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Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the latest member of baseball’s growing father-son club

first_img Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone There’s something to be said for the role of genetics in this phenomenon. The link between general athletic performance and heritability is fairly well-documented. The special role that vision plays in hockey and baseball, and height in basketball, helps explain why a talent for each sport might be passed down from father to son. (There’s also something to be said for the role of racial segregation in those numbers. Major League Baseball was segregated until 1947, the NBA didn’t integrate for four seasons, until 1950, and only one black player appeared in an NHL game from 1917 to 1974. The NFL didn’t employ African-American players from 1934-45.)But there’s more to it than genes – a lot more – and that’s what baseball’s second-generation stars want you to know. They didn’t marvel at their ability to hit the first curveball they saw or their natural gift for running 90 feet at a time faster than most mortals. When Guerrero Jr. played in the minor leagues with Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette, these were not the notes they traded. Hockey2.34% Mota said former Dodgers general manager Al Campanis encouraged him and the other Dodgers’ sons – Gene Hooton, Dan Cey, Daron Sutton, Reggie Smith Jr., Derrel Thomas Jr. – to play with each other on the field before batting practice. From birth, they were comfortable around a major league environment and its authority figures.Maybe they were too comfortable at times.Mota still remembers his reaction to seeing one lineup card listing his dad on the bench in 1971, when he was 6 years old: “I went to Walter Alston and said, ‘how come my dad never plays?’ With those bright blue eyes, (Alston) looked at me and said, ‘son, I’ll tell you why he doesn’t play: because I need one at-bat from him later in the game to win the game for us.’ I’ll never forget that.”So far, Guerrero Jr. seems to be embracing the attention that comes with his name – not playing it up, not playing it down. He could have worn a suit and tie to his debut game. He chose to wear the Expos jersey instead. At some point, he will have to make his own name, just like the 238 boys before him who became men while baseball’s best players and coaches and managers looked on. Angels manager Joe Maddon questions defensive metrics that rate Mike Trout poorly Football0.24% How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire “We basically talked about the game, about how hard we have to work to get here,” Guerrero Jr. said.Bourjos echoed Guerrero’s belief that a work ethic was the most important thing he inherited.“He taught me to have fun while working,” Bourjos said of his father. “So you didn’t even notice you were working. You enjoyed going there, you enjoyed hitting, you enjoyed taking fly balls. You made it fun.”Chris Bourjos played 13 games for the Giants in 1980. Most of his life in baseball has been spent as a scout. Manny Mota appeared in parts of 20 seasons, from 1962 to 1982, so Jose Mota and his brother Andy took their experience a step or 10 further. When your father’s 300 teammates include everyone from Roberto Clemente to Fernando Valenzuela, you get something even better than a front-row seat to baseball history.Before games at Dodger Stadium, while the Dodgers were taking batting practice, Mota relished the days when the Phillies came to town.“I would wait for Pete Rose to come out; Bob Boone, Greg Luzinski, Mike Schmidt,” Mota said. “Pete Rose would always play pepper behind home plate. … Pete Rose would have like six or seven guys just playing pepper with him – ‘little Mota, get in here.’ ”Related Articles Basketball1.83% Was this a typical day at the ballpark? Does this happen in other sports?The Sports Reference websites for baseball (MLB), basketball (BAA/NBA), football (NFL, AFL, AAFC, APFA) and hockey (NHL) catalog the number of players to appear in the top pro leagues in each sport. Wikipedia entries exist for the father-son combinations in each. We can use the data from each site to paint a reasonably, if not entirely, accurate picture of how common the phenomenon is across different sports.According to this data, there have been 19,492 players in major league history through Tuesday; 223 had a son who reached the big leagues. Of the 25,398 professional players in football history, 60 had a son who reached the NFL. The NBA and its short-lived predecessor have employed 4,374 players; 80 had a son who reached the NBA. In hockey, 7,856 men reached the NHL since 1917-18, and 184 had a son who did the same. That makes hockey the number-1 sport for fathers and sons, by percentages: Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error ANAHEIM — Vladimir Guerrero Sr. bequeathed a number 27 Montreal Expos jersey that his son wore to his first game at Rogers Centre last week. The Hall of Famer gave his son a name, and a swing, and maybe other baseball-specific traits that will reveal themselves in time.More important than everything else he inherited from his father, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. believes, was a work ethic.“Just to keep working hard,” he said through an interpreter, “but most important, stay humble.”Angel Stadium offered a robust convergence of bloodlines Tuesday. You’ve been hearing and reading about Guerrero Jr. for a while now. Maybe you recall the sons of Chris Bourjos and Steve Bedrosian – Peter and Cam, respectively – play for the Angels too. Angels broadcaster Jose Mota, who played 19 major league games, is the son of Manny Mota. Angels alum Clyde Wright is still a regular fixture at the stadium; his son, retired pitcher Jaret Wright, is not. Angels fail to take series in Oakland, lose in 10 innings Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Baseball1.14%last_img

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