By Richard Cuicchi | January 21, 2013 at 02:41 PM EST | 1 comment
In my recent book, Family Ties: A Comprehensive Collection of Facts and Trivia About Baseball’s Relatives, I made a case for the Hairston Family being the “first family of baseball." I’m referring to Sam Hairston, father of major leaguers John and Jerry Sr; and Jerry Sr. , father of current major leaguers Jerry Jr. and Scott. Sam also had other children and grandchildren who were drafted or played in the minors, making a total of ten family members in Organized Baseball. The Hairstons are one of only four families to have three generations of players in the major leagues, and one of only two families to have two sets of brothers in the major leagues.
The recent death of Lee MacPhail reminds us that his baseball family was comprised of four generations of executives and front-office personnel for various major league clubs over a period of almost 80 years. Lee is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, as is his father, Larry. They are the only father-son combination to have such a distinction. Lee’s son, Andy, has been a highly successful executive for several major league teams, most notably as general manager of the Minnesota Twins franchise for whom he helped guide to two World Series championships. Lee’s son, Lee III, and his grandson, Lee IV, have also been involved in front-office operations of major and minor league teams.
Certainly, the MacPhail name is more recognizable than the Hairston name. As pointed out in my book, none of the Hairston players achieved All-Star or “league leader” status. Other player-families did—the DiMaggios (Joe, Dominic, and Vince), the Boyers (Ken, Clete, and Cloyd), the Boones (Ray, Bob, Bret, and Aaron), the Bells (Gus, Buddy, David, and Mike) and the Ripkens (Cal Sr., Cal Jr., and Billy).
The MacPhails were actually my runner-up selection to the Hairstons for “first family” honors. I wound up giving the edge to players versus executives. What do you think?