ricketts’ siblings, Laura, Pete, and Todd, also have ownership interests in the Cubs.  The Ricketts are not the first family to own the Cubs.  Three generations of the Wrigley family owned the franchise from 1925 to 1981.

Terry Kennedy is a scout in the Cubs’ player development organization.  He had been a four-time all-star catcher during his fourteen major league seasons, and he later managed, coached and instructed in the minor leagues for several teams.  His father, Bob Sr., spent over fifty years in baseball in various capacities, including as a player from 1939 to 1957 with seven different major league clubs and as a scout, manager, coach, and executive from 1958 to 1992.  One of Bob Sr.’s managerial stints was with the Cubs from 1963 to 1965.  Terry’s brother, Bob Jr., pitched in the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals farm systems from 1971 to 1975.

Dave Martinez became a coach for the Cubs when manager Joe Maddon was hired by the team in 2015.  They had previously worked together with the Tampa Bay Rays.  Dave also had a 16-year career as a major league player, compiling a .276 batting average.  Dave’s son, Dalton, was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 31st round of the 2013 MLB Draft, but did not sign.

Dan Kiermaier is in his second season as a Cubs groundskeeper at Wrigley Field.  Dan’s brother, Kevin, was in his fourth season as an outfielder in the Tampa Bay Rays organization in 2016.

Jason McLeod is currently the senior vice president of scouting and player development for the Cubs.  He has previously held scouting and executive positions for the Boston Red Sox and the San Diego Padres.  He is the great-grandnephew of Carl Hubbell, the Hall of Fame pitcher for the New York Giants from 1928 to 1943.  He is a distant relative of Jacob Hannemann, currently a minor-league outfielder in the Cubs farm system.

 

Baseball’s Relatives Website

The entire list of 2016 active major and minor league players and non-players can be retrieved at:

https://baseballrelatives.wordpress.com/2016-family-ties/

 

Family Ties Flourishing in Baseball – Boston Red Sox

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi

This is the third of a series of reviews that will take a look at family relationships in each of the thirty major league organizations.

Baseball has more family relationships than any other professional sport. They existed in the earliest days of the sport in the 1870s, and they are abundant in today’s game, perhaps more so than ever before.  Baseball has been called a “generational” sport for several reasons.  One of them is that multiple generations of families have been active in the game–grandfathers, fathers, sons, and brothers.  And now even some great-grandsons are starting to show up on rosters.  Uncles, nephews, cousins and in-laws are part of the extended family of baseball relatives, too.

Baseball bloodlines aren’t limited to just the players. Family trees with a baseball background have commonly included managers, coaches, scouts, owners, executives, front office personnel, umpires, and broadcasters, as well.

Red Sox history is filled with examples of players and non-players that had relatives in baseball. Some of the more noteworthy ones include:

Ken Brett had just turned 19 years old when he made two appearances in the 1967 World Series with the Red Sox.  He went on to pitch for the Red Sox in three more seasons as part of his 14-year career that ended in 1981.  Ken’s brother, George, was a Hall of Fame third baseman for the Kansas City Royals that led the American League in hitting in three different decades.  Ken had two other brothers, John and Robert, who played only one season in the minors.

Roger Clemens won 192 games and three Cy Young Awards in his 13-seasons with the Red Sox.  Over his 24-year career, he won a total of 354 games and is currently 3rd all-time in strikeouts.  Altogether he garnered seven Cy Young Awards during his career.  Roger had three sons involved in baseball.  Koby played in the minors for eight seasons in the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays organizations.  His sons, Kacy and Kody, were drafted out of high school by the Astros, but both opted to attend the University of Texas where they are currently playing baseball.

Dom DiMaggio is part of one of the most famous trio of baseball brothers in history.  His brother, Joe, a Hall of Famer player with the New York Yankees from 1936 to 1951, was a 13-time All-Star and winner of the American League MVP Award three times.  Dom’s brother, Vince, was a two-time All-Star during his ten major-league seasons.  Dom played for the Red Sox during 1940 – 1953, when he was selected to All-Star teams in seven seasons. All three brothers played in the outfield.

Dave Sisler pitched in four seasons for the Red Sox in the 1950s.  He is the son of Hall of Fame player George Sisler Sr. who twice hit over .400 en route to a .340 career batting average.  Dave’s brother, Dick, was a member of the 1950 Philadelphia Phillies “Whiz Kids” that won the 1950 National League pennant.  The first baseman logged eight seasons with the Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds.  A third Sisler brother, George Jr., played four minor-league seasons before becoming a general manager for several minor-league clubs and then president of the International League from 1966 to 1976.

Fast forwarding to more recent times, here are some highlights of baseball relatives in the Boston Red Sox organization during 2016.

Mookie Betts has emerged as one of the Red Sox’s brightest stars, finishing second in the American League MVP voting last year, only his second full season. He hit 31 HR and 113 RBI while posting a .318 batting average and 26 stolen bases.  He is the nephew of Terry Shumpert, a 14-year veteran infielder who primarily played for the Kansas City Royals and Colorado Rockies.  Terry had a career .252 batting average.  Mookie’s cousin is Nicholas Shumpert, the 28th round pick of the Atlanta Braves in 2016.  Nicholas played his first pro season at the rookie league level last season.

Xander Bogaerts is another young star that came up through the Red Sox farm system and ranks among the best shortstops in the game.  In an all-star season last year, he had career-highs with 21 HR and 89 RBI while batting .294.  His twin brother, Jair, played two seasons in the Dominican Summer League for the Red Sox organization in 2010 and 2011.  There have been only eight sets of twins where both brothers played in the major leagues.

Craig Kimbrel came to the Red Sox last year after five seasons with the Atlanta Braves and one with the San Diego Padres.  In four of his years with the Braves, he led the National League in saves.  Overall, he has posted 14.5 strikeouts per nine innings and a WHIP of 0.949.  Craig’s brother, Matt, was drafted by the Braves in 2012, and he spent three seasons at low levels in the Braves farm system

Drew Pomeranz joined the Red Sox staff in July last year after earning an all-star selection with the San Diego Padres during the first half of the season.  He has pitched for six seasons that included stints with the Colorado Rockies and Oakland A’s.  Drew’s brother, Stu, had a brief appearance in the majors with Baltimore in 2012. Their great-grandfather was Garland Buckeye, a major-league pitcher during 1918 – 1928, primarily with the Cleveland Indians.  Buckeye compiled a 30-39 record.  Their father, Mike, was a minor-league pitcher from 1988 to 1992, after being selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 13th round of the 1988 MLB Draft.  Their uncle, Patrick, played one season in the Chicago White Sox organization in 1983.

Rick Porcello earned the American League Cy Young Award last year, in his second season with the Red Sox and eighth overall year in the majors.  The 27-year-old posted a career best 22-4 record and 3.15 ERA.  Rick’s grandfather was Sam Dente, a major-league infielder from 1948 to 1955.  Dente posted a career .252 batting average for five teams.  Rick’s brother, Jake, was a late-round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers in 2009, but did not sign.

Travis Shaw became the starting third baseman for the Red Sox in his second season with them.  He hit 16 HR and 71 RBI to along with a .242 batting average.  His father is Jeff Shaw, who spent 12 seasons in the big leagues as a relief pitcher and earned two all-star selections.  Travis was traded by the Red Sox to the Milwaukee Brewers over the winter.

Other Red Sox major leaguers in 2016 that had relatives in pro baseball include: Deven Marrero, whose cousin Chris Marrero also plays in the Red Sox organization; Sean O’Sullivan whose brother Ryan O’Sullivan played in the independent leagues; Robbie Ross whose father Chuck Ross pitched in the Red Sox organization in the 1970s; Joe Kelly, son-in-law of former major leaguer Derek Parks; and Pablo Sandoval whose brother Michael played in the Twins and Giants organizations during 1999 – 2010.

The Red Sox pipeline of baseball relatives includes several top minor league prospects whose relatives were former major-league players: Jake Cosart, Boston’s third-round pick in 2013, is the brother of current major leaguer Jarred Cosart and grandson of Ed Donnelly, who pitched briefly for the Chicago Cubs in 1963; Teddy Stankiewicz, a second round pick of the Red Sox in 2013, is the son of former major leaguer Andy Stankiewicz, while his brother Drew was in the Philadelphia Phillies organization last year; Yomar Valentin is the son of former major leaguer Jose Valentin and nephew of former major leaguer Javier Valentin; Tate Matheny, a fourth round pick of the Red Sox in 2015, is the son of current St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny.

The 2016 Red Sox had their share of baseball relatives in the dugout, too. Manager John Farrell is the father of three sons who have been in pro baseball.  Luke Farrell is currently a pitcher in the Kansas City Royals organization.  Jeremy Farrell is a minor-league coach in the Chicago Cubs organization, while Shane Farrell is a scout with the Cubs.  John’s father, Thomas, was also a minor-league pitcher for the Cleveland Indians in the 1950s.

Bench coach Torey Lovullo is the father of Nick Lovullo who made his pro debut in the Red Sox organization in 2016.  Torey was named the new manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks over the winter.  First base coach Ruben Amaro Jr. is the son of Ruben Amaro Sr., former major league infielder who primarily appeared with the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1960s.  Ruben Jr.’s brother, David, played one minor-league season with the Cubs in 1984.  Two of his nephews were drafted by the Phillies.  Third base coach Brian Butterfield is the son of Jack Butterfield, who was an executive and scout with the New York Yankees.  Assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez, Sr. is the father of Miguel and Victor who were both drafted by the Red Sox.  Victor Jr. is currently a scout in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.  Victor Sr.’s brother, Ahmed, played four minor-league seasons in the Cardinals organization.

In the Red Sox front office, Frank Wren is the senior vice-president of baseball operations.  His son, Kyle, played at the Triple-A level in the Milwaukee Brewers organization last year.  His son, Jordan, was drafted by the Red Sox in the 36th round, but did not sign. Carl Yastrzemski, one of the all-time Red Sox great players, is currently a player development consultant with the team.  His grandson, Mike, played outfield at the Triple-A level in the Baltimore Orioles organization last year.  Carl’s son, Mike, was also a minor-league outfielder in the mid-1980s.

Lee May Jr. is a minor-league coach in the Red Sox organization.  Like Yastrzemski, he is part of a three-generation baseball family.  His father, Lee May Sr., was a three-time all-star first baseman during 18 major-league seasons, primarily with the Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles.  Lee Jr.’s son, Jacob, is currently an outfielder in the Chicago White Sox organization playing at the Triple-A level.

 

Baseball’s Relatives Website

The entire list of 2016 active major and minor league players and non-players can be retrieved at:

https://baseballrelatives.wordpress.com/2016-family-ties/

 

 

Family Ties Flourishing in Baseball – Los Angeles Dodgers

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi

This is the second of a series of reviews that will take a look at family relationships in each of the thirty major league organizations.

Baseball has more family relationships than any other professional sport. They existed in the earliest days of the sport in the 1870s, and they are abundant in today’s game, perhaps more so than ever before.  Baseball has been called a “generational” sport for several reasons.  One of them is that multiple generations of families have been active in the game–grandfathers, fathers, sons, and brothers.  And now even some great-grandsons are starting to show up on rosters.  Uncles, nephews, cousins and in-laws are part of the extended family of baseball relatives, too.

Baseball bloodlines aren’t limited to just the players. Family trees with a baseball background have commonly included managers, coaches, scouts, owners, executives, front office personnel, umpires, and broadcasters, as well.

Dodgers history is filled with examples of players and non-players that had relatives in baseball. Some of the more noteworthy ones include:

Norm and Larry Sherry formed one of the few brother batterymates in major league baseball history.  Norm was a backup catcher for the Dodgers during 1959 – 1962.  Larry was one of the Dodgers’ primary relief pitchers during the same timeframe.  In their first game together on May 7, 1960, Norm hit his first major league home run to give the winning decision to his Larry.

Al Campanis was the general manager of the Dodgers from 1968 to 1987, after having briefly played with Brooklyn in 1943.  His son, Jim Campanis, got his major league start as a catcher with the Dodgers in 1966, but was later traded by his father to the Kansas City Royals.

Maury Wills was the speedster shortstop of the Dodgers, who made major league history by breaking Ty Cobb’s record for most stolen bases (101) in 1962.  Wills’ son, Bump, had a six-year major league career with the Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs and finished in the Top 10 in stolen bases in five seasons.

Walter O’Malley owned the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers from 1950 to 1979, during which time they won eleven National League pennants and four World Series titles.  His son, Peter O’Malley became co-owner of the Dodgers with his sister Theresa O’Malley Seidler upon Walter’s death.  Peter’s and Theresa’s sons later became part-owners of the San Diego Padres.

Fast forwarding to more recent times, here are some highlights of baseball relatives in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization during 2016.

Corey Seager is one of the hottest young players in all of baseball.  The 22-year-old shortstop turned in a National League Rookie of the Year performance in 2016, while also finishing 3rd in the MVP Award voting.  He is the second of three Seager brothers to reach the majors.  Brother Kyle is a six-year veteran with the Seattle Mariners.  The third baseman had the best season of his career in 2016, posting 30 HR, 99 RBI and hitting .278.  He was selected to the All-Star team in 2014.  Brother Justin completed his fourth year in the Mariners organization, but has yet to have a break-through season.

Joc Pederson is another big part of the Dodgers’ future, completing his second full season with 25 HR and 68 RBI.  His father, Stu, had a “cup of coffee” (eight games) with the Dodgers in 1985 among his twelve professional seasons in the Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays organizations.  Joc’s brother, Tyger, was also drafted by the Dodgers, but has spent most of his three pro seasons in the independent leagues.

Adrian Gonzalez, a career .290 hitter, has been the most consistent position player for the Dodgers in their last four seasons winning the NL West Division.  In each of his last eleven major-league seasons, he has played 156 or more games.  He is a five-time all-star selection.  His brother, Edgar, played two seasons for the San Diego Padres in 2008 and 2009, when he was a teammate of Adrian.  Altogether, Edgar put in 15 pro seasons that included time in Mexico and Japan.

Carl Crawford was once one of the bright, young stars with the Tampa Bay Rays, but his four seasons with the Dodgers have largely been a major disappointment.  Injuries have been a big factor in limiting his playing time.  With the Rays, the speedy outfielder led the American League in stolen bases for four seasons and was selected for the All-Star Game in four seasons.  His cousin, J. P. Crawford, is a shortstop who is currently the top prospect in the Philadelphia Phillies organization.  Carl’s uncle, Jack Crawford, played in the California Angels farm system during 1981-1983.

Scott Van Slyke has primarily played as a reserve outfielder in his five seasons with the Dodgers.  He had his best season in 2014 with 11 HR and 29 RBI, while posting a .910 OPS.  His father is Andy Van Slyke, who played thirteen major-league seasons, primarily with the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates.  Andy’s career includes three All-Star Game selections and five Gold Glove Awards.  Scott has two brothers who also played professionally.  Eric spent one season in the rookie league with the Kansas City Royals organization, before two seasons in the independent leagues.  Brother A. J. was an outfielder/first baseman for four seasons in the Cardinals organization.

Charlie Culberson spent parts of the 2016 season on the Dodgers’ major league roster, after playing for the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies in 2012-2014.  The infielder hit .299 in 34 Dodgers games.  He represents the third generation of his family to play pro baseball.  His grandfather, Leon, a six-year major leaguer primarily with the Boston Red Sox, was a member of the 1946 American League championship team.  His father, Charles, was drafted by the Giants 1984 and spent five seasons in the minors with the Giants and Kansas City Royals organizations.  Charlie’s great uncle, James, spent one minor-league season in the New York Giants organization.

Kenley Jansen, initially a catcher when he started out in pro baseball, was one of the top closers in the National League in 2016.  The 6’ 5”, 270-pound Curacao-born pitcher recorded a 1.83 ERA and 47 saves, while putting up a 0.670 WHIP and almost 14 strikeouts per nine innings.  Although eligible for free agency at the end of last season, Jansen re-signed with the Dodgers to keep their bullpen intact.  Kenley’s brother, Ardley, was an outfielder in the Atlanta Braves organization for seven seasons, but never made a major-league roster.

Louis Coleman was a mainstay in the Dodgers’ bullpen last year, appearing in 61 games, mostly in middle relief.  He was signed as a free agent by the Dodgers after spending five seasons on the Kansas City Royals major-league roster.  Louis is the brother-in-law of Nathan Adcock, who was a former teammate in the Royals organization.  Adcock last appeared in the majors in 2015 with the Cincinnati Reds as a relief pitcher.

Several other Dodgers players, who briefly appeared on their major-league roster during 2016, had relatives that played in the major leagues: Will Venable (son of major leaguer Max Venable), Austin Barnes (nephew of major leaguer Mike Gallego), and Brock Stewart (son of minor leaguer Jeffrey Stewart and brother of minor leaguer Luke Stewart).

The Dodgers’ pipeline of baseball relatives includes several top minor league prospects whose relatives were former major-league players: Adam Law will be seeking to become one of the few three-generation players in baseball history to all appear in the major leagues, following father Vance Law and grandfather Vern Law); Cody Bellinger is a promising slugger whose father is former major leaguer Clay Bellinger; Lenix Osuna is the son of former major leaguer Antonio Osuna and cousin of current major leaguer Roberto Osuna).

Off the field, the 2016 Dodgers had their share of baseball relatives, too.

Their broadcast booth was filled with a number of former Dodgers players who had relatives in pro baseball: Nomar Garciaparra (brother of Michael Garciaparra, currently a scout in the St. Louis Cardinals organization); Manny Mota (father of five sons who played pro baseball, including two in the majors); Orel Hershiser (father of Jordan Hershiser, a former minor leaguer, and brother of former Dodgers minor leaguer Gordie Hershiser); Fernando Valenzuela (father of Fernando Valenzuela Jr., a former minor leaguer).  Additionally, Jaime Jarrin is the long-time Spanish broadcaster for the Dodgers.  His son, Jorge, also shares the microphone as a Dodgers broadcaster, while his grandson, Stefan, played briefly as a Dodgers minor leaguer.

Bob Geren is currently the bench coach for the Dodgers.  He has two sons, Bobby and Brett, who were drafted by the Oakland A’s organization, but never signed contracts to play professionally.

Brian Stephenson is a scout in the Dodgers organization, after having pitched for seven league seasons in the Chicago Cubs and Dodgers minor league systems.  His father, Jerry, was a major league pitcher during 1963-1970, ending his career in the Dodgers organization.  His grandfather, Joe, was a major league catcher who played briefly during 1943-1947 and went on to a scouting position with the Boston Red Sox.

Nick Francona works in the Dodgers front office in player development.  Drafted in the 40th round by the Boston Red Sox in 2004, he didn’t sign to play for them, instead serving in the Marine Corps in Afghanistan.  He is the son of Terry Francona, the current manager of the Cleveland Indians and previous skipper of the Red Sox where his teams captured two World Series titles.  Nick’s grandfather, Tito, played in the majors for nine different teams from 1956 to 1970.  An outfielder/first baseman, Tito hit .363 for the Indians in 1959.

 

Baseball’s Relatives Website

The entire list of 2016 active major and minor league players and non-players can be retrieved at:

https://baseballrelatives.wordpress.com/2016-family-ties/

 

Family Ties Flourishing in Baseball: New York Yankees

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi

This is the first of a series of reviews that will take a look at family relationships in each major league organization.

Baseball has more family relationships than any other professional sport. They existed in the earliest days of the sport in the 1870s, and they are abundant in today’s game, perhaps more so than ever before.  Baseball has been called a “generational” sport for several reasons.  One of them is that multiple generations of families have been active in the game–grandfathers, fathers, sons, and brothers.  And now even some great-grandsons are starting to show up on rosters.  Uncles, nephews, cousins and in-laws are part of the extended family of baseball relatives, too.

Baseball bloodlines aren’t limited to just the players. Family trees with a baseball background have commonly included managers, coaches, scouts, owners, executives, front office personnel, umpires, and broadcasters, as well.

Indeed, families with a heritage of baseball are similar to those with military, medical, jurisprudence, and agricultural backgrounds. Their professions are often passed down from one generation to the next.  Likewise, professional baseball fathers generally want their sons to follow in their footsteps.  Brothers grow up pushing each other to excel on the diamond.  Once one brother gets drafted by a major league team, then it’s often the case his brother will try to follow.

A look back in history shows many fascinating stories about baseball families. For example:

  • the Hairston family, which included a major league father (Sam), three sons (two in the majors—John and Jerry Sr.), and five grandsons (two in the majors—Jerry Jr. and Scott), collectively had professional careers that spanned from 1945 to 2014.
  • three Alou brothers (Felipe, Matty, and Jesus) played for the San Francisco Giants in the same game in 1963. The trio had two cousins who followed them in the big leagues, and one of the trio, Felipe, also had four sons to play professionally.
  • the Boyer brood included seven brothers that played professionally, including three major leaguers (Cloyd, Ken, and Clete). They then produced three sons who played in the minors.

Numerous players of the 1960s New York Yankees teams had offspring who wound up playing professional baseball. Follow the link below to an article entitled “Sons of the 1960s Bronx Bombers Had Big Shoes to Fill.”

https://baseballrelatives.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/sons-of-the-1960s-bronx-bombers-had-big-shoes-to-fill/

Fast-forwarding to more recent times, here are some highlights of baseball relatives in the New York Yankees organization during 2016.

Brian McCann completed his third season as the Yankees catcher, after seven all-star seasons with the Atlanta Braves during 2005-2013.  He was traded to the Houston Astros during the off-season.  His brother, Brad, was a minor league first baseman in the Florida Marlins and Kansas City Royals organizations during 2004-2007.  McCann’s father, Howard, was drafted (8th round) by the Minnesota Twins in 1974, but did not sign.  He later played one season in the independent leagues.

Austin Romine got the most playing time in his five-year career with the Yankees in 2016, serving as a backup to Brian McCann.  But now that Gary Sanchez has taken over the starting catcher’s job, Romine will likely continue as a reserve.  Romine is in one of those rare families that had a father and a brother in major-league baseball.  His father, Kevin, was a major league outfielder in the Red Sox organization from 1985 to 1991, when he was also a backup player to regulars like Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, and Mike Greenwell.  His brother, Andrew, was perhaps the ultimate utility player last season for the Detroit Tigers, as he played every position except catcher.

Mason Williams is a 24-year-old outfielder who played sparingly in his second season with the Yankees.  He doesn’t hit for much power, but uses his speed well on the bases and in the outfield.  He is the grandson of Walt Williams, who played in the outfield from 1964 to 1975, primarily with the Chicago White Sox.  Nicknamed “No Neck”, he made his major-league debut as a 20-year-old with the Houston Colt .45s.  He was a career .270 hitter, and logged two seasons with the Yankees before wrapping up his career.

Dustin Ackley was starting his second year with the Yankees in 2016, but his season was cut short in late May due to injury.  The outfielder/first baseman had been a regular with the Seattle Mariners after being a first-round draft pick (second overall) in 2009.  He is the son of John Ackley, a third-round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox in 1979, who never made it out of the minors.

Aaron Hicks played his first season with the Yankees in 2016 after three seasons with the Minnesota Twins.  Hicks was primarily a starter in the outfield alongside Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner.  He batted a meager .217 with 8 HR and 31 RBI.  Hicks is the son of Joseph Hicks, who reached the Double-A level with the San Diego Padres and Kansas City Royals organizations before retiring in 1981.

Kirby Yates.  Yates was acquired by the Yankees before the 2016 season to fill a middle relief role in their bullpen.  In his third major league season, he made 41 appearances while averaging almost 11 strikeouts per nine innings.  However, he posted an ineffective 5.23 ERA and WHIP of 1.452.  Yates signed with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2017 season.  His brother, Tyler, was a major-league relief pitcher for five seasons during 2004-2009.  He had a career 12-17 record with the Braves, Mets, and Pirates.

Chasen Shreve.  He was another middle relief pitcher for the Yankees who struggled in 2016, after posting a fine season the year before, including a 6-2 record and 3.09 ERA.  He has a brother, Colby, who pitched in the Philadelphia Phillies organization from 2010 to 2013.  Both of the brothers were drafted from College of Southern Nevada.

Several other Yankee players, who briefly appeared on the major-league roster during 2016, had relatives that played in the major leagues: Eric Young Jr. (son of Eric Young Sr.), Donovan Solano (brother of Jhonatan Solano), and Ike Davis (son of Ron Davis, a former Yankee)

The Yankees’ pipeline of baseball relatives includes several top prospects whose relatives were former major-league all-stars: Dante Bichette Jr. (son of Dante Bichette Sr.), Jose Mesa Jr. (son of Jose Mesa Sr.), and Michael O’Neill (nephew of Paul O’Neill).

The Yankees had a number of personnel filling non-playing roles in the organization during 2016.

Brothers Hal and Hank Steinbrenner are the principal owners of the Yankees, having taken over for their legendary father, George Steinbrenner, following his death in 2010.

Tony Pena completed his 11th season as coach for the Yankees, having served as both a base coach and bench coach under managers Joe Torre and Joe Girardi.  Pena was manager of the Kansas City Royals during 2002-2005.  He also had an 18-year major league career that included five all-star seasons.  He has two sons that have played in the majors:  Tony Francisco Pena was a shortstop who played from 2006 to 2009 in the Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Royals organizations; and Francisco Antonio Pena is currently a catcher in the Baltimore Orioles organization.  Pena also had a brother, Ramon, who pitched briefly with the Detroit Tigers in 1989.

Brothers Lou and Rob Cucuzza have been long-time clubhouse and equipment managers at Yankee Stadium.  They previously served with their father, Lou Sr., who also had an extensive career in similar capacities with the Yankees.

Kyle Arnsberg is a coach in the Yankees’ minor league system.  He is the son of former Yankees major league player Brad Arnsberg, who is now a minor league coordinator in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.

Mark Littlefield is a trainer in the Yankees organization.  He is the brother of David Littlefield, currently an executive in the Detroit Tigers organization, and Scott Littlefield, currently a scout in the Texas Rangers organization.

Ken Singleton is currently a broadcaster for the Yankees.  He previously had a 15-year major-league playing career with the Montreal Expos and Baltimore Orioles.  His son, Justin, played for six seasons in the Toronto Blue Jays organization, reaching the Triple-A level.

 Baseball’s Relatives Website

The entire list of 2016 active major and minor league players and non-players can be retrieved at:

https://baseballrelatives.wordpress.com/2016-family-ties/

 

Teen-Ager Ken Brett’s Improbable Emergence in the 1967 World Series

Contributed by Richard Cuicchi

Twenty-year-old Los Angeles Dodger Julio Urias made history in the NLCS by becoming the youngest pitcher to start a post-season game. The Dodgers hurler, who made his major-league debut in 2015, didn’t get past the fourth inning against his Chicago Cubs opponent, but it was still nonetheless a significant event for such a young, relatively inexperienced player.

Turning the calendar back almost fifty years, another young stud pitcher had an improbable post-season appearance. Ken Brett of the Boston Red Sox made two relief appearances in the 1967 World Series, when it was only 21 days after he had turned 19-years-old.  He had made his regular season major-league debut only eleven days earlier.  Most young, aspiring baseball players are still dreaming of being successful in professional baseball, much less actually playing in baseball’s biggest showcase.

Brett was a first-round draft pick of the Boston Red Sox in 1966, shortly after his graduation from high school. He was called up by the Red Sox in September 1967 after winning 14 games and posting a 1.95 ERA in the minors.  A hard-throwing left-hander, he impressed veteran major leaguers who compared him to established fire-ballers of the day such as Sandy Koufax and Sam McDowell.  Brett made his major league debut on September 27 when he pitched two innings against the Cleveland Indians.

When Brett joined the Red Sox in 1967, they were embroiled in one of the most exciting pennant races ever. They wound up beating out Detroit and Minnesota by one game to win the American League title, but Brett hadn’t initially been expected to be on the World Series roster.  However, a spot opened up for Brett when a late-season arm injury sidelined Sparky Lyle, and Bill Landis was called up for military service.

The Red Sox faced the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, a repeat match of the two teams in 1946. With the Cardinals leading the Series 2-1, Brett saw his first action in Game Four, becoming the youngest pitcher to ever make a World Series appearance.  The Cardinals were holding a decisive 6-0 lead, when Brett entered the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, as the fifth Red Sox pitcher of the game.  He allowed only one baserunner in retiring the Cardinals with no runs.

The Red Sox evened the Series with victories in the next two games, setting up a showdown in Game Seven. However, the Cardinals took an early lead they never relinquished.  Brett got another appearance in the ninth inning when he came into the game with the bases loaded and two outs and induced a groundout to end the inning.

Brett appeared to be headed for a promising major-league career. However, two weeks after the Series, he began a six-month tour of duty in the Army, as the Vietnam War was well underway.  When he returned to baseball following his military service in 1968, he injured his elbow, perhaps trying to come back too soon after his layoff.  The injury plagued him for the rest of his career.

He never did reach his full potential, even though he played in fourteen major-league seasons. He finished his career with an 83-85 won-lost record and 3.93 ERA in 349 games.  He wound up playing for ten different major-league teams, with his best season coming in 1974 with Pittsburgh when he was selected for the National League All-Star Team.  Brett retired from baseball in 1981 at age 32.

Ken Brett was the older brother of George Brett, the Hall of Fame third baseman for the Kansas City Royals from 1973 to 1993. They had two brothers, John and Bobby, who played briefly in the minor leagues.

Here are a few more World Series trivia items regarding players’ ages. The youngest player ever to appear in a World Series was third baseman Freddie Lindstrom, who was 18 years, 10 months and 13 days, in 1924 with the New York Giants.  Andruw Jones was the Atlanta Braves’ starting centerfielder in the 1996 World Series at 19 years, 5 month, and 28 days.  He batted .400 and hit two home runs in his first Series.  Don Gullett was slightly older (19 years, 6 months, and 2 days) than Brett when he made his first of three World Series relief appearances in 1970 with the Cincinnati Reds.