Contributed by Richard Cuicchi
With the 2015 baseball season behind us, it’s time to provide my annual compilation of the players, managers and coaches from the season who had family relationships in professional baseball. The count this year is 783; but while I scoured all the major league team media guides, many baseball websites, and countless new stories for updates, most assuredly there are still additional players I have yet to identify.
My interest in this aspect of baseball history began when collecting data for my book Family Ties: A Comprehensive Collection of Facts and Trivia About Baseball’s Relatives, published in 2012 containing data through the 2011 season.
Since then, I have continued compiling a comprehensive set of family ties information. The latest 2015 Family Ties list can be found on the Site Pages of this blog.
Below is a sample of interesting facts from the 2015 list.
Minor leaguer Jonathan Roof has nine relatives in baseball. He is the son of former major leaguer Gene Roof, who had four brothers that played professionally. Jonathan also has two brothers and two cousins that played. One of the cousins, Eddie Haas, spent over 50 seasons in baseball as a player, coach and manager.
A’s pitcher Drew Pomeranz’s great grandfather, Garland Buckeye, was a major leaguer from 1918 to 1928.
This year’s list includes several sons of former All-Star players (noted in parenthesis): Ryan Ripken (Cal Jr.), Jordan Hershiser (Orel), Mariano Rivera III (Mariano), Justus Sheffield (Gary), Cam Gibson (Kirk), Tony Gwynn Jr. (Tony), and Patrick Palmeiro (Rafael).
Rays pitcher Brad Boxberger was a major league first round draft choice in 2009, as was his father Rod Boxberger in 1978. 2015 draftee Tyler Nevin and his father Phil (1992 draftee) were both first-round picks.
Pitcher Casey Coleman is part of a three-generation family of major league pitchers. His father Joe pitched between 1965 and 1979, while his grandfather, also named Joe, pitched from 1942 to 1955. Both of them were named to All-Star teams.
Veteran Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth’s father (Jeff Gowan) and stepfather (Dennis Werth) were both professional players. Jayson’s grandfather, Dick Schofield Sr., also played in the majors.
Eddie Gaedel gained fame in baseball as being the only midget to appear in the major leagues. In a stunt produced by St. Louis Browns’ maverick owner Bill Veeck, the 3’ 7” Gaedel drew a walk in his only plate appearance in 1951. Eddie’s nephew, Kyle Gaedele who is 6’ 3”, currently plays in the Padres organization.
Joe Jackson of the Texas Rangers organization is the great nephew of legendary Shoeless Joe Jackson, who was banned from Organized Baseball after the 1920 season for his involvement in the Black Sox Scandal.
Pitcher Randy Wolf’s brother, Jim, is a major league umpire. There is an agreement between major league baseball teams and the umpire’s association that Jim will never call balls and strikes when brother Randy is on the mound.
Rangers’ designated hitter Prince Fielder and his father Cecil rank third all-time among father-son combo home run hitters, only behind Barry and Bobby Bonds and the Ken Griffeys.
The following current players have had better careers than their fathers (in parenthesis) who also played professionally: Mike Trout (Jeff), Kris Bryant (Mike), Michael Brantley (Mickey), and Nick Swisher (Steve)
This version of the 2015 Family Ties List contains 711 major league and minor league players who have a relative in professional baseball. There are also 72 major league managers and coaches.
These 783 players, managers and coaches have a total of 1,094 family relationships with players, managers, coaches, scouts, executives, and broadcasters from the major league teams and their affiliated minor league teams, independent leagues, and the Mexican League. Obviously, several of the players, managers, and coaches have multiple family relationships.
Below are more details about the makeup of the players, managers, and coaches in the entire list.
The 711 players in 2015 included 233 active major leaguers and 478 with only minor league experience.
233 players with major league experience had a total of 331 relatives in professional baseball
- 25 had major league relatives active in 2015
- 102 had major league relatives active before 2015
478 players with only minor league experience had a total of 619 relatives in professional baseball
- 62 had major league relatives active in 2015
- 221 had major league relatives active before 2015
The 72 major league managers and coaches had a total of 124 relatives in professional baseball
- 8 had major league relatives in 2015.
- 17 had major league relatives active before 2015.
The Milwaukee Brewers had two managers and five coaches that represented 22 family relationships in professional baseball.
2015 MLB DRAFT
74 amateur players drafted in 2015 had current or former relatives in professional baseball.
- 55 were sons of pro players, while 25 were brothers
- 46 of the draftees had relatives with major leaguers experience
- 31 of the draftees did not sign pro contracts in 2015
2015 MAJOR LEAGUE DEBUTS
22 players with relatives in baseball made their major league debuts in 2014. 15 of their relatives had major league experience.
The average number of players (major and minor league), managers, and coaches with baseball relatives for the 30 major league organizations was 24.
- The Royals and Red Sox were the organizations with the most relatives with 41 each. The Cubs (9) had the fewest.
- The Orioles (13) had the most 2015 major leaguer roster players with a relative in professional baseball. The Angels, Dodgers and Red Sox each had 12 players.
- The Rockies and Cubs both had the fewest with 3 players.
The 2015 independent baseball leagues had 47 players with relatives in professional baseball.
- 11 of the players were former major leaguers with relatives.
- 27 total relatives had major league experience.
The 2015 Mexican League had 16 players with relatives in professional baseball
- 9 of the players were former major leaguers with relatives.
- 9 total relatives had major league experience.
Roberto Clemente Jr. tried his hand at professional baseball, but was not fortunate to have a significant career as a player, as his Hall of Fame father did.
Roberto Jr. played for three seasons in the Phillies and Padres organizations during 1984 to 1986. Roberto Sr. played for 18 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates before dying in a plane crash on New Year’s eve in 1972 at age 38, while participating in a earthquake relief effort in Nicaragua.
Roberto Jr. is now a broadcaster, businessman and curator of the Roberto Clemente Foundation. He helped established the RBI (Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities) program in Pittsburgh.
Read more about Roberto Clemente Jr. at the link below from the Portland Tribune:
Tim McGraw, award-winning country singer and actor, threw out the ceremonial first pitch of Game 4 of the World Series between the Mets and Royals. His connection to major league baseball is that his father, Tug McGraw, was a pitcher for the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies during 1965 to 1984.
Tug pitched in the 1973 World Series for the Mets and again in 1980 for the Phillies. Altogether, he made nine World Series game appearances, compiling a 2-1 record and 2.11 ERA.
Read more about Tim McGraw’s World Series experience at the link below from Rolling Stone:
In the early 1900s there were four brothers from the O’Neill family that appeared in the major leagues. Except for the Delahanty family with five brothers, the O’Neills had the most siblings to play in the big leagues. Their roots had Irish beginnings, as two of the brothers, Mike and Jack, were born in Ireland.
Three of the O’Neills,(Mike, Jack, and Jim) had relatively brief careers. Steve had the most extensive baseball career having played for 17 years (1911-1928) and managed for 14 seasons (1935-1954).
Read more about the O’Neill brothers at the link below from The 42:
Jeff Barton, a baseball scout and crosschecker for the Cincinnati Reds, recently died at age 50 after battling cancer. He was to be recognized at the upcoming Winter Meetings as Scout of the Year for the Western Region.
Jeff was born into the scouting profession, since his father, Larry Barton Jr., and his grandfather, Larry Barton Sr., were also professional baseball scouts. They both had worked in the Cincinnati Reds organization as well.
Read more about Jeff Barton at the link below from cincinnati.com:
Andy MacPhail accepted the position of president of the Philadelphia Phillies at the end of June, marking his return to Major League Baseball. His last position had been the president of baseball operations with the Baltimore Orioles from 2007 to 2011.
MacPhail is a third-generation executive in Major League Baseball. His father, Lee MacPhail, had been the general manager for the Baltimore Orioles and then later American League president. His grandfather, Larry MacPhail, was a groundbreaking executive for the Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn Dodgers, and New York Yankees.
Read more about Andy MacPhail at the link below from philly.com:
Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud and his brother, Chase, played against each other in the majors at the end of September. Chase, an infielder, got a late-season call-up by the Philadelphia Phillies. It was the first time they had been rivals in the big leagues. They had previously been opponents in the minors on a few occasions.
Travis is in his third major league season with the Mets, while Chase had appeared in three seasons with the Pirates before this current season with the Phillies.
Read more about the d’Arnaud brothers at the link below from Newsday:
New York Mets rookie Michael Conforto is playing in the 2015 Major League World Series in only his second professional season. He was the Mets’ first-round pick (10th overall) in the 2014 MLB Draft.
Conforto comes from an athletic family. His father played football for Penn State in the late 1970s, and was a linebacker on two teams that finished in the top 5 in the nation. Conforto’s mother, Tracie Ruiz, was a gold medalist on the 1984 USA Olympic team in the synchronized swimming event.
Conforto was good enough in high school football to attract some interest from Division I schools, but chose to play baseball at the University of Oregon instead.
Read more about the Conforto family at the link below from philly.com:
Roberto Osuna, the young closer of the Toronto Blue Jays, had not pitched above the Class-A level before this season. But that didn’t scare him in the pressure situations he found himself in this year with the big league club. He had a brilliant relief performance in Game 5 of the ALDS against the Rangers.
Roberto comes from a baseball family. His father, Roberto Sr., played in the Mexican League for twenty-two years, and his uncle Antonio Osuna pitched in the majors for eleven seasons.
Roberto Jr. made his professional debut in the Mexican League in 2011, when he was only 16 years old. Only a few years earlier he was playing with Mexican-based Little League teams that toured Japan and Italy.
Read more about Roberto Osuna at the link below from the Journal Times:
Dante Pettis currently plays wide receiver for the Washington Huskies, but it’s not his father’s sport. His dad, Gary Pettis, was a major leaguer from 1982 to 1992 and a five-time Gold Glove winner as a centerfielder.
But Dante chose football over baseball and that was okay with his father. Both deny that they wanted to avoid pressure of a son following in his father’s big league footsteps.
Gary is currently the third-base coach for the Houston Astros, and Dante was rooting hard for his father’s team to advance in the playoffs.
Read more about Dante Pettis as the link below from the Seattle Times: