Reviewing the results of MLB’s 2019 amateur draft, we find a number of family links to the grand old game. There are sons of former major-league players such as Bobby Witt Jr., Logan Davidson (son of Mark), Grant McCray (remember his Dad Rodney crashing through an outfield wall?), Tyler Fitzgerald (son of Mike), Glenallen Hill Jr., Christian Cairo (son of Miguel) and Brock Bell (son of Jay). There is also Grae Kessinger (son of Keith and grandson of Don), Dominic Fletcher (brother of David) and C.J.Stubbs (brother of Garrett). If we cast a slightly wider sports net, you’ll find Todd Lott (cousin of Ronnie) and Patrick McColl (son of 49’ers linebacker Milt and grandson of the Bears Bill).
The reasons for teams selecting these players are certainly varied. A few years ago, Mark Kram Jr. pointed out in a Sports Illustrated piece that having a gene pool heritage including major league talent is a factor, but it also helps that the youngster probably had a higher level of instruction and grew up within the proximity of pro sports. The history of the game has a few players who eclipsed the accomplishments of the Father such as Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., Roberto Alomar & Prince Fielder. Many other times, however, the Son ended up as an afterthought like Pete Rose Jr., Dale Berra, Tony Gwynn Jr., Kyle Drabek, Eduardo Perez & Bump Wills.
For today’s visit, we’ll look at some obscure facts surrounding this phenomenon. First, a list of some current major leaguers who are sons of former ballplayers, but not the obvious names like Guerrero, Biggio, Tatis and Mondesi or even Dee & Tom Gordon. These will be connections even a trivia expert might find challenging.
> Cody Bellinger, Dodgers OF – Clay Bellinger had 311 AB’s from 1999-2002 with a lifetime BA of .193.
> Michael Brantley, Astros OF – Mickey Brantley played with the Mariners from 1986-89 and hit .259 with 32 lifetime HR’s.
> Robinson Cano, Mets 2B – Jose Cano was a Pitcher who appeared in 6 games with the Astros in 1989…he had a record of 1-1.
> C.J. Cron, Twins DH & Kevin Cron, D’Backs 1B – Chris Cron had 25 major league AB’s for the White Sox in 1991 & ’92…he accumulated 2 Hits for a lifetime BA of .080.
> Jose Martinez, Cardinals OF – Carlos Martinez was an AL infielder from 1988-95 and hit 25 HR’s in 1,485 AB’s. The son had 31 HR’s in his first two seasons.
> Joc Pederson, Dodgers OF – Stu Pederson was also a Dodger…in 1985, he went 0-for-4 in 8 games and never played in the big leagues again.
> Cal Quantrill, Padres P – Paul Quantrill was also a Pitcher and in a 14-year career had 68 Wins & 64 Saves.
> Dwight Smith Jr., Orioles OF – Dwight Sr. hit .275 in eight big league seasons and was second in the NL ROY voting in 1989.
> Neil Walker, Marlins 1B – Tom Walker was a big-league Pitcher from 1972-77 with a lifetime record of 18-23.
Not to leave the Baby Boomers out, here are a few familiar names from the 1950’s & 60’s…the question is, did you know about their Fathers?
> Tom Tresh, Yankees IF (1961-69) – Mike Tresh was a Catcher for the White Sox in the 1930’s & 40’s and hit .249 with only 2 HR’s in over 3,000 AB’s.
> Ray Narleski, Indians P (1954-59) – Bill Narleski was a Red Sox IF in 1929 & 1930…he hit .265 in 358 AB’s with zero HR’s.
> Don Mueller, Giants OF (1948-59) – Walter Mueller played OF for the Pirates in the mid-1920’s…he hit .275 with 2 HR’s in 345 AB’s.
> Doug Camilli, Dodgers C (1960-67) – Dolph Camilli had a very productive career as a 1B with the Phillies & Dodgers in 1930 & 40’s…won the NL MVP in 1941.
> Fritz Brickell, Yankees IF (1958-61) – Fred Brickell was an OF for the Pirates & Phillies in the 1920’s & 30’s…hit .281 over eight seasons. They are not related to Edie Brickell and therefore, not connected to Paul Simon.
> Earl Averill, Angels C (1956-63) – The Dad, also named Earl, was an outstanding CF for the Indians in the 1930’s…led the AL in Hits & Triples in 1936. His nickname was “The Earl of Snohomish”.
In a future visit, we’ll look at the baseball lineage of players you remember from the 70’s & 80’s.