SECOND GENERATION BIG LEAGUERS NEW HAMPSHIRE

We have all heard the old saying that ‘ the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, meaning, according to the Cambridge dictionary, that ‘a child usually has a similar character or similar qualities to his or her parents.’

Often, the child of a school teacher becomes a school teacher, the accountant’s kids become accountants, etc.. In the case of my family, for example, my brother and I were both Police Officers, two of my sons became Police Officers and a Grandson just received his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and is beginning a law enforcement career.

Of course, there is the old argument over nature versus nurture, the accountant’s child who has no natural interest or ability in math, will probably never be an accountant but the odds are pretty good that the accountant’s son who is a math whiz, who is also exposed to the world of accountants, will end up in that field.

In the baseball world, there have been many examples of children following in their fathers’ footsteps. Cal Ripkin, Jr. and Sr., come to mind, as do the Ken Griffey, Jr. and Sr. and Bobby Bonds and Barry Bonds, to name a few.

For a baseball player to make it to the Major Leagues requires a tremendous amount of physical ability which allows those players to work hard and home those skills to a level that allows them to perform effectively on the big stage. Obviously, there must be some genetic transfer of things like eye/hand coordination, exceptional vision, speed of foot and hand, etc., etc., etc. In addition, young children of Major Leaguers are exposed to the life and rewards of playing Major League baseball, receive instruction and encouragement from their Big League Dads and sometimes their Big League Brothers.

Still, only a very small percentage of those players in the Major Leagues come from families with Major League experience. The Boone family, with Grandfather Ray, his son Bob and his sons Aaron and Ray are one example of a multi-generational baseball family.

The Toronto Blue Jays have put together a unique group of players in their AA, New Hampshire Fisher Cats organization who play in the Eastern League and were in Portland to face the Sea Dogs this past week. The third baseman on that team is Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. As of Wednesday of this week, Vladimir was hitting .426 in 47 games for the Fisher Cats and had hit 11 home runs and driven in 53 runs in that 47 games. He was on a 10 game hitting streak in which he had hit .500 with 19 hits in 38 at bats.

In case you don’t recognize the name, he is the son of Vladimir Guerrero who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year after a 16 year career, in which he played for four different teams, averaged .318, hit 449 home runs and drove in 1,496 runs. He won the American League Most Valuable Player Award in 2004 when he hit .337 with 39 homers and 126 RBI’s. The younger Guerrero, who will be promoted to Toronto in the near future, was signed as a Free Agent for $3.9 million at the age of 16 and hit .323 in Class A last year.

The shortstop on that Fisher Cats team is 20 year old Bo Bichette, son of Dante Bichette, who played 14 seasons in the Major Leagues for five different teams, including a year and a half with the Red Sox and had a career batting average of .299. In 1995, Dante led the America League in hits with 197, homers, 40, runs batted in 128 and finished second in the MVP balloting. He was a four time All Star. Bo was hitting .269 through his first 48 games with the Fisher Cats and last year, in A ball, batted .362 in 110 games with 14 homers and 74 runs batted in.

In addition, Bo’s brother Dante, is the third baseman with the Trenton Thunder in the Eastern League and was hitting .270 through Wednesday.

The second baseman on the Fisher Cats is a 23 year old named Cavan Biggio, son of Craig Biggio who, in a 20 year career as one of the Killer Bees, with the Houston Astros, batted .281 with 291 homers and 1,175 runs batted in and was a seven time All Star. Cavan hit .308 with 12 homers and 40 runs batted in in his first 47 games this year since being promoted from Dunedin in the Florida State League to start the season.

The Fisher Cats have a unique situation in that three of their starting infielders are the children of prominent former Major League players, but it could get better.

The first baseman for the Dunedin team, the Blue Jays entry in the Florida State League is a young man named Kacy Clemens, son of Roger Clemens, who just happens to have been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. I don’t have to quote his statistics to Red Sox fans but his son Kacy was hitting .222 with Dunedin in his first 19 games at A ball.

If Kacy should get promoted to the Fisher Cats before Toronto decides they need one of the other three at the Major League level, it could mark the first time in baseball history that an entire infield has been made up of sons of former prominent Major Leaguers.

The Fisher Cats will entertain the Sea Dogs at Manchester’s New England Delta Dental Stadium for four games from June 25th to 28th and will come to Portland for four games from July 12th to 15th. A chance for local fans to see this unique infield at work.

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