A tribute to father-son pairings in baseball - East Valley Tribune: Sports

A tribute to father-son pairings in baseball

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Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2008 7:50 pm | Updated: 11:04 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

At one time or another, most American boys will play a game of catch with their fathers. It's something we remember on Father's Day: or, if we're really lucky, we get to do it.

Some of the luckiest get to do it at major-league ballparks, where they're earning a living.

On this Father's Day, we rank the best father-son combinations in baseball history.

Our list:

1. Ken Griffey-Ken Griffey Sr.: The elder was a regular for one of the greatest teams in history, Cincinnati's Big Red Machine; the younger is sixth all-time in home runs and a future Hall of Famer. They played together in Seattle and once hit home runs in the same game.

2. Bobby Bonds-Barry Bonds: Both combined power and speed, with 1,098 home runs and 975 stolen bases between them. Neither won a World Series ring, and Barry Bonds' career apparently has ended with him facing federal charges for perjury involving his use of steroids.

3. The Bells: Gus Bell made his debut with Pittsburgh in 1950, and grandson David Bell was playing as recently as 2006. In that span of 57 seasons, Gus, his son Buddy and Buddy's sons David and Mike were in uniform as players for 45 different years. Buddy, now the White Sox's farm director, also managed in Detroit, Colorado and Kansas City.

4. The Boones: Ray Boone was a big-league infielder for six teams over 13 seasons, including the White Sox (1958-59). Son Bob retired having caught more games than any other catcher. Grandsons Bret and Aaron both had good big-league careers, with Aaron still active as a member of the Washington Nationals.

5. Tony Perez-Eduardo Perez: Between them, the Perezes played 37 big-league seasons. Five of Tony's 23 ended with trips to the World Series, which is why he wound up being voted into the Hall of Fame.

6. Yogi Berra-Dale Berra: A Hall of Fame catcher, Yogi went to the World Series in 14 of his 17 years with the Yankees, a record no other player can match. He capped his career by managing the Mets to the 1973 Series. Dale never filled his father's footsteps but collected 603 hits while playing parts of 11 seasons in the big leagues.

7. Cecil Fielder-Prince Fielder: Definitely the biggest father-son combination, the Fielders are notable because of their power hitting. Cecil was an MVP runner-up twice and Prince finished third a year ago.

8. Felipe Alou-Moises Alou: Both were longtime regulars in the outfield. Felipe, the brother of Matty and Jesus, also managed teams in Montreal and San Francisco to 1,033 victories.

9. The Alomars: Sandy Alomar was a switch-hitting infielder who spent 15 seasons in the big leagues and still coaches. His sons Roberto and Sandy Jr. have had better playing careers, with Robbie on the short list of the best second basemen ever and Sandy a highly respected catcher who seems likely to have a second career as a manager or executive.

10. Maury Wills-Bump Wills: Maury revolutionized the leadoff position, stealing 104 bases for the Dodgers in 1962. He went on to manage. Bump had great potential as a second baseman but lasted only six seasons, including 1982 with the Cubs.

11. Hal McRae-Brian McRae: Another combination of outfielders with solid careers, Hal was a career .290 hitter over 19 seasons. He managed his son in Kansas City, and Brian later played for the Cubs (1995-97).

12. The Stottlemyres: Mel won 164 games during 11 seasons with the Yankees and had a successful run as Joe Torre's pitching coach during the Yankees' recent renaissance. His sons Todd and Mel Jr. both pitched in the big leagues, with Todd winning 138 games and pitching for Toronto's back-to-back World Series champions in 1992-93.

13. The Duncans: Dave had a solid career as a catcher and then emerged as one of baseball's best pitching coaches, working for Tony La Russa in Chicago, Oakland and St. Louis. Chris Duncan was a starting outfielder for St. Louis in the 2006 World Series. Shelly Duncan has played for the Yankees the last two seasons.

14. Pete Rose-Pete Rose. Jr.: They have a combined 4,258 hits, albeit 4,256 of those coming from the elder Rose. Pete Jr. had a long minor-league career but only got to the big leagues for 11 games with Cincinnati in 1997.

15. Tito Francona-Terry Francona: The left-handed-hitting Tito Francona bounced around the big leagues for 15 seasons. He spent 1958 with the White Sox and hit .363 with the '59 Indians. Terry was a top prospect hampered by knee injuries. He played for the Cubs in '86, managed Michael Jordan at Double-A Birmingham in 1994 and has emerged as one of the best of the modern managers, winning two World Series in Boston.

16. Eddie Collins-Eddie Collins Jr.: The Hall of Fame second baseman is one of the best players ever based in Chicago. His son played 132 games for the Philadelphia A's, mostly in the outfield.

Eight others with Chicago connections:

1. Gary Matthews-Gary Matthews Jr.: Sarge played 16 years as an outfielder and was beloved as a member of the 1984 Cubs. Gary Jr. played for several teams early in his career, including the Cubs, and was given a five-year contract by the Los Angeles Angels when he reached free agency after a big 2006 season in Texas.

2. Randy Hundley-Todd Hundley: One of the best father-son catching combinations in history. The elder Hundley spent eight years as the Cubs' catcher, including a vital role on the 1969 team. Todd signed a free-agent contract to play in Chicago after the death of his mother but proved to be past his prime.

3. The Hairstons: Sam Hairston, the first black signed to play for the White Sox, got into only four games in 1951 but his legacy continued with his son, Jerry Hairston, and grandsons Jerry Hairston Jr. and Scott Hairston, all of whom have been big leaguers. Jerry Sr. spent most of his career with the Sox. Jerry Jr. passed through the Cubs, being acquired from Baltimore for Sammy Sosa.

4. Mike Tresh-Tom Tresh: A catcher, Mike played 11 of his 12 seasons for the White Sox, earning a trip to the All-Star Game in 1945. Tom, a shortstop at the start of his career and an outfielder at the end, played alongside Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in New York.

5. Bob Kennedy-Terry Kennedy: Bob started his career as a third baseman with the 1939 White Sox and spent five seasons as the Cubs' manager and general manager. Terry had a nice career as a catcher and managed the Cubs' Triple-A team.

6. Ed Spiezio-Scott Spiezio: Born in Joliet, Ed Spiezio was a third baseman who raised his family in Morris. Scott starred in the World Series for Anaheim and St. Louis before substance-abuse issues knocked him out of the big leagues.

7. Tim Raines-Tim Raines Jr.: One of the most dangerous base stealers in history, Raines, known as "Rock," made the postseason with five teams, including the 1993 White Sox. Tim Jr. spent parts of three seasons with Baltimore but hasn't been in the big leagues since 2004.

8. Steve Swisher-Nick Swisher: Steve was a first-round pick of the White Sox and was traded to the Cubs in the deal that sent Ron Santo across town. Nick plays outfield and first base for the White Sox.

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