“Junior this and Junior that – where are they all from?”
Three-time all-star Bret Boone spoke about second generation baseball players. This year there will be more than twice as many second-generation Big Leaguers as there were in the 1970s. Fernando Tatis Jr., 22, of the Padres is possibly the most exciting young player in the game. He was able to join the Dodgers ‘Cody Bellinger, the Royals’ Adalberto Mondesi, the pirates ‘Ke’Bryan Hayes and the Blue Jays’ trio of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio in an all-star cast – all 25 or younger, all the sons of the great Leager.
Athletes in other sports also follow their fathers to the professionals. This season there will be around 45 second-generation players on NFL teams with their extended rosters and 30 in the NBA, including the Warriors’ Steph Curry, the Cavaliers’ Kevin Love and the Pacers’ Domantas Sabonis. But baseball tops the list at 50. “It’s the culture of baseball,” says Mr. Boone, a third generation ball player who followed his father and grandfather to the majors – first an MLB. “Other sports are more about physical talent. Baseball is physical too: a batsman needs a certain amount of fast-twitch muscle fibers. A pitcher should better throw 90. But it’s not that physical and that lets other things in, ”he says.
Things like counting and stealing signs and the old chestnut about “knowing how to carry yourself”. It is obvious that adolescents who grow up with professional athletes receive clues about their behavior. When they reach the little league they expect excellence, and when they join a big league clubhouse as professionals they feel like they belong. Last summer, the Washington Nationals signed a shortstop from Princeton: Jake Boone, Bret’s son, who has the chance to become the first fourth-generation player in Major League history.
A ball player for a father can even help athletes who grow up to do other sports. Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs’ $ 450 million quarterback, is the son of Pat Mahomes, a big league pitcher for the Mets, Twins, and four other teams. “Patrick grew up in baseball and watched his father and teammates,” said Mike Rathwell, CEO of Driveline Baseball, the Seattle-based center for the latest in baseball science. “It makes you think about some of the throws he gets under pressure – he looks like a shortstop.”