Jonathan Schoop has established himself in the big leagues with a solid season in 2016. The second baseman has been a key cog in the Baltimore Orioles’ fight for the AL East Division lead.
Jonathan and his brother Sharlon grew up in Curacao and dreamed of playing together in the big leagues. They came real close earlier this season when Sharlon, playing for the O’s Triple-A affiliate Norfolk, was on the cusp of being promoted to the big-league Orioles. Sharlon yet to play in the majors.
Read more about the Schoop brothers at the link below from the Baltimore Sun:
Peyton Glavine, son of Baseball Hall of Famer Tom Glavine, has verbally committed to Auburn University as part of their 2017 recruiting class.
He completed his junior season of high school baseball in Alpharetta, Georgia, with a 6-0 record and 0.80 ERA. He has been attracting attention from college scouts this summer by playing an extensive travel ball schedule.
A left-handed pitcher like his father, he currently throws his fastball in the mid-80s range.
To read more about Peyton Glavine, follow the link below from the Montgomery Advisor:
Ryan Ripken has one of the most famous last names in baseball, but he realizes he must make his own way in the sport. The son of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr., Ripken is currently playing for the Class A Auburn Doubledays in his third season in pro ball.
However, his short career has been marred by injury and he’s still trying to establish himself. Growing up, he never thought of his dad as a superstar, but now recognizes the impact his dad had on the sport. Despite that, the younger Ripken understands he has to put in the hard work, to learn how to deal with the mental and physical stress of baseball’s grinding season.
Follow the link below from syracuse.com to read more about Ryan Ripken:
Benito Santiago Jr. is currently playing baseball at the University of Tennessee, after passing on the opportunity to play pro baseball in 2014 when he was selected in the MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants in the 38th round.
His father, Benito, was a major-league player from 1986 to 2005, appearing with nine teams, but primarily with the San Diego Padres. Santiago Sr. was National League Rookie of the Year in 1986 and was a five-time All-Star.
When he was seven years old, Benito Jr. served as batboy for one of his father’s team, the Giants, so he got a good chance to experience professional baseball at a very early age. He plays catcher like his father, who was a Gold Glove winner at the position for three seasons.
For more information about Benito Santiago Jr., see the link below from The Barnstable Patriot:
Blaise Maris will be playing baseball for South Florida State College next year, after playing with High Point University in North Carolina.
Maris is the grandson of Roger Maris, iconic New York Yankee player from 1960 to 1966, who is most noted for breaking Babe Ruth’s single season record of 60 home runs in 1961. Altogether, the elder Maris played twelve major-league seasons, also playing for Cleveland, Kansas City, and St. Louis. He was American League MVP in 1960 and 1961.
Blaise never met his grandfather, but has read the stories and seen video clips of his slugging performances. He is certainly aware of his grandfather’s place in baseball history.
Blaise’s uncle, Kevin Maris, had brief minor league appearance in 1982 in the Cardinals organization.
Read more about the Maris family in the article below from Highlands Today:
Satchel McElroy, named after famous Negro League player Satchel Paige, is currently playing in the rookie Pioneer League for the Cincinnati Reds organization.
With a name like Satchel, he would have to be named after Hall of Famer Paige, and indeed he was, since McElroy’s grandfather, Sylvester Cooper, once caught Paige in the Negro Leagues.
McElroy is the son of Chuck McElroy, a former major-league relief pitcher from 1989-2001, primarily playing for the Cubs, Reds, and Rockies.
His older brother, C.J., is an outfielder in the St. Louis Cardinals organization, playing with Double-A Springfield.
His uncle, Cecil Cooper, was a former first-baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers and Boston Red Sox during 1971-1987.
Being able to grow up in a baseball family allowed him to hang out with major league players from whom he gathered valuable information about hitting and fielding.
For more information about Satchel McElroy, follow the link below from the Billings Gazette:
Contributed by Richard Cuicchi, 08/01/2016
Marcus and Matt Lawton grew up in a baseball family and then went on to professional careers in the sport. The brothers from Gulfport, Mississippi, shared their experiences at a luncheon last Friday at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi. The luncheon is part of a series entitled “Our Love Affair with Baseball,” which features weekly speakers with Mississippi ties in baseball. The museum currently has exhibits containing artifacts and memorabilia from teams and players from the Mississippi Gulf Coast region.
Barry Lyons, a Biloxi native and former major league player, was the host for the luncheon. As guest curator for the museum’s baseball exhibit, he provided the introductions of the Lawton brothers. Lyons recalled a 1995 big league game near the end of his career in which he played against Matt, then a rookie, and threw him out attempting to steal second base.
Older brother Marcus was signed out of high school by the New York Mets after being selected in the sixth round of the 1983 Major League Draft. The outfielder played in the Mets organization until 1989 when he was traded to the New York Yankees. At 23-years-old, he appeared in ten games with the Yankees before being released. He played three more seasons in the White Sox, Angels, and Royals organizations before retiring from baseball.
Matt had a more substantial major league career than his brother, as he played twelve seasons in the big leagues, primarily with the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians. After playing at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, he was drafted by the Twins organization in the 13th round in 1991. He became an American League all-star in 2000 and 2004.
In their luncheon presentations, the brothers talked extensively about growing up in a family where baseball was often the center of attention. Along with a third brother, they provided their own competition playing in backyard games. Their recalled attending games played by their father, who was a catcher on local Gulf Coast teams. As youngsters, they were coached by Leon Farmer, a teammate of their father’s. Both Marcus and Matt attributed their love for the game to those childhood experiences and family influences.
Marcus offered advice to several segments of the audience. To the youngsters, he related that “you have to love the game” if you want to play at the highest levels. He noted that the baseball season is a grind and one has to be ready to play every day, and that takes an unwavering commitment to the game. His counsel to parents was to allow the kids to decide if they really want to play the sport–that youngsters shouldn’t be pushed into playing and living out their father’s dream. He admonished high school coaches who tend to discourage today’s youngsters from playing multiple sports.
Marcus also commented about his own career that he literally “saw the world” without having to be in the military. He said his baseball travels took him to 47 of the 50 states, as well as to Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela. He said the two biggest highlights of his pro career included his first game at Yankee Stadium, where he was in awe that legendary players such as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig had graced the diamond; and one of his minor league seasons in which he stole 111 bases, getting thrown out attempting to steal only a handful of times.
Matt gave credit to his college coach, Cooper Farris, for teaching him the finer aspects of the game. Having an older brother in pro baseball, Matt felt like his own introduction into the pro ranks was made easier, because he knew what to expect from various facets of the game, both on and off the field. He related stories about being a Twins teammate of Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett. He said Puckett would often take him on shopping sprees. Matt recalled that Puckett routinely carried large amounts of cash with him in a travel bag, and would often put Matt in charge of taking care of it, which he said made him extremely nervous.
A two-time all-star outfielder, Matt remarked that he reached a point in his playing career when “the game really slowed down” for him, generally meaning it became easier to compete. But then he suffered a shoulder injury that plagued him the rest of his career, which ended at age 34.
As evidenced by the luncheon’s large audience and the media presence, the Lawton brothers continue to be popular sports figures on the Gulf Coast, where they still maintain close ties to their family roots.
Contributed by Richard Cuicchi, 07/24/2016
In his Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech, Ken Griffey Jr. mentioned his father’s Cincinnati Reds teams of the 1970s, known as the “The Big Red Machine.” as some of the best in baseball history. Griffey acknowledged his father’s role in his development as a player and as a person. It’s likely some of Junior’s fondest memories are hanging out in a major league clubhouse with his father.
In a related story about the prevalence of children of Reds players from those teams who went on to play professional baseball, following is a chapter excerpted from my book “Family Ties: A Comprehensive Collection of Facts and Trivia About Baseball’s Relatives” published in 2012.
Sons of the “Big Red Machine”
The Cincinnati Reds teams of the early-to-mid-1970s are noted as one of the more famous teams in baseball history. The “Big Red Machine,” led by Sparky Anderson, was comprised of some of the game’s best individual players of that era: Rose, Bench, Morgan, Foster, Perez, Griffey, and Concepcion. They went to the World Series in 1970, 1972, 1975, and 1976, winning back-to-back world championships in 1975 and 1976.
Little did anyone know that these teams would produce a bevy of future professional baseball players. Sixteen players (fathers) on those teams had sons who would later play professional baseball at some level. Five of the sons were first-round draft picks by major league clubs: Brian McRae (1985), Lee May, Jr. (1988), Ken Griffey, Jr. (1987), Ed Sprague (1988), and Eduardo Perez (1991).
The sons were sometimes referred to as “Little Red Machine.” Tony Perez once commented, “They were wild. You had to keep after them. But they were good kids.” In any case, they learned the winning feeling hanging around the clubhouse of their famous fathers. This situation is a prime illustration of the sons of major leaguers excelling because of the environment in which they were raised.
Marty Brennaman (himself the progenitor of a baseball broadcasting family) was the Reds broadcaster during those years and some of his most endearing memories revolve around the players’ kids, who would congregate around the Reds’ clubhouse. They added to the excitement the Reds team was generating. “Little Pete was about as obnoxious a kid as you’d find,” Brennaman said. “But he grew up to be as fine a young man as I’ve ever known. They were all like that: loud and running around like water bugs. They were so brash it was incredible. But you’ve got to remember, they were all small then, not at an age where you would call them responsible. Riverfront Stadium was like their second home. That made it special. It was like a family in that clubhouse.”
Twenty-plus years later, several of these sons of the Big Red Machine made history in a spring training game. On March 27, 1997, in a game between Cincinnati and Texas, the Reds’ lineup included Pete Rose, Jr., who batted leadoff and played third base; Dave Concepcion, Jr., playing shortstop and batting second; and Eduardo Perez, son of Tony Perez, playing first base. In that same game, there were additional “family ties.” Aaron Boone, younger brother of Reds regular second baseman Bret, played second base; and Stephen Larkin, younger brother of Reds regular shortstop Barry, played in the DH position.
Below is a list of the father-son combinations from the “Big Red Machine” era.
|Father||Reds Years||Son||Son’s Playing Career|
|Pedro Borbon, Sr.||1970–1979||Pedro Borbon, Jr.||Major league (1992–2003)|
|Tony Cloninger||1968–1971||Darrin Cloninger
|Minor league (1983–1985)
Minor league (1983–1985)
|Dave Concepcion||1970–1988||Dave Concepcion, Jr.||Minor league (1995–1996)|
|Ed Crosby||1973–1973||Bobby Crosby||Major league (2003–2010)|
|Terry Crowley||1974–1975||Terry Crowley
|Minor league (1986–1992)
Minor league (1991–1995)
|Cesar Geronimo||1972–1980||Cesar Geronimo, Jr.||Minor league (1995–1998)|
|Ken Griffey, Sr.||1973–1981||Ken Griffey, Jr.
|Major league (1989–2010)
Minor league (1991–1997)
|Tommy Helms||1964–1971||Ryan Helms
Wes Helms (nephew)
|Minor league (1994–1995)
Minor league (1990–1992)
Major league (1998–2010)
|Julian Javier||1972–1972||Stan Javier||Major league (1984–2001)|
|Andy Kosco||1973–1974||Andrew Kosco
|Minor league (1986–1990)
Minor league (1988–1996)
|Lee May||1965–1971||Lee May, Jr.||New York Mets first round draft pick (1988).|
|Hal McRae||1968–1972||Brian McRae||Major league (1990–1999)|
|Tony Perez||1964–1976||Eduardo Perez
|Major league (1993–2006)
Minor league (1990)
|Pete Rose||1963–1978||Pete Rose, Jr.||Major league (1997)|
|Ed Sprague||1971–1973||Ed Sprague||Major league (1991–2001)|
|Woody Woodward||1968–1971||Matt Woodward||Minor league (1998–1999)|
It was truly a “family affair” in the Reds organization during those years. Additionally, the following Reds players, scouts, and executives were part of the heyday of the “Big Red Machine,” and they also had relatives in professional baseball.
|Reds Affiliate||Reds Years||Relationship||Relative||Relative’s Career|
|Bob Bailey||Player (1976)||Son of||Paul “Buck” Bailey||Minor Leagueplayer (1939–1940)|
|Larry Barton, Sr.||Reds scout (1970–1979)||Father of||Larry Barton, Jr.||Reds scout (1970–1979)|
|Jack Billingham||Player (1972–1977)||Cousin of||Christy Mathewson
|Major League player (1900–1916)
Major League player (1906–1907)
|Joe Bowen||Reds director of scouting||Brother of||Rex Bowen||Pirates director of scouting; Reds special assistant|
|Marty Brennaman||Reds broadcaster (1974–2011)||Father of||Thom Brennaman||Major League broadcaster for Reds, Cubs, Diamondbacks, FOX network|
|Dan Driessen||Player (1973–1984)||Uncle of||Gerald Perry||Major League player (1983–1995)|
|Doug Flynn||Player (1975–1977)||Son of||Robert Douglas Flynn, Sr.||Minor League player|
|Phil Gagliano||Player (1973–1974)||Brother of||Ralph Gagliano||Major League player (1965–1965)|
|Ross Grimsley, Jr.||Player (1971–1973)||Son of||Ross Grimsley, Sr.||Major League player (1951)|
|Junior Kennedy||Player (1974–1981)||Brother of||Jim Kennedy||Major League player (1970)|
|Bob Howsam||Reds GM (1966–1977)||Father of||Edwin Howsam||Reds area scouting supervisor|
|Lee May||Player (1965–1971)||Brother of||Carlos May||Major League player (1968–1977)|
|Bill Plummer||Player (1970–1977)||Son of||William Plummer||Minor League player (1921–1927)|
Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza will be the latest additions to the Baseball Hall of Fame this weekend. This was the first year Griffey was eligible for induction, while Piazza attained the pinnacle of his career in his fourth year. Both players were among the best of their respective positions during their careers. Both have family ties in baseball.
Griffey is the son of Ken Griffey Sr., a major leaguer for 19 seasons and the owner of a .296 career batting average. Griffey Sr. was a three-time all-star who played for the “Big Red Machine” years of the Cincinnati Reds.
Piazza is the godson of former Los Angeles Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda, also a Hall of Famer. Lasorda and Piazza’s father had been long-time friends, and Lasorda opened the door for Mike to be drafted by the Dodgers.
Below are several recent articles about Griffey and Piazza:
Some of baseball’s father-son and brother combos were in action this past Monday night at the Home Run Derby associated with Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. Four of the eight derby participants this year had a relative pitch to them during the contest.
Todd Frazier, the defending derby champion from last year, had his brother, Charlie, pitch to him, as he did last year. Charlie is a former minor league player himself.
Robinson Cano’s father, Jose, did the honors for his son by pitching to him in his derby appearance. Jose had previously pitched to Robinson when he captured the derby a few years ago. Jose briefly played in the majors in 1969.
Making his first appearance in the home run derby was Corey Seager, and his father, Jeff, was his pitcher during the contest. Jeff’s baseball experience included a college career at Fairleigh Dickinson.
When Wil Myers regular Padres batting practice pitcher couldn’t attend the home derby contest, Wil selected his brother, Beau, to throw to him. Beau just completed his freshman year at Appalachian State.
To read more about the family contestants in the Home Run Derby, see the links below: