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Step up to the plate: Dishing out Thanksgiving faves

Compiled by asked big leaguers, coaches, broadcasters and execs what they like to see on the menu at Thanksgiving and for memories of their favorite dishes. Here's what we learned:

Darwin Barney, second baseman, Chicago Cubs
The second baseman's favorite dish? His mother's homemade stuffing. He wasn't sure what the secret ingredient was but said she doesn't use a stuffing mix and breaks the bread apart by hand.

"My mom makes it from scratch and it's the only thing I look forward to about Thanksgiving," Barney said. "They usually give me the easy job of corn or cranberry sauce."

Barney also clarified that his mother's stuffing isn't the only good thing about the holiday. The second baseman, who lives in Beaverton, Ore., in the offseason, also enjoys getting together with family at this time of year. But he loves the food.

"Her stuffing is my favorite thing about Thanksgiving," he said.

Bud Black, manager, San Diego Padres
"My favorite is the dressing -- with gravy. If you match that with turkey and green beans, then I'm good. Also, the next-day turkey sandwich is a must!"

Jeff Brantley, broadcaster, Cincinnati Reds
"This is truly my all-time favorite for ANY holiday dinner! Grits are certainly a classic southern recipe and my wife has the best garlic-cheese grits recipe around. We enjoy eating this recipe with our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and it is the one dish that I look forward to having this time of the year. This recipe is not a 'traditional' garlic-cheese grits recipe that you usually find in cookbooks. They generally want you to use the soft garlic cheese, found in a roll in the grocery store. This recipe calls for real cheddar cheese and garlic and it doesn't get much better than that! I know you won't find another recipe like it! Hope you enjoy!"
View the complete recipe

Mike Chernoff, assistant general manager, Cleveland Indians
"Pumpkin pie. Not even close for me. I love anything pumpkin, and what better way to culminate a great Thanksgiving feast than with a pumpkin dessert. The hardest part is saving enough room to enjoy it!"

Jim Deshaies, broadcaster, Chicago Cubs
"I'm a big fan of turnips while the rest of the clan leans more toward the squash. My wife is convinced that there is nothing better than squash and cranberries mixed together. Gravy is my favorite food group, so anything slathered in gravy gets the job done for me."

Tyler Flowers, catcher, Chicago White Sox
"My mom made [stuffing with a little gravy on top]. It's something I've had since I was a kid. So, it's sentimental. In addition to that, it tastes good."

Joe Girardi, manager, New York Yankees
"My father used to make something called a pretzel salad. We used to laugh at it because it had nothing to do with salad. The pretzels were on the bottom, filled with butter to keep it together. There was strawberry Jell-O with fresh strawberries and cream cheese, and whipped cream mixed together on top. It was unbelievable. There was nothing salad about it. The fact that I was eating a salad that tasted so good, I loved it."

Jim Hunter, broadcaster, Baltimore Orioles
Hunter's favorite part about Thanksgiving isn't the turkey or mashed potatoes, but an old family tradition of the lesser-known turnip.

"My mom used to make them every Thanksgiving," Hunter said. The turnips were a treat. They resemble mashed potatoes but are much more difficult to make. My mom had a knack of making them sweeter, probably with lots of butter, which made them very tasty.

Turnips are difficult to make because they are difficult to cut. I don't get them as often anymore because I'm one of the few in my family that likes them. But it is still a big favorite of mine."

Javier Lopez, pitcher, San Francisco Giants
"I would have to say my favorite Thanksgiving dish is my mother-in-law's stuffing. She makes a tremendous stuffing with bread, sausage, a little bit of cheese and other terrible things for you. It's baked, and it's awesome."

Lucas Luetge, pitcher, Seattle Mariners
The Mariners reliever gathers with his relatives every Thanksgiving in Industry, Texas. From a family that grew up showing pigs at local FFA events and state fairs during his high school days, it's not surprising there's plenty of cooking and eating happening on Turkey Day at the Luetges.

"Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because of all the food!" Luetge said. "Also because it's that time of the year when my brothers and I compete in everything possible to determine who the alpha male is in the family (obviously me). My favorite food is my Granny's homemade coconut cream pie. It is amazing! My wife once tried to make it, but let's be honest, nobody can make it like grandma."

Jose Mota, broadcaster, Los Angeles Angels
"Looking forward to my wife's pecan-encrusted sweet potato casserole -- and of course turkey roasted the Mota way."

Don Orsillo, broadcaster, Boston Red Sox
"I only allow myself to eat [deviled eggs] once a year. Otherwise it could turn into a problem."

Hector Santiago, pitcher, Chicago White Sox
"I think we've had [apple pie] since we were little kids at the table. So, every year it's something we always get. It's what you wait for after you are done eating."

Derek Shelton, hitting coach, Tampa Bay Rays
Shelton said his wife, Ali's, green bean casserole is the dish he's most eager to see on his family's Thanksgiving table.

The special ingredient for pulling this savory selection together is a can of Campbell's Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup. Other ingredients include milk, soy sauce, black pepper, green beans and french-fried onions. Find the recipe at

Eric Young Jr., outfielder, New York Mets
"My favorite dish for Thanksgiving is ham, turkey, mac and cheese, and greens. Of course I have a lot of other stuff on my plate, but for some reason those four items together give me the feel of home, family, and being thankful of each and all my blessings."