Home Baseball Runs in the family: bloodlines in sports

Runs in the family: bloodlines in sports

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Washington Nationals fans are very delighted at the 134th overall selection of the 2015 MLB Draft. The pick was none other than Mariano Rivera Jr., son of former Yankees legend Mariano Rivera.

A pitching prospect based out of Iona College in New York, Rivera Jr. produced a 2.65 ERA over 85 innings pitched. Now, supplied with three sons of Hall of Famers – Tony Gwynn, Jr., Ryan Ripken and Mo Jr. – the Nationals are in for a legendary future.

Throughout his 19 years as a Yankee, the original Mo posted a career average 2.21 ERA over 1,283 innings pitched and a major-league-leading 652 saves. Appearing in only his second season (8-3, 107.2 IP, 5.51 ERA, 130 K), Mo placed 3rd in Cy Young votes.

In a 4-0 loss to Tampa Bay on September 26, 2013, Mo approached the mound in the 8th inning, allowing no hits or runs after 13 pitches thrown and four batters.

An ingredient that makes sports so charming is the family ties within a sport or organization. Hockey and lacrosse experience this frequently. The Staal brothers – Eric, Marc and Jordan – and the Stanwicks in lacrosse – Steele, Wells, Shack, Tad and Covie.

While the individual forges his own career path – whether achieving Hall of Fame status or a career ended by injury – ancestry in sports will never retire.

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Walter and Jarrett Payton

Walter Payton began his football odyssey at Jackson State. At the end of his senior season, Payton cataloged 3,600 total rushing yards and 63 TDs. While Payton dealt with college studies in 1972, the Bears were desperate for a running game after Gale Sayer’s retirement the same year. Three years later, they called Walter Payton’s name at 4th overall in the NFL draft. And then, that marked the start of a beautiful friendship.

Active for only seven games as a rookie, “Sweetness” still managed to log 892 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns. Statistically, his best campaign was in 1977, where he stood atop the league in yards from scrimmage (2,121) and 16 total TDs.

At the conclusion of Walter’s 12 years in Chicago, he blazed a trail with 16,726 rushing yards, 4,538 receiving yards and 133 TDs (110 rush, 15 rec. and 8 pass). Indecisively one of the greatest – and amicable – players to lace up, Walter Payton passed away in November 1999 after a decade’s battle of cancer.

In a matter of success, his only son, Jarrett, drove the opposite direction. Sporting No. 34 in respect to his father, Jarrett enrolled at Miami in 1999.

Over the span of three seasons, he met the end zone only three times in 27 played games. Wrapping up time at Miami, Jarrett ran the ball 299 times for 1,496 yards and 10 TDs (7 in 2003).

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Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr.

A member of Cincinnati’s “Big Red Machine” from 1970-76, Ken Griffey swung the bat pretty illustriously in his 12 years with the club. He moved northeast to the Empire State in 1982, where he contributed three years of hitting for the Yankees. While there, he joined forces with Rich Gossage, Dave Winfield and Don Mattingly.

After affairs with two other teams (Atlanta and Seattle), Griffey ventured back to Cincy for two more years until his retirement. At the end of his career, Griffey participated in three All-Star games, but no earned no World Series titles.

A new breed of Griffey – Ken Griffey 2.0 – entered the baseball arena in 1989 after being drafted 1st overall by the Seattle Mariners. He’d spend 10 years in Puget Sound, then migrate west to Cincinnati, where he played for Jack McKeon for eight years (2000-08). Similar to his father, Griffey, Jr. transferred to his first team to end his MLB career.

Griffey 2.0 overcame his father’s performance in the majors – in his 22 years, he collected 10 Gold Gloves, partook in 13 All-Stars games and won a World Series.

On the last pit stop of his MLB career, Ken Griffey would be in the same rotation as his 2nd-MLB-year son, Ken Griffey, Jr. And from 1990 to 1991, the Seattle Mariners featured a father-son rivalry that stirred emotions on and off the field.

Honorable Mentions

I. Peyton and Eli Manning
II. Barry and Shane Larkin
III. Muhammad and Laila Ali
IV. Pau and Marc Gasol
V. B.J. and Justin Upton
VI. Serena and Venus Williams
VII. Jim and John Harbaugh

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to AP Photo/Matt Slocum

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