With his election to Baseball’s Hall of Fame, Ken Griffey Jr. reflected on how his father, Ken Griffey Sr., helped him prepare for a pro baseball career. Junior had a good teacher since his father played for 19 seasons in the majors. Junior recalled one of the early lessons he got from his father was about respect for the game.
The Griffey father-son combo make history when they appeared in the same game for the Seattle Mariners in 1991.
Read more about the Griffeys at the link below from the New York Daily News:
Ron Stillwell, who played briefly in the major leagues in 1961 and 1962, died at age 76 in January. He had also been a co-captain of USC when they won the national baseball championship in 1961, and was promoted to the Washington Senators the same year. Altogether, Ron played five seasons of professional baseball.
Ron’s son, Kurt, also played in the majors from 1986 to 1996, appearing in 998 career games for five different teams. He was a National League All Star in 1998 with the Kansas City Royals.
Ron’s son, Rod, also played professional baseball for two seasons in 1989 and 1990 in the Kansas City Royals system.
Read more about Ron Stillwell at the link below from the Los Angeles Times:
Mike Kremblas comes from a sports family and he’s recently made a name for himself in coaching youth teams. The former minor leaguer was the recipient of the 2015 Ripken Youth Baseball Coach of the Year Award.
Mike is the son of Frank Kremblas Sr., who was the quarterback for Ohio State University when they won the national championship in 1957.
Mike’s brother, Frank Jr., reached the Triple-A level in the Cincinnati Reds organization, before becoming a minor league manager in the Expos, Brewers and Pirates systems.
Mike was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 8th round of the MLB Draft in 1998, and he played six seasons in the minors.
Read more about the Kremblas family at the link below from Baseball America:
Contributed by Richard Cuicchi
During the first week of the year, Ken Griffey Jr.’s election to the Baseball Hall of Fame was the top baseball story. He missed being a unanimous selection by only three votes, although he did garner the highest percentage of votes in the history of the Hall, besting Tom Seaver who was the previous holder of that distinction.
What a lot of people forget is just how good of a career Junior Griffey’s father had. Of all the father-son combos in the history of the game, the Griffeys rank at the top along with Barry and Bobby Bonds. George Sisler, Eddie Collins, Yogi Berra, Pete Rose, and Tony Gwynn are the fathers of some of the most recognizable father-son pairs, but their combined family performances pale those of the Griffeys.
From 1973 to 2010, there was a Griffey playing in the major leagues, as their careers actually overlapped, something that had never happened before.
So what should you know about Ken Griffey Sr.?
- Griffey Sr. was born in Denora, Pennsylvania, the same little town that produced Stan Musial, the former St. Louis Cardinal Hall of Famer. Ken’s father Buddy was a left-handed third baseman who played on the same high school team as Musial in the 1930s. Junior Griffey was also born in Denora (population around 9,000), likely making it the U. S. city with the highest number of Hall of Famers per capita.
- Griffey Sr. was a member of the famed Big Red Machine, the Cincinnati Reds teams of the early to mid-1970s that dominated the National League. Griffey played on two World Series championship teams in 1975 and 1976. His batting average with the Reds was .307, yet he was a minor star since he played on those Reds teams with future Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, and Tony Perez.
- Griffey Sr. was also a member of the storied New York Yankee franchise, except he played there during its drought years during the 1980s when they failed to produce a division winner. However, his 1985 Yankees team won 97 games but finished in second place behind the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL West Division. Griffey’s teammates on that team included three future Hall of Famers–Dave Winfield, Rickey Henderson and Phil Niekro, as well as Don Mattingly, Don Baylor, Ron Guidry, and Dave Righetti.
- When Junior Griffey made his major league debut in 1989, the father-son combo became the first to be active in the major leagues at the same time. In 1990, nearing the end of his career, the Cincinnati Reds allowed Griffey Sr. to sign with the Seattle Mariners, where Junior was playing. On August 31, they started in the same game for the Mariners, each collecting singles in the first inning. In their game together on September 14, they hit back-to-back home runs.
- Griffey Sr. was a three-time National League All-Star, claiming the midsummer classic’s MVP title in 1980. He contended for the league batting title in 1976 with a .336 average. He had a career .297 batting average, compared to Junior’s .284. Griffey Sr. had similar speed (200 career stolen bases to Junior’ 194), but far less power (152 home runs and .431 slugging percentage to Junior’s 630 home runs and .538 slugging percentage). Together, they rank among baseball’s most prolific families in offensive categories.
JaVon Shelby is the son of John Shelby, a former major leaguer and later a major league coach, and the brother of John, who played six seasons of professional baseball.
JaVon is currently a junior at the University of Kentucky, where he has been named a pre-season college All-American team for the 2016 season. Last year JaVon was an All-SEC player with the Wildcats.
JaVon followed in his father’s and brother’s footsteps at Kentucky. A younger brother, Jaren, has already committed to the University of Kentucky and is one of the top 50 high school players eligible for the 2016 major league draft.
To read more about Javon Shelby, follow the link below from the Courier-Journal:
Carter Aldrete is currently a high school baseball standout in Monterey, California, who has already committed to Arizona State University for the Fall of 2016. He continues a baseball tradition started by his father and uncle, both former professional baseball players.
Carter’s father, Rich, was a 1987 draft selection of the San Francisco Giant and played six minor league seasons between the Giants and Cardinals organizations. He also played three seasons of independent league ball, the last year being in 1995.
Carter’s uncle, Mike Aldrete, was a major leaguer for ten seasons during 1986 and 1996. Mike has also been a coach for several major league teams.
Carter says when he needs advice on any aspect of his game, he is only a phone call away from his father or his uncle. He is able to routinely pick their brains on questions he has, as he continues to improve his game.
For more information about Carter Aldrete, see the link below from baseballessential.com:
Lincoln Holdzkom, the brother of Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher John Holdzkom, was killed in a car accident in California last December. He had been a former minor league pitcher in the Marlins, Cubs, Red Sox, and Pirates organizations, last pitching for an independent league team in 2013. He was 33 years old.
John made his major league debut with the Pirates in 2014, but spent all of the 2015 season in their minor league system.
Read more about the Holdzkom brothers at the link below from milb.com:
Cy and Jack Ferry played major league baseball around the turn of the 20th century and thus were among some of the earliest sets of brothers to appear in the big leagues.
Neither had extensive major league careers, although minor league baseball extended their playing careers.
Jack played four seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he was a teammate of the great shortstop, Honus Wagner.
Cy played only two seasons in the majors, one of them with the Cleveland Naps were he was a teammate of future Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie.
Read more about the Ferry brothers at the link below from the Register-Star:
Larry Bowa, currently the bench coach for the Philadelphia Phillies, was influenced in the sport at an early age by his father, Paul Bowa, who was a former professional baseball player and manager of a Triple-A team in the Cardinals organization.
Larry didn’t make his high school’s baseball team because he was told he was too small; but he wound up playing for Sacramento City College and from there he went on to play 16 seasons in the major leagues.
Bowa wound up winning two Gold Gloves, made the All-Star team four times, and was a member of a World Series championship with the Phillies.
Bowa said he was encouraged by his father to continue to play baseball even after not making his high school team.
Read more about Larry Bowa’s baseball career at the link below from saccityexpress.com:
Neil Walker was dealt to the New York Mets during the 2015 off-season, having started his career in Pittsburgh and played there for seven seasons.
Neil’s father, Tom, was also a major leaguer and had developed a friendship with Pittsburgh Pirate great Roberto Clemente when they were teammates in the Puerto Rican Winter League.
In 1972, Tom Walker helped Clemente load an airplane with supplies that were destined for Nicaragua as relief to hurricane victims there. Clemente lost his life in the plane’s crash in route from San Jaun to Nicaragua.
Read more about the Walker connection to Clemente at the link below from New York Daily News: