Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

The greatest father-son duos in MLB history

@AndrewSimonMLB
June 16, 2019

You don't have to be the child of a Major Leaguer to become one yourself, but hey, it certainly doesn't hurt. Whether these sons grew up in big league clubhouses, benefited from their father's expert coaching, or simply inherited some good genes, it's hardly rare to see familiar names from

You don't have to be the child of a Major Leaguer to become one yourself, but hey, it certainly doesn't hurt.

Whether these sons grew up in big league clubhouses, benefited from their father's expert coaching, or simply inherited some good genes, it's hardly rare to see familiar names from a previous generation resurface in MLB.

The latest examples are in the Blue Jays' lineup most nights. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio debuted for Toronto this season and have made an immediate impact.

Guerrero is one of baseball's most highly touted prospects in years, but it would be a lot to expect this teenager to surpass his father. The elder Vladimir Guerrero was a second-ballot Hall of Fame inductee in 2018, capping a career that included nine All-Star selections, eight Silver Slugger Awards and 2004 American League MVP honors. Over 16 seasons with the Expos, Angels, Rangers and Orioles, Guerrero thrilled fans with his swing-at-everything style and rocket arm, posting a career .318 average with 449 homers and a 140 OPS+.

Vlad Jr. and Biggio (son of Hall of Famer Craig) joined current second-generation players such as Cam Bedrosian (son of Steve), Delino DeShields Jr., Dee Gordon (son of Tom), Dereck Rodríguez (son of Ivan), and Travis Shaw (son of Jeff). Fernando Tatis Jr., another 20-year-old son of a former big leaguer, is off to a great start with the Padres.

But each will have some work to do in order to qualify for this list of the best father-son duos in Major League history.

Baseball-Reference.com's Wins Above Replacement (WAR) was used as a rough guideline, with preference given to pairs in which both players achieved significant success. That's why each player on the list accrued at least 10 career WAR, while some other duos that include a Hall of Famer (Yogi Berra, Tony Gwynn, Tony Perez and Tim Raines, for example) were not included.

All pairs are listed with the father first, and each player's career WAR in parenthesis.

1. Bobby Bonds (57.9) and Barry Bonds (162.8)

No player in MLB history has racked up more WAR as a position player than the younger Bonds, a seven-time MVP Award winner who owns the single-season and career home run records and pretty much rewrote baseball in the early 2000s. Only allegations of performance-enhancing drug use have kept him waiting for Cooperstown's call. And while Barry overshadows his father, Bobby shouldn't be underrated. The two Bondses are the only two players in history to combine for at least 300 career home runs with at least 400 steals, as well as the only two to go 20-20 in 10 different seasons.

2. Ken Griffey Sr. (34.5) and Ken Griffey Jr. (83.8)
This pair actually played together with the 1990-91 Mariners, famously smacking back-to-back home runs against the Angels on Sept. 14, 1990. At the time, Griffey Sr. was finishing up a 19-year career that included three All-Star selections and a pair of World Series rings with the Big Red Machine. While he was more steady than spectacular -- logging an OPS+ between 96 and 129 in 14 seasons -- his son became a megastar. With 630 home runs and 10 Gold Glove Awards, Griffey Jr. cruised into Cooperstown on the first ballot in 2016.

3. Felipe Alou (42.2) and Moises Alou (39.9)
This isn't even the whole baseball family. Felipe's brothers, Jesus and Matty, both played 15 seasons in the Majors, with the latter also producing more than 20 WAR. Their cousin Jose Sosa, pitched briefly in MLB, and their nephew Mel Rojas pitched 10 seasons and collected 126 saves. But just between the two of them, Felipe and Moises played 34 MLB seasons and racked up more than 4,200 hits, 500 home runs and 750 doubles. And that doesn't include Felipe's 14 years as a manager in Montreal and San Francisco.

4. Ray Boone (25.7) and Bob Boone (27.4)
There actually have been four big league Boones across three generations, and this pair could just as easily include either of Bob's sons, Bret (22.8 WAR) or Aaron (13.5 WAR), who's also a manager with the Yankees. Bob, a seven-time Gold Glove Award winner, played 19 MLB seasons and ranks third all-time with 2,225 career games caught. His father, Ray, posted a 114 OPS+ in 13 seasons as an infielder, snagging a pair of All-Star selections.

5. Mel Stottlemyre (40.8) and Todd Stottlemyre (21.1)
For some reason, MLB's father/son duos are heavily tilted toward position players, with the Stottlemyres two of just four pitchers on this list. Mel made five All-Star teams in 11 seasons with the Yankees and posted a career 112 ERA+, but he might have been even better as a pitching coach, earning five World Series rings in that role with the Yanks after winning one with the Mets. Mel also had two sons pitch in the Majors, and while Mel Jr. lasted just one season, Todd carved out a 14-year career in which he threw more than 2,000 innings and won rings with the 1992 and '93 Blue Jays.

6. Jose Cruz (54.4) and Jose Cruz Jr. (19.5)
Like Felipe Alou, Jose Cruz was one of a trio of MLB brothers, with Hector spending nine seasons in the bigs and Tommy getting a couple cups of coffee. Jose played 19 MLB seasons, including 13 with the Astros, and he ranks among that franchise's all-time leaders in many offensive categories, including third in WAR, hits, and stolen bases, and first in triples. His son became the third overall pick in the 1995 Draft and put together a solid 12-year career of his own, including a 30-30 campaign for Toronto in 2001.

7. Gus Bell (15.4) and Buddy Bell (66.3)
Like the Boones, the Bells have three generations of Major Leaguers, the most recent of which features brothers (David and Mike). While David essentially equaled Gus' WAR total, Gus was a four-time All-Star outfielder with the Reds in the 1950s. Buddy made five Midsummer Classics himself, winning six Gold Glove Awards at the hot corner and producing four seasons of at least 6 WAR. Only nine players who have spent at least two-thirds of their career at third base have accrued more value.

8. Sandy Alomar (10.5) and Roberto Alomar (67.1)
Mainly a second baseman, Sandy Alomar generated most of his value from his glove and his baserunning over 15 seasons, recording 227 steals. Yet he had two sons who enjoyed even more successful careers, with the younger Sandy becoming a Rookie of the Year Award winner and six-time All-Star catcher, and Roberto developing into a Hall of Fame second baseman. The latter made 12 straight All-Star squads from 1990-2001, captured 10 Gold Glove Awards and won a pair of World Series titles with the 1992-93 Blue Jays.

9. Dizzy Trout (46.2) and Steve Trout (13.3)
While there's no relation to Mike Trout, these two did plenty well. Dizzy (given name: Paul) spent most of his 15-year career with the Tigers and pitched in more than 500 games. He was a two-time All-Star and finished as the AL MVP runner-up to teammate Hal Newhouser in 1944, when he led the AL with 40 starts, 33 complete games, 351 1/3 innings and a 2.12 ERA. The next year, Dizzy helped Detroit to a World Series victory over the Cubs. For his part, Steve was the eighth overall pick in the 1976 Draft by the White Sox and started more than 200 big league games over 12 seasons.

10. Cecil Fielder (17.2) and Prince Fielder (23.6)
Both father and son were imposing, powerful sluggers. Both, amazingly, finished with exactly 319 career home runs. Cecil placed second in the AL MVP race with the Tigers in both 1990 and '91, when he walloped a combined 95 home runs and drove in 265. Prince reached the 50-homer mark himself in 2007 and was an even more accomplished hitter than his father, with a career 134 OPS+. Unfortunately, a neck injury forced him into an early retirement at age 32 in 2016.

Some other notable pairs:
• Randy Hundley and Todd Hundley
• Julian Javier and Stan Javier
• Dave LaRoche and Adam LaRoche
• Vern Law and Vance Law
• Gary Matthews Sr. and Gary Matthews Jr.
• Hal McRae and Brian McRae

Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.