Monday, June 22, 2009

Yankees Fathers and Sons [Part 1]

In yesterday's game preview, in honor of Father's Day, we mentioned that Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher are the two second generation Major Leaguers on the Yankee roster. It's Monday; you don't want to work; the team isn't playing too well right now, and we have an off night tonight. Let's kill some time by furthering yesterday's theme and looking at some past Yankees who were part of baseball families:

Shelley Duncan: Everyone's favorite high five/forearm bash enthusiast is pasting the ball at AAA Scranton and is the son of former Big League catcher and famous pitching coach Dave Duncan.

Tom Tresh: Tresh was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1962. He was a switch hitting shortstop with power, who was eventually moved to the outfield. So of course, he faced innumerable comparisons to Mickey Mantle. A back injury ruined Tresh's career and forced him to retire at 31. But before that, he had six pretty good seasons for the Yankees, played on three pennant winners and one World Series winner. Tresh was the son of former White Sox cather Mike Tresh, and passed away last October at 70.

Bill Kunkel: Kunkel pitched for the Yankees briefly in 1963. He washed out of the majors, but began a second career as an umpire, working the AL from 1968 to 1984. Kunkel retired when his son Jeff reached the Majors with the Texas Rangers. He is the last man to both play and umpire in the Major Leagues.

Dale Berra: Everyone knows Yogi, but his son Dale also played in the Majors, including a stint with the Yankees in 1985-86, during which he briefly played with his father as his manager. Dale wasn't very good in his time as a Yankee, with perhaps his most infamous moment coming in this game when he and Bobby Meacham were both thrown out at home on the same play.

Mel Stottlemyre: The former Yankee ace and longtime pitching coach had two sons, Todd and Mel Jr. pitch in the big leagues. Mel Jr lasted only briefly, but Todd had a decent and lengthy career and is now the Diamondbacks pitching coach.

Tim Raines: The former Yankee and current Newark Bears manager is the father of Tim "Little Rock" Raines Jr. After retiring in Spring Training in 2000, Tim Raines unretired for the 2001 season. He spent the bulk of the season in Montreal, where his career had begun. After the Orioles made his son a September call-up, the Expos traded Raines to the O's for the season's final week so he could join his son. They became the second father-son combination to play as teammates.

Ken Griffey: Ken Griffeys Senior and Junior were the first father-son teammate combination and the first father and son to be active in the Majors at the same time. The two hit back-to-back HRs in this game. Griffey Sr. is best remembered as Junior's father and as a member of the Big Red Machine, but he spent 4+ fairly productive years with the Yankees from 1982-86.

Bobby Bonds: If Ken Griffey didn't sire the best ballplaying son of a former Yankee then Bobby Bonds did. Bonds came from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for Bobby Murcer in a big trade for both teams. Bonds spent only the 1975 season with the Yankees, but it was a great one, as he hit .270/.375/.512 with a career high 151 OPS+. He hit 32 HRs and had 30 SB, becoming the first Yankee to go 30/30. He was traded after the season for Ed Figueroa and Mickey Rivers, two key components of the pennant winning teams of the late 70s. Bonds became a bit of a vagabond after that, moving from team to team and traded for several future Yankees: Rich Dotson, Jerry Mumphrey, and Claudell Washington. The Yankees re-signed him in 1982, but after toiling in AAA Columbus for a month, he was released, ending his career. Bonds spent the third year of his pro career playing AA ball in Waterbury, CT, close to where I live. He always liked the city, and in his retirement he ran a celebrity golf tournament there each summer until his death in 2003.

Felipe Alou: A Yankee from 1971-73, Alou's brothers Jesus and Matty were also Big Leaguers, with Matty joining him on the 1973 team. In addition to his son Moises reaching the Bigs, Felipe was also the cousin of Jose Sosa and uncle of Mel Rojas. That's a Big League family right there.

Aaron Boone: Boone did one huge and historic thing in his time in pinstripes and was absolute horseshit for the rest of it. Perhaps more than the Alous, the Boones are a baseball family. Boone's brother Brett, father Bob, and grandfather Ray all had long Major League careers. The Boones and the Bells are the only three generation MLB families to date.

Sandy Alomar: Sandy Senior was with the Yankees in 1975 and 76 and was the on-deck batter when Chris Chambliss hit the homerun that won the 1976 AL Pennant. Given that Alomar Sr. was .245/.290/.288 career hitter, we should all be glad that Chambliss hit that HR. His sons had far better careers and Roberto will likely reach the Hall of Fame.

We'll be back with some more later on.

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