Luis Tiant Made Most of his Opportunity

A popular major league pitcher in the 1960s and 1970s, Luis Tiant was able to leave his home country of Cuba to play baseball in the US.  He went on to win 224 career games over 19 seasons ending in 1982.

His father, Luis Tiant Sr., wasn’t so fortunate.  He played baseball during the time when black baseball players weren’t allowed to play in the big leagues.  Consequently, he spent most of his career playing in the Negro Leagues with the New York Cubans and in Cuban winter leagues.  He once played against an all-star team organized by Babe Ruth and featuring the Babe himself.  However, his career, which started in the 1920s had ended before the color barrier was broken by Jackie Robinson.

Read more about Luis Tiant at the link below from the Topeka Capital-Journal:

http://cjonline.com/sports/2016-04-02/legacy-luis-tiant-took-advantage-opportunity-his-father-never-had

 

Torii Hunter Jr. Balances Football and Baseball During Spring

Spring is a tough time for Torii Hunter Jr., as he looks to balance his time between football and baseball at Notre Dame.

Torii is currently a junior, with two seasons under his belt on the Fighting Irish football team.  He is in his second season on the baseball team, although he has played sparingly.

He is the son of Torii Hunter, who retired from Major League Baseball in 2015 after putting in 19 seasons, including five All-Star selections and nine Gold Glove awards.

Torii was drafted out of high school by the Detroit Tigers in the 36th round of the 2013 MLB Draft, but chose to attend Notre Dame.

Read more about Torii Hunter Jr. at the link below from the Chicago Tribune:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/college/ct-torii-hunter-jr-notre-dame-football-spt-0317-20160316-story.html

 

High School Teammates Gonzalez and Candiotti Have Common Bond

Jacob Gonzalez and Casey Candiotti are junior teammates at Scottsdale Chaparral High School, which was a pre-season No. 1 in Arizona.

They share a common bond in that their respective fathers were former major league players.  Both young men showed an early passion for baseball, and thus their fathers steered them in the path of their former profession.

Jacob is the son of Luis Gonzalez, a 19-year major league veteran and five-time All-Star, who played on the 2001 World Champion Arizona Diamondbacks.

Casey is the son of Tom Candiotti who played 16 seasons in the big leagues, winning 151 games.  He was known for his knuckleball, which he has taught to Casey.

Casey and Jacob intend to continue their baseball careers at the college level.

Read more about Gonzalez and Candiotti at the link below from azcentral.com:

http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/high-school/2016/02/20/jacob-gonzalez-casey-candiotti-create-own-paths-baseball-field/80621304/

 

Walker Family Affair is Disrupted by Pirates’ Trade

Neil Walker grew up in the Pittsburgh area and when he was drafted by the Pirates organization as a first round pick in 2004, it was a no-brainer that he would sign with the club.

Neil’s father, Tom, a former major league pitcher during 1972 to 1977, has lived in the Pittsburgh area for 41 years, so he and his extended family had grown accustomed to seeing Neil play regularly at home games

However, Neil was acquired by the New York Mets during the off-season and thus caused a disruption in the family gatherings at the ballpark.

Read more about Neil Walker at the link below from The Wall Street Journal:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/for-neil-walker-mets-home-opener-is-no-homecoming-1460063793

 

Preston Brothers Hope to Share Future in Astros Organization

 

Preston Tucker made his major league debut with the Houston Astros last year, sharing playing time in the outfield.  He is one of a group of young Astros players making the team a favorite for the playoffs again in 2016.

Preston’s younger brother, Kyle, was a first-round pick of the Astros in the 2015 MLB Draft and is starting his first professional season this year.

The brothers are hoping to play in the outfield together one day with the Astros.

Read more about the Preston brothers at the link below from kristv.com:

http://www.kristv.com/story/31591703/baseball-is-a-family-affair-for-the-tucker-brothers

Donnie Walton Teams Up With Father at OSU

Donnie Walton is currently in his fourth season as shortstop with Oklahoma State University, opting to return for his senior season after being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 23rd round in the 2015 MLB Draft.

His father, Rob Walton, is the pitching coach at OSU, having also played for the university in 1983-1986 when he pitched on four College World Series teams.   Rob played three seasons in the Baltimore Orioles organization before turning to coaching at the college level.

Read more about the Walton father-son combo at the link below from Baseball America:

Walton Extends Family Legacy With Cowboys

Amanda Hopkins Follows Father’s Scouting Path

Amanda Hopkins was a standout softball player at Central Washington University, but has pursued a baseball career as a major league scout.  Her signing by the Seattle Mariners makes her the first full-time female scout by a  major league team since the 1950s.

Amanda is following in her father’s footsteps.  Ron Hopkins is currently a Pirates assistant to the general manager, having worked in various scouting roles in the Rangers and A’s organizations.

Read more about Amanda Hopkins at the link below from mlb.com:

http://m.mlb.com/news/article/159132908/amanda-hopkins-hired-by-mariners-as-scout

L. J. Mazzilli Looks to Father for Help with Second Chance

L. J. Mazzilli is a top prospect in the New York Mets organization, but his career took a setback last season when he was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for drug abuse.

L. J. is the son of Lee Mazzilli, a fourteen-year major league player and player and manager of the Baltimore Orioles for two seasons.

After his suspension, L. J. turned to his father for advice and support in pursuing his goal to make the majors.  Lee likes his son’s work ethnic and believes it will pay off into eventual major league promotion.

Read more about L. J. Mazzilli at the link below from the New York Post:

http://nypost.com/2016/02/16/mets-prospects-redemption-starts-with-some-fatherly-advice/

 

Jose Lima Jr. Aims to Have his Own “Lima Time”

The late Jose Lima was a major league pitcher for thirteen seasons during 1994 to 2006.  His best season was in 1999, when he won 21 games for the Houston Astros.  His passionate approach to the game was called “Lima Time.”

Currently a high school pitcher in Houston, Jose’s son, Jose Lima Jr., is trying to follow in his father’s footsteps as a high school pitcher in Houston.

Read more about Jose Lima Jr. at the link below from abc13.com:

http://abc13.com/sports/son-of-jose-lima-looking-to-continue-baseball-legacy/1223133/

 

Al and Alex Avila on Opposite Sides of the Diamond

One of Al Avila’s first business decisions after becoming General Manager of the Detroit Tigers in August 2015 was what to do with his son, a catcher for the Tigers for the past seven seasons.

Alex had been surpassed by teammate James McCann as the Tigers’ regular catcher, so Al decided to let his son go into free agency.  Alex wound up signing a one-year $2.5 million contract with the Chicago White Sox for the 2016 season.  Now they’ll be competing against each other in the AL Central Division.

Alex is the grandson of Ralph Avila, a long-time scout and front office VP for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Read more about the Avilas at the link below from USA Today:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2016/02/24/al-and-alex-avila-business-side-baseball-separates-them-again/80849504/

 

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