It seems like there are a lot of ball players whose dads also played in the big leagues. Guys like Ken Griffey, Jr. and Barry Bonds have retired, but spending one evening thinking about it, there weren't as many current players as I thought. I did come up with a list of one current player at each position who is the son of a major leaguer. I didn't do a Google search, so I may have missed some. I do wish I had one more hitter so I could have a team with a DH, but since I don't, we'll do this national league style, even complete with a batting order. I even came up with a manager and two broadcasters, so they are included. I also noticed several players with a Dodger connection. If you are reading this column on Facebook, and have a name to add to the list, feel free to comment. Here we go...
Leading off: Fernando Tatis, Jr. (San Diego), SS. The 20 year-old is actually on the injured list right now (hamstring), but will hopefully be back with the Padres in a couple of weeks, but we are activating him early. The phenom made the club out of spring training, and is batting .300 with 6 homers, 13 RBIs, and 6 steals—the numbers expected throughout his inaugural big-league season. Dad Fernando Sr. was a .265 hitter in 11 seasons in the majors (1997-2010) with Texas, St. Louis, Montreal, Baltimore, and the NY Mets (Dodger connection: We remember it well. April 23, 1999 at Dodger Stadium. While with the Cardinals, Fernando Senior became the only player in major league history to hit two grand slams in the same inning. They both came off of Chan Ho Park.)
Batting second: Adalberto Mondesi (Kansas City), 2B. The 23 year-old switch-hitter broke out last year with a .276 average and 32 steals. He also has a little pop in his bat with 14 homers, and is a big part of the Royals lineup and future. Dad Raul was more of a power hitter and known for his throwing arm as an outfielder, but did have a 30-homer, 30-steal season in 1997. (Dodger connection: Raul made his major league debut in Los Angeles in 1993, and was National League Rookie of the Year in 1994, batting .306 with 16 HRs, 56 RBIs, and 11 steals in 112 games of the strike-shortened season.)
Hitting third: Cody Bellinger (LA Dodgers), RF: A tall guy with speed, Cody burst upon the scene in 2017, hit 39 home runs, drove in 97, and won Rookie of the Year honors while also going to the World Series before losing in seven games to the Houston Astros. He somewhat slumped last year, if you can call 25 homers, 76 RBIs, and playing 162 games slowing down (the Dodgers actually played 163 games, so Bellinger didn't play in them all. Cody's father, Clay, played four years in the bigs—three with the Yankees 1999-2001, winning two World Series, and just two games with the Angels in 2002, but won a World Series there too. Cody's been to two World Series, but dad has three rings. (Dodger connection: Duh, Cody is a Dodger. Hello!).
Cleaning up: Travis Shaw (Milwaukee), 1B: Coming off of back-to-back 30-homer seasons, Shaw is one of the cogs in the Milwaukee machine that led them to a seventh game in the National League Championship Series last year, playing first, second, and third base. Father Jeff was a relief pitcher who recorded 203 saves in a 12-year big league career with Cleveland, Montreal, the White Sox, Cincinnati, and the Dodgers. (Dodger connection: Not only was Jeff Shaw a Dodger from 1998-2001, he was the franchise leader in saves until current closer Kenley Jansen took that title).
Batting fifth: Dwight Smith, Jr, (Baltimore), LF. Still considered a rookie in 2019, the younger Smith played a handful of games in Toronto the last two seasons, but earned the starting LF job with the Orioles this year, and is currently batting .286 with 8 home runs and 27 RBIs, on a team that will likely lose well over a hundred games. Dwight Senior had an eight-year major league career—the first five with the Cubs. He played 45 games with the Angels in 1994, and also 28 in Baltimore, before finishing with two seasons in Atlanta. He only clubbed ore than ten home runs in a season once, when he slugged 11 for the Cubs in 1993. (No real Dodger connection here.)
In the six spot: Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. (Toronto), 3B. Rated by just about everyone as the top minor league prospect in baseball at the beginning of the season, Vladdy Jr. got the call to tbe big leagues on April 26 against Oakland. He went 1-for-4 in that game, and has been mediocre at best so far, but is expected to hit for power and average. Vladdy's daddy is a hall-of-famer, inducted into Cooperstown last year with a .318 career batting average in 16 seasons (8 in Montreal, 6 with the Angels, one in Texas, and one in Baltimore). He had 2590 hits, 449 home runs, and 1496 RBIs. (There's no real Dodger connection here, but there's a story that when Guerrero, Sr. signed with the Expos in 1993 out of the Dominican Republic at the age of 18, the Dodgers could have had him if they had offered just 500 dollars more.)
Batting seventh: Delino DeShields (Texas), CF. We have to put an asterisk here. DeShields was optioned to the minor leagues last week, but with the lack of depth on our roster, we're looking the other way here. He was batting just .182 but with 8 stolen bases, and came up with the Rangers in 2015. Delino isn't a Junior (dad and son have different middle names), but the elder Delino played 13 seasons in the bigs, coming up with Montreal in 1990. He played four seasons with the Expos (seems like more), three with the Dodgers, three with Baltimore, and two seasons each with St. Louis and the Cubs. (Dodger connection: Many (myself included) consider this the worst trade in LA Dodger history, when, on November 19, 1993, the Dodgers acquired DeShields for right handed pitcher, and future Hall of Famer, Pedro Martinez.)
Hitting eighth: Chad Wallach (Miami), C. Wallach is the backup catcher with the Marlins this year, but gets to be close by his dad Tim, who is the bench coach under manager Don Mattingly. Chad had just 11 at-bats with Cincinnati in 2017, and got 45 with the Marlins last year, so he is still a rookie. His dad Tim, playing mostly third base, had 260 home runs in 17 seasons—13 of them in Montreal. He spent the next four years with the Dodgers, although he finished his career in 1996 as a California Angel—the final season the Angels used the 'California' designation. (Dodger connection: Besides playing for the Dodgers, Wallach was on the short list of candidates to become manager, but Dave Roberts got the job.)
And batting ninth and doing the pitching: Derek Rodriguez (San Francisco). Well, we set the precedent with DeShields. Rodriguez was sent to the minor leagues on Saturday, but we've called him back up to start for this team. The son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez is 3-5 with a 5.05 ERA this season. He made his big league debut last year, going 6-4 with a 2.81 earned run average. Dad was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017 after 21 seasons,m 13 of them in Texas where he caught over 1500 games. It's interesting that Pudge's son would be a pitcher, but catchers do make good pitching coaches. (No real Dodger connection, but Dereck is a Giant, and there's always a connection with the Dodgers and the Giants).
Relief pitcher: Cam Bedrosian (LA Angels). We do have one arm in our bullpen, and it's a pretty good one. Bedrosian has closed in Anaheim (8 career saves—6 of them in 2017), and made his first career start earlier this year. Cam is the son of Steve Bedrosian, who was also a reliever with 76 career wins and 46 saves in 14 seasons with Atlanta, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Steve's nickname was 'Bedrock', and Cam's full name is Cameron Rock Bedrosian.
Manager: Aaron Boone (NYYankees). The second-year Yankee skipper was a player with a significant career in his own right, along with father Bob Boone, who also managed. Boone's grandfather Ray Boone was a big-leaguer, and so was his brother Bret.
Broadcasters: Jose Mota (LA Angels), Tony Gwynn, Jr. (San Diego). Jose played a handful of games over two seasons for the Kansas City Royals. Gwynn, Jr. was in the big leagues for parts of 8 years, including two with the Dodgers. (Dodger connection: Jose Mota is the son of Manny Mota, who is the all-time pinch-hit leader, played 20 seasons in the majors, and 13 with the Dodgers. Forgetting that Gwynn, Jr. played for LA, his uncle Chris Gwynn was a Dodger for seven of his ten big league seasons.)
Yes, it is not lost here that we picked the best father-son combos on Mother's Day weekend, but think of it this way. Hats off to the moms who got their kids to the big leagues, while dad was spending a lot of time chasing the dream himself.
Bay Area bucket list: For northern California baseball fans, if you ever wanted to see a Giants game and an A's game in the same day, you really had two chances to do it this year, but one of them was Saturday. The Giants were home to Cincinnati while the A's hosted Cleveland. Both games Friday were night games, and both on Sunday were day game. Saturday, though, you could have gone to the A's-Indians game at the Coliseum in the afternoon, and then taken BART across the bay for the Giants-Reds game at 6pm. Two weeks from now (May 24-26), the Giants and A's are both home again, but both teams will be playing all three games of their series at the same time. That leaves June 15 as the only other possibility, when the Giants host Milwaukee at 1pm, and the A's are home to Seattle at 6. Interestingly enough, the two dates come on Mother's Day and Father's Day weekends.
No can do in SoCal: If you ever wanted to try that with the Dodgers and Angels, forget about it. First of all, it's more of a logistical nightmare (with traffic and all) to get from LA to Anaheim or vice versa in time to make the night game, and second, there is no day this year when both the Dodgers and Angels play home games. Maybe in the playoffs?
Lottery time: The Zion Willianson sweepstakes, also known as the NBA Draft Lottery, will take place at 5:30pm tomorrow (Tuesday), televised by ESPN. The Los Angeles Lakers have a two percent chance to get the top selection, which will almost assuredly be the one-and-done Duke star, whichever team wins.
The first Mother's Day without my mom was a tough one. I was never one to really overdo it, usually just a phone call and a funny card, usually one a child might send. This year it was flowers at the cemetery. I know Mom liked flowers, but I wish I was making the phone call instead.