By the time I was ten, playing baseball got to be like eating vegetables or taking out the garbage. So when I was 14, I started to refuse. Could you believe that? An American boy refusing to play catch with his father? -Field of Dreams
Like my main man, the late great Harmon Killebrew always says, “My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, You’re tearing up the grass. We’re not raising grass, Dad would reply. We’re raising boys.” Last night, Will Venable hit his first career leadoff home run. Hooray Will Venable! His father, Max, hit two leadoff home runs in his major-league career (1990 and 1991). Hooray Max Venable! Just so you know, the only other father/son combination featuring an active player in which each player hit a leadoff homer is the Brantleys. Mickey hit one for the Mariners in 1987; Michael had one last season. Now, with this being so close to Father’s Day and all, I thought I’d give a shout-out to some of the Baseball father’s in the house:
Where the boys are, where the boys are. Where the boys are, someone waits for me. The boys are over at the ballfield. That’s where the boys are. More than one hundred father-and-son combinations have made it to the big leagues. But there were planes to catch and bills to pay, so he learned to walk while I was away. And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew he’d say, “I’m gonna be like you dad. You know I’m gonna be like you.” Here’s to all the fathers who had sons who grew up like you dad, you know they grew up like you.
Here’s to Sandy Alomar. Sandy was Nolan Ryan’s second baseman in the first of his seven no-hitters. Sandy is the father of both Sandy Jr. and Bobby Alomar. Pretty good, right? Wait. It gets better. Follow me now. Sandy Alomar turned a double play on a Felipe Alou ground ball for the final outs of Clyde Wright’s no-hitter back in 1970. So what, you say? Who cares, you say? I say, like Alomar, Wright and Alou also had sons who would play in the Major Leagues. How about that? How about this? The sons, Jaret Wright, Moises Alou and Sandy Alomar Jr., all participated in the 1997 World Series. Now ain’t that somethin’.
Here’s to a catcher. Here’s to Bob Boone. Four time All-Star Bob Boone. The best defensive catcher I ever seen. The best there’s ever been. A regular catching machine. In 1977, this cat committed only eight errors. In 1977, this cat only allowed three passed balls. Yowza! Bob is the father of Aaron and Brett Boone. Bob’s father, Ray, also played in the Show. He also never had to handle his own luggage. He also got to hit white balls for batting practice. He also got to play where ballparks are like cathedrals, the hotels all have room service, and the women all have long legs and brains. Happy grandfather’s day Ray!
Here’s to Joe Niekro. King of the knuckleball. Guard your grill, knuckle up. I ain’t the type to give up. I smoke first, so what’s up? Guard your grill, knuckle up. Knuckling up to twenty-one wins in 1979. Knuckling up to a ten inning, shutout masterpiece in Game Three of the NLCS for the Houston Astros. Houston Astros…Houston Astros…Houston Astros, number one! I know, but still. Joe is the father of first baseman Lance Niekro.
Here’s to Diego Segui. I remember Diego as a Red Sox. I remember his baseball card vividly. I remember putting his baseball card in my bike spokes. I remember when he pitched for Seattle in his final season. I remember they called him the Ancient Mariner. Water, water, everywhere, and all the boards did shrink. Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink. Diego is the father of David Segui.
Here’s to Maurice Morning Wills. Maury. What’s the story morning glory? Well, you need a little time to wake up. Wake up. Maury woke up. Woke up and stole his way into the record books. Before there was Rickey, Maury Wills was the greatest of all time. He led the National League in stolen bases for six consecutive seasons. In 1962, he stole 104 bases to establish a new record in baseball. That year, not only was Maury the leading base stealer, he outstole every other other team and was named NL MVP. Yowza! But more importantly, Maury is the father of the inimitable Bump Wills.
Here’s to Jeff Burroughs. Power hitter. The epitome of the power hitter. Tower of a power hitter. Power to the people. Power to the people, right on! Right on Jeff. One of only four Major League Baseball number-one draft picks to win the MVP Award. Jeff is the father of Little League World Series champ and big league ball player, Sean Burroughs.
Here’s to Pedro Borbon. Relief pitcher. Fireman. We didn’t start the fire. It was always burning since the world’s been turning. We didn’t start the fire. No we didn’t light it, but we tried to fight it. Pedro Borbon fought the fire back in 1976. Fought the fire for the Cincinnati Reds. Fought the fire pitching 4 and 1/3 scoreless innings during the National League Championship Series back in 1976. Pedro is the father of Pedro Borbon Jr.
Here’s to Tony Armas. Another cat I remember from his Red Sox days. Hitting home runs in his Red Sox days. A slew of home runs. A gaggle of home runs. A plethora of home runs. From 1980 to 1985, Armas hit more bombs than any other player in the American League. Sexbomb sexbomb, you’re my sexbomb. And baby, you can turn me on. Baby, you can turn me on. Tony Armas is the father of Tony Armas Jr.
Here’s to Don Buford. Handy Dandy Don Buford played for the Chicago White Sox. Handy Dandy Don Buford played for the Baltimore Orioles. Handy Dandy, he’s got a stick in his hand and a pocket full of money. Handy Dandy got 99 problems and scoring runs ain’t one. In each of the Orioles’ three pennant-winning seasons, Buford scored 99 runs. He led the American League in runs in 1971. Don is the father of Damon Buford.
Here’s to Jose Tartabull. Fast. Fast like lightning. Now you can’t catch me, baby you can’t catch me. ‘Cause if you get too close, you know I’m gone like a cool breeze. You couldn’t catch Jose Tartabull. One of the fastest men in the American League. He got down the line from home to first in 3.4 seconds. 3.4 seconds, that’s fast. Jose is the father Danny Tartabull.
Here’s to Paul Trout. You know him as Dizzy Trout. You make me dizzy Miss Lizzy, the way you rock’n'roll. You make me dizzy Miss Lizzy, when you do the stroll. Dizzy Trout rock ‘n’ rolled. Rock’n'rolled with the Detroit Tigers. Rock’n'rolled way back in 1943 as he led the league with twenty wins. Rock’n'rolled way back in 1944 as he won twenty-seven games and posted the lowest ERA in the Show. In 1945, Dizzy won eighteen games and led the Tigers to win the World Series. In 1957 he saw the birth of his son, pitcher Steve Trout.
So many father & sons, so little time. Here are some more:
- Tony Gwynn & Tony Gwynn Jr
- Tony Pena & Tony Pena Jr.
- The Sarge, Gary Matthews & Gary Matthews Jr.
- Ken Griffey & Ken Griffey Jr.
- Cecil Fielder & Prince Fielder
- Floyd Bannister & Brian Bannister
- Jesse Barfield & Josh Barfield
- Gus Bell & Buddy Bell
- Buddy Bell & his two sons Mike and David
- Yogi Berra & Dale Berra
- Bobby Bonds & Barry Bonds
- Jose Cano & Robinson Cano
- Jose Cruz & Jose Cruz Jr.
- Dave Duncan & his two sons Shelly and Chris
- Tito Francona & Terry Francona
- Tom Grieve & Ben Grieve
- John Mayberry & Jiohn Mayberry Jr.
- Sammy Hairston & his two sons Johnny and Jerry
- Jerry Hairston & his two sons Jerry Jr. and Scott
- Fred Kendall & Jason Kendall
- Dave LaRoche & his two sons Andy and Adam
- Hal McRae & Brian McRae
- Julio Navarro & Jamie Navarro
- Bob Oliver & Darren Oliver
- Tony Perez & Eduardo Perez
- Rock Raines & Tim Raines Jr.
- Steve Swisher & Nick Swisher
- Gary Ward & Daryle Ward
- Dennis Werth & Jason Werth
Peace out homies. Six Two and Even!