Happy Father’s Day everyone! Now we’ve all heard the stories and seen the pictures of dads and their tots playing catch, shootin’ around, etc etc. Many dads (And moms. Don’t bite my head because I said that. It is Father’s Day after all) are key components to the athletic success of their children. Many of these star athletes go on to play at a professional level, and their dads, or their sons/daughters, go that route too.
Below you will find some of the best Father/Child duos throughout sports history. These are by no means all of them, but a good round up of the best. And if you happy to be at a dinner/brunch/afternoon siesta with your guy and a bunch of dads this Father’s Day and the conversation turns to “so and so and their pop,” go ahead, rattle ’em off like nobody’s business.
Starting with America’s pastime, baseball, you have one of the most famous father and son teams of all time, the Griffeys. Ken Griffrey, Sr. was part of the 1975 and 1976 World Series Champion Cincinnatti Reds. He was a 3-time All-Star and won the coveted All-Star MVP award in his last All-Star appearance in 1980 (I can’t honestly speak to how coveted the All-Star MVP award is, adds to the drama of the article though right?) Son Ken Griffey, Jr. came into the league in 1990, won the Rookie of the Year Award and that same year, took the outfield with his dad (first and last time that’s ever happened), as both were members of the Seattle Mariners ball club. On September 4, 1990, the pair hit back-to-back home runs off Angels pitcher Kirk McCaskill, something no other father/son duo has been able to do since. Ever. Who knows if it’ll ever happen again. Anyone wanna place a bet?
Another baseball fam, The Boones, are somewhat of an irregular, and when I say irregular, I’m saying that they didn’t stop at 2 if ya know what I mean. Actually, I really mean that 3 generations of the family have played in the major leagues. Poppa Ray Boone (and when I say that I mean Grandpa Boone) played for 13 years in the majors, making 2 All-Star teams along the way. Son Robert Raymond Boone was drafted 9 years later by the Philadelphia Phillies. He won 5 Gold Gloves (outstanding fielding performance award) and made the All-Star Team 4 times throughout his career. Daddy Boone had two sons, Aaron and Bret, that rounded out the Boone baseball generation line (No words as to whether or not Aaron and Bret’s sons will continue the legacy). Bret is a 3-time All Star, a 4-time Gold Glove Winner, and 2 time Silver Slugger award winner. Bret was a guest announcer when brother Aaron hit his famous walk-off home run that sent his then team, the New York Yankees, to the World Series. Aside from that famous home run, Aaron played second fiddle to brother Bret when it came to awards, being named an All-Star in only 2003.
So hockey, which may just be the best sport, ever, has some of the best father/sons tandems to ever grace the sporting world.
First up, the Howes. The archduke of the hockey royal family, Gordie Howe, is revered by some as the greatest hockey player of all time and earned himself the nickname “Mr. Hockey,” (his wife even got a nickname too, Mrs. Hockey. I honestly have no idea where they came up with that. If you happen to know, please do me a favor and fill me in.) Gordie Howe won 4 Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings, 6 Hart Trophies (MVP), 6 Art Ross titles (leading scorer) during his carer and was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 1972. Gordie Howe is also the only player in history to play in 5 different decades. And one more thing about Mister Hockey over here, he has a special type of hat trick named after him. Ok so a regular hat trick occurs when a player scores 3 goals. The Gordie Howe variation is when a player scores a goal, records an assist, and gets in a fight, all in one game (I definitely like his better). Mr. and Mrs. Hockey went on to have 3 sons, 2 of which followed in dad’s footsteps. And Mrs. Hockey helped, she was one of the founders of the Detroit Junior Red Wings (a junior hockey team). Son Marty Howe first played with the Toronto Marlboros of the Ontario Hockey Assocation and got his taste of NHL glory in 1979 with the Boston Whalers. He also played for the Boston Bruins in 1982. Marty’s Brother and Gordie’s son Mark played 16 seasons in the NHL and was heavily touted as one of the best two-way defensemen (excels at both offense and defensive positions) of the 1980s and a 3-time runner up for the Norris Trophy (top defenseman) And one more Howe to stir the pot, Uncle Vic (uncle to Mark and Marty that is) played for a number of different teams from 1948-1957.
And then you have the Hulls, another one of hockey’s royal families. Bobby Hull, another one in the group of “the greatest of all time,” was known for his hair and his speed. Not even joking, his nickname was “The Golden Jet.” Bobby played in both the National Hockey League and the World Hockey Association during his career. In his first season, he finished second in rookie of the year voting and during his 3rd, he helped the Chicago Blackhawks win their first Stanley Cup in 23 years. Bobby had 4 children, 3 guys and a gal, the youngest son being the illustrious “Golden Brett,” Brett Hull. Baby Hull finished his career in a limelight all his own as the player with the 3rd highest goal total in NHL history. Together, father and son have set quite a few records. They are the only tandem to score both 50 goals in a season and have at least 600 career goals, the only ones to win the Hart Trophy (MVP again) and Lady Byng (sportsmanlike) Trophy and last but not least, they are the only twosome to have both of their numbers retired. Another Hull, Bobby’s brother Dennis, was a speedster in his own right, notching over 300 career goals and at one point, playing alongside brother Bobby. Yeah, I’d say them Hulls done good. (Picture below is not either of the famous hockey families. I think. Thanks Google Images for the lack of captions.)
Over on the gridiron (football field) we have the Mannings. Daddy Archie Manning was a good football player in the sense that he made the NFL, a not so good football player when you consider that for all seasons that he played, he was never on a team with a winning record or that made the playoffs. Archie and wife Olivia had 3 sons, one of which played football in high school, one who is considered to be the greatest quarterback playing the game today, and another who has won 2 Super Bowls. Cooper Manning, the oldest of the Manning brothers, was set to start the family football legacy off right, a high school All-Star and a hot prospect for the University of Mississippi, when unfortunately at the age of 18, he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis. This put an end right there to his playing days. Middle son Peyton to be the greatest quarterback playing today (and the ones who don’t think that I’m sorry are just dumb) and is with out a doubt one of the greatest of all time. You may remember him from my previous post as the new quarterback of the Denver Broncos that sent dear ole Tim Tebow to New York. But that’s neither here nor there so back to the Mannings. Peyton has won more MVP awards than any other player and won his first Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts in 2007. The last son, Eli, is a 2-time Super Bowl winner with the New York Giants. Eli made a name for himself early on in his career after being drafted first-overall by the San Diego Chargers, a team he and dad Archie were very vocal in their opposition towards. Not that you had to guess, but Eli was a Charger for a very, very short time.
We’ll round out this post with the only father/daughter tandem on this page. And even though it’s the only one, it’s a doozy. Even if you’ve never watched a Muhammad Ali fight, I’d be willing to bet you’ve heard of him. Heck, even Hollywood has took a stab at telling his story. (Anyone remember it? One of Will Smith’s best performances. He’s way better in the dramas I’ve decided, he needs to stick with those. No more robots and traveling to the ends of the Earth. Unless him and Tommy Lee are up to something) Anyways, Muhammad Ali is considered to be the greatest boxer of all time. I mean his nickname is “The Greatest,” so, yeah. And you know that saying, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee?” Yep, straight from the mouth of the Greatest himself. Ali was famous for a few other things as well, namely his opposition to the Vietnam War and the charges of draft evasion that were brought against him that stripped him of some of his boxing titles. Ali would later appeal the charges and win. In 1984, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, a syndrome commonly caused by head trauma. Ali went on to have one heck of a personal life, with multiple children and multiple marriages. One of those children, daughter Laila, went on to be one of the best women boxers of all time. Father Muhammad was none too happy when she followed in his footsteps, and even spoke out against women boxing at one point, but at the end of the day, he supported her. Because that’s what dads do right? Also, image below is not, I repeat is not the Alis.
Sports are a way of bonding between parent and child, especially between dads and their kids (I know, I know, moms too). And now you have a quick rundown of some tandems that bonded so well, the kids followed in their father’s footsteps.
Here’s wishing you a wonderful Father’s Day. I hope you get to spend it with all the dad’s/grandpas/zaydes in your life. I’ll get my dad/grandparent time in, it’ll be over the phone but hey, it is what it is. And wherever the conversation may take you, just know that if dads and sports come up, you’ve got it in the bag!
Until next time,