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Coco Crisp
Athletic Crisp family among best in West

By Corey Gottlieb /

The diamond has seen its share of awesome families -- the Griffeys, Ripkens and Fielders have double-helixed their way through baseball history -- and shared success in scrapbooks of the same last name is not exactly a novelty in sports lore.

The Crisps, though, are different, fielding an entire team of world-class successes.

Loyce Crisp, Coco's father, rose to the ranks of professional boxing in his late teenage years. Loyce took on the alias "Sugar" Crisp in the boxing circuit, arguably a dual tribute to Sugar Ray Robinson and the honey-flavored puff wheat cereal that later was re-named Super Golden Crisp. Golden, though, his gloves were not: The 19-year-old prize fighter has told Coco that he "saw hamburgers" dancing in front of his eyes after an overhand right hook knocked him out in his first professional bout.

"He said he went down so hard his legs went above his head," Crisp told Sports Illustrated's Lisa Altobelli. "That's when he decided that boxing wasn't for him."

Still, the fight stayed in Loyce long after his heavyweight career ended, as he opened a burger joint called the Quick N Split in California and worked for years to support his family.

And if ever there were a thought that Loyce would not instill in his kin the necessary tools for competitive prosperity, along came Pamela Newton, an up-and-coming sprinter who married the boxer-turned-restaurateur and made the Crisp name synonymous with stardom in sports.

Age: 28

Los Angeles, Calif.

School: Pierce Junior College

MLB Teams:

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As Coco has told it, his mother was the "fastest woman in California coming out of high school" and was headed to the Junior Olympics before excessive training burned her out. The explanation for young Pamela's stringent regimen? None other than her father, Milton Newton, who was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Masters Hall of Fame in 2004 for his invention of the starting blocks used in the Olympics.

While the Crisp parents may have eased up a bit on such practices, they certainly were not without their own highly talented, highly prepared performers. Sheileah Crisp, Coco's sister, is a figure skater who has been competing since childhood and turned professional; a broken ankle ended her hopes at national stardom in 2002.

"I can do a waltz jump," Crisp told S.I. of his sister's talents. "I can skate backward. But I'm not graceful."

Of course, Red Sox fans would beg to differ, as they've watched Covelli Loyce Crisp float through the depths of Fenway Park's outfield like a skater in the midst of an all-too-familiar routine. They've also borne witness to the 28-year-old's prowess in the 30-yard-dash, as he covers the distance from bag to bag with ultimate determination.

But what about the boxer in Coco -- where can that be found?

Just ask the Rays' James Shields.

Corey Gottlieb is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.