For Love of the Game: Love in the Family
|09.21.09 at 1:08 pm ET|
There is nothing quite like the bond a father has with his children, especially when it comes to baseball.
In the midst of a week that contained bickering and whining from a Los Angeles Angels squad over a called ball four, a threat stemming from the potty-mouth of Serena Williams after a questionable foot foul, and an exchange of profanities between tennis star Roger Federer and the chair umpire in the U.S. Open final, a Philadelphia Phillies season ticket-holder named Steve Monforto, who hails from Mt. Laurel, N.J., showed the sports world that in the end, it’s just a game and the love is what counts.
On Tuesday night, Monforto, 32, caught his first foul ball ever when the Phillies took on the Washington Nationals at home. Filled with excitement and euphoria, Monforto high-fived and kindly handed over the ball hit by outfielder Jayson Werth to his 3-year-old daughter, Emily, while he traded fist bumps and received congratulations from the fans around him.
Almost instantly — to the apparent shock of Monforto — Emily tossed the ball off the rail into the stands below. But in that moment, all Monforto could do was affectionately lock his daughter in a warm and heartening embrace in a stirring moment that took everyone’s mind off the game.
In baseball, there have been numerous father-son duos who have been lucky to live the American dream together. Former MLB players have been fortunate to watch as their sons have carried the family tradition living in their father’s footsteps.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona grew up watching his dad Tito play first base and the outfield for several teams, including the Phillies, whom he would one day manage. In 15 seasons, Tito compiled a career .272 average while his son went on to win two World Series as manager with the Sox.
Former Chicago Cub and New York Met outfielder Moises Alou received the rare opportunity to play for his father Felipe during his time with the Montreal Expos and the San Francisco Giants.
Sandy Alomar was able to witness two of his sons go on to exhibit highly successful big-league careers. Sandy, a switch-hitter, raised his sons Roberto (who is considered one of the best second baseman in history) and Sandy Jr. (an All-Star catcher) while still managing in the big leagues following a 15-year playing career.
In present day, St. Louis pitching coach Dave Duncan was able to coach his son Chris while on the Cardinals and scan the New York box score to see how his other son Shelley was doing with the Yankees. (Chris, of course, was acquired by the Red Sox in exchange for Julio Lugo … and then subsequently released after a short stint with the PawSox.)
Dave LaRoche, famous for his “La Lob” pitch, had no trouble finding a seat at PNC Park to watch his sons Adam at first and Andy at third donning Pirates jerseys. Adam eventually spent a short stint with the Red Sox before being dealt to the Atlanta Braves.
Bob Boone could not have been more proud when his son Aaron hit the game-winning home run off knuckleballer Tim Wakefield in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS to launch the Yankees into the World Series. Bret, a former Seattle Mariner, got to call his brother’s monster hit from the Fox broadcast booth. The Boones represent the first three-generation family to all make it to the All-Star Game, after Grandpa Ray first was selected in 1954 while with the Tigers.
Although there are many more famous father-son combos to enter the league — such as Gary Matthews and Gary Jr., Gus, Buddy and Dave Bell, and Yogi and Dale Berra — here are three of the most successful duos to take the field:
Bobby Bonds and Barry Bonds
Though Barry owns the title of “Home Run King” after launching 73 long balls into the stands in 2001 and ending his career (at least temporarily) with a record 762, Bobby turned in a successful career, becoming the first player ever with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in five seasons. Barry would ultimately match his father’s mark. Both Bonds men played a large portion of their careers with the San Francisco Giants. Together, the two of them have combined to hit a total of 1,094 home runs, steal 975 bases, and drive in 3,020 runs.
While Bobby received three All-Star selections and three Gold Glove awards in right field, Barry managed to win seven Most Valuable Player awards while being named an All-Star 14 times and winning eight Gold Gloves.
Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr.
The first father-son tandem to play on the same team — with the Mariners in 1990 — the Griffeys each enjoyed several memorable seasons playing with the Cincinnati Reds and Seattle. Though his son has yet to win a championship ring, Griffey Sr. won two World Series, in 1975 and 1976 while on the Reds. After finishing his career with a .286 average and 206 home runs, Griffey Sr. watched his son surpass his numbers despite suffering through numerous injury-plagued seasons. Griffey Jr., currently in his second stint with the Mariners, earned an MVP Award in 1997. Only the sixth player in history to reach the 600 homer plateau, Griffey Jr. took career marks of a .285 batting average with 627 home runs and 1,822 RBI into Tuesday’s action.
Cecil and Prince Fielder
Who would have ever guessed that Prince was a vegetarian? Cecil and Prince are the only father-son duo to both hit at least 50 home runs in a single season. Like the other two combos above, Cecil has not had quite the success his son has enjoyed during his time in the majors. Finishing his career posting a .255 average with 306 home runs, Cecil attempted to have an influence when negotiating Prince’s contract with the Brewers, demanding that he receive some of the earnings since he helped Prince make it to MLB. Hostility between the two followed, and the Fielders have not been on speaking terms the past few years.
Prince holds a .283 average since 2005 and has launched 154 home runs in that span. He added an All-Star Game Home Run Derby title to his resume in 2009.
- Mike on Reports: Robinson Cano agrees to 10-year, $240M deal with Mariners
- depo on Reports: Robinson Cano agrees to 10-year, $240M deal with Mariners
- Jeter_Cheats on Reports: Robinson Cano agrees to 10-year, $240M deal with Mariners
- Chris on Reports: Robinson Cano agrees to 10-year, $240M deal with Mariners
- Herb on Reports: Robinson Cano agrees to 10-year, $240M deal with Mariners
- the truth on Reports: Robinson Cano agrees to 10-year, $240M deal with Mariners
- shutiggyupdotcom on Reports: Robinson Cano agrees to 10-year, $240M deal with Mariners
- Otis on Reports: Robinson Cano agrees to 10-year, $240M deal with Mariners
- Sicko on Reports: Robinson Cano agrees to 10-year, $240M deal with Mariners
- BillyB on Reports: Robinson Cano agrees to 10-year, $240M deal with Mariners