06/09/2004 7:14 PM ET
Baseball is all relative for many
Bloodlines never more evident than during draft
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- On another day the game got a little younger, with the next generation emerging from the baseball womb, fans had a reason to feel a lot older.
They understand the principle behind having your life flash in front of your eyes. But do yesteryear's images have to so quickly become today's haunting memories?
During the First-Year Player Draft, absolutely. Every year, we see the baton passed between old heroes and new hopefuls. Waves of nostalgia crash ashore with every round.
Remember that tyke getting a ride on papa Jim Burt's shoulders as the Giants' defensive lineman celebrated the Super Bowl XXI victory?
Yep, that's little Jimmy Burt, the first baseman drafted in the 19th round by the New York Mets.
Recall Game 7 of the 1985 World Series, the Royals' Bret Saberhagen blanking St. Louis in-between mugging for the camera for his wife, who had just delivered the couple's first son?
Well, that newborn celebrity, Drew Saberhagen, is the first baseman drafted in the 38th round by Oakland.
Genes are as big a part of Draft Day as scouting reports and camera crews in your living room. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree -- unless the sons of some former big leaguers are taking a whack at it.
Not all Famous Sons grew up with baseball in their blood.
As did Burt, Matt Tuiasosopo gravitated to baseball from a football background. Dad Manu was a defensive lineman
at both UCLA and the NFL, and brother Marques is an Oakland Raiders quarterback.
And not all notable bloodlines trace from father to son. In the draft, it's all relative.
Among brothers ... Jered Weaver and Stephen Drew of course were the First (Round) Brothers, of Jeff, and J.D. and Tim, respectively; Eric (Cubs - eighth round) and Cory (Cubs outfield) Patterson; Daryl (Toronto - 23rd) and Aaron (A's starter) Harang; Ivan (Rangers - 50th) and Erasmo (Rangers lefty) Ramirez.
Among even brothers-in-law ... Josh Baker (Milwaukee -- fourth) and Lance Berkman, of the Houston Killer B's.
Among various other kin ... Freddy (Texas - 18th) is the nephew of former Astros pepper pot Dickie Thon, and Yusuf (Oakland - 34th) is the nephew of memorable World Series hero Joe Carter.
But, for the most part, in the draft we see a classic case of fathers passing on their gifts to their sons. It is an unending parade, and we are on the reviewing stand.
So here is our annual rundown of Major League heirs, in their draft order (with a reminder of their forebears' accomplishments).
Neil Walker, C, Pine Richlan HS, Gibsonia, Pa., first round by Pittsburgh Pirates. (Son of Tom, right-hander 1972-77. Top achievement: 7-5 with four saves with 1973 Expos.)
Joshua Johnson, SS, Tampa, Fla., third round by Royals. (Son of Larry Doby Johnson, catcher 1972-78. Top achievement: Drove in a run for '75 Expos -- his only career RBI.)
Ryan Webb, RHP, Clearwater College, fourth round by Oakland A's. (Son of Hank, 1972-77 right-hander. Top achievement: 7-6 as a swingman for the 1975 Mets.)
Sean Gamble, OF, Auburn University, sixth round by Phillies. (Son of Oscar, outfielder 1969-1985. Top achievement: That Afro; and 10 seasons of double-figure home runs.
John Sawatski, LHP, University of Kansas, eighth round by Twins. (Grandson of Carl, catcher 1948-63 Top achievement: Backup catcher to Del Crandall on 1957 World Series champion Braves.)
Dustin Hahn, 3B, Sacramento City College, ninth round by Colorado. (Son of Don, outfielder 1969-75. Top achievement: Pressed into regular duty for the Mets in the 1973 World Series, hit .241 in seven games.)
Rod Allen, OF, Oklahoma State U., 12th round by Yankees. (Son of Rod, outfielder 1983-84, 1988. Top achievement: Career consisted of total of 50 at-bats with three different AL teams.)
Daron Roberts, OF, Cal State San Bernardino, 12th round by White Sox. (Son of Dave, infielder-outfielder 1972-82. Top achievement: Overall No. 1 pick in the 1972 Draft, by San Diego.)
Tim Hulett, 2B, Auburn University, 14th round by Rangers. (Son of Tim, infielder 1983-95. Top achievement: 17 homers for '86 White Sox; never hit more than seven in any other season.)
Eli Iorg, OF, University of Tennessee, 14th round by Cubs. (Son of Garth, infielder 1978-87. Top achievement: Career-best .312
average for 1985 division-titlist Blue Jays.)
Will Venable,, OF, Princeton University, 15th round by Orioles. (Son of Max, outfielder 1979-91. Top achievement: Feared speed threat on the bench of four different teams, converted 27 of 32 steal attempts in a four-year span.)
Garth Iorg, SS, Knoxville, Tenn., 16th round by Devil Rays. (Son of Garth. Top achievement update: Having two sons taken in consecutive rounds of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft.)
Joey McLaughlin, RHP, Oklahoma City College, 18th round by Blue Jays. (Son of Joey, right-hander 1977-84. Top achievement: 15-10 for the 1982-83 Toronto teams which turned the corner for the franchise.)
Jack Arroyo, 2B, Cal State Sacramento, 18th round by Mariners.(Son of Rudy, left-hander 1971 St. Louis. Top achievement: Finished three of the nine MLB games in which he appeared.)
Benjamin Petralli, C, Weatherford, Texas, 26th round by Dodgers. (Son of Geno, infielder-catcher 1982-93. Top achievement: Three .300 seasons as an invaluable lefty bat off the bench.)
Frank Viola, RHP, Florida Community College, 29th round by White Sox. (Son of Frank, left-hander 1982-96. Top achievement: Two-time 20-game winner and 17-10 for Minnesota's 1987 World Series champs.)
Walter Backman, SS, Prineville, Ore., 30th round by Rangers. (Son of Wally, infielder 1980-93. Top achievement: 62 steals for 1984-85 Mets.)
Kenneth Williams, OF, Plainfield, Ill., 36th round by White Sox. (Son of Ken, outfielder 1986-91. Top achievement: .281-11-50 for '87 Pale Hose represented virtually half of his career output.)
Andrew Romine, SS, Lake Forest, Calif., 36th round by Phillies. (Son of Kevin, outfielder 1985-91. Top achievement: Drove in 23 runs for '89 Red Sox.)
James Russell, LHP, Colleyville, Texas, 37th round by Mariners. (Son of Jeff, right-hander 1983-96. Top achievement: Four 30-save seasons, with three different teams.)
Nick Francona, LHP, Yardley, Pa., 40th round by Boston. (Son of Terry, infielder 1981-90 and current
Red Sox manager. Top achievement: Terrific contact hitter, striking out once every six games.)
Andrew Gale, RHP, Durham, N.H., 43rd round by Expos. (Son of Rich, right-hander 1978-84. Top achievement: 14-8 with nine complete games as rookie with 1978 Royals.)
Tyler Latham, RHP, Trussville, Ala., 43rd round by Red Sox. (Son of Bill, left-hander 1985-86. Top achievement: Won his only game with 1985 Mets.)
Grant Harper, OF, San Pedro, Calif., 44th round by Angels. (Son of Brian, catcher 1979-95. Top achievement: After riding the benches of five different teams for a decade, had a glorious 1989-93 breakout as the Twins' catcher, batting .300-plus while fanning only 116 times in 2,337 at-bats.)
Phil Valle, SS, Clyde Hill, Wash., 44th round by Expos. (Son of Dave, catcher 1984-94. Top achievement: Terrific on-field general who nurtured Randy Johnson over-the-top with the early '90s Mariners.)
Erik Morris, C, Michigan State, 44th round by Phillies. (Son of Jack, right-hander 1977-94. Top achievement: 254-game winner whose 10-inning shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series will endure as legend.)
Beau Mills, 3B, Visalia, Calif., 44th round by Red sox. (Son of Brad, third baseman 1980-83. Top achievement: Walked in his only postseason plate appearance, for Expos in 1981 Division Series.)
Brandon Roberts, OF, University of Michigan, 45th round by Reds. (Son of Leon, outfielder 1974-84. Top achievement: .301-22-92, all career bests, with 1978 Mariners.)
Chris Kelly, RHP, Jacksonville University, 46th round by Devil Rays. (Son of Pat, catcher 1980 Blue Jays. Top achievement: Caught three games for Jays, the extent of his career.)
Peter Vukovich, C, Clarion University, 48th round by White Sox. (Son of Pete, right-hander 1975-86. Top achievement: The other side of the Harvey's Wallbangers coin, going 32-10 with Harvey Kuenn's 1981-82 heavy-hitting Brewers.)
|Negotiations between the Angels and Jered Weaver are taking "baby steps." (Jose Sanchez/AP)
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.