The game of baseball has long been a family affair. Whether it was the DiMaggio brothers lighting up the stat sheets or back-to-back home runs by the Griffeys, baseball's bloodlines have always run deep.
That tradition continues in college baseball in 2018.
Let's take a look at some sons that had some famous fathers at the Major League level.
Kody Clemens, Texas
There is a long-standing tradition of the Clemens family at the University of Texas. Kody's father Roger pitched the Longhorns to a national championship in 1983. Known as The Rocket, of course, he went on to have a pretty good career in the big leagues, finishing with seven Cy Young Awards, one MVP Award, and 4,672 strikeouts, good for third-most in the history of the game. He also won two World Series, putting him in the rare club of players that have won both an MLB and College World Series.
"Growing up as a Clemens, I didn’t really understand it," Kody told NCAA.com." I wasn’t old enough to actually understand what my dad was doing, I just saw him as a normal dad. I always wish I was just a little older to realize that he was one of the best pitchers ever to play the game. Later in his career, I began to understand a bunch of different aspects of the game because I was always around in the dugouts and clubhouses. I got to talk to [Derek] Jeter, Robinson Cano, Bernie Williams. I think that having the opportunity to talk to players like that about the game of baseball and having them around my life has really helped me in certain aspects of the game."
Kody had two brothers find their way to professional baseball, as well. Koby skipped college and was drafted directly into the minor leagues and Kacy played with his brother for a few seasons before being selected in the eighth round of last season’s MLB Draft. He is currently off to a hot start in a Blue Jays system deep with the father-son tradition, joining Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio as some of the Blue Jays more promising prospects.
"I always wanted to be a Longhorn," Kody said. "Knowing that my dad played for the Horns really pushed me to follow in his footsteps and was and has been a goal of mine. Then when I found out Kacy got a scholarship to play at UT, I worked as hard as I could to be able to play with him again. I think that being able to play with my brother in High School was something special, but then to be able to do it at the college level, that is something that not many can say they’ve ever done. It was a lot of fun and I will remember it for the rest of my life."
The youngest of The Rocket's four boys (Kory is a chef in Texas), Kody is having a career season for No. 24 Texas. Kody had the dreaded Tommy John surgery after his freshman season and hardly looked himself in 2017, limited to designated hitter duties. Now, fully healthy, Kody is raking once again. He leads the Longhorns in batting average (.331), runs (43), home runs (13), RBI (49), slugging percentage (.651), and on-base percentage (.438). Kody is answering every question, proving he is healthy and one of the best hitters in college baseball this season. The only question left is if he can hit his dad's signature stuff.
"Wow, this is a tough one," Kody said. "I know that I will be able to hit his fastball, but if he had his split in 1983 and was confident enough to throw it in a 3-2 count, he might get me. Overall, we both would be competing to win that matchup. That’s how we are."
Texas is all about the family business that is baseball. Junior right-handed pitcher Nolan Kingham watched his brother Nick take a perfect game into the seventh inning in his Pittsburgh Pirates debut on Sunday, April 29.
Griffin Conine, Duke
Jeff Conine etched out quite the MLB career for himself for a 58th-round draft pick out of UCLA. When it was all said and done, he finished his 17-year career with a .285/.342/.443 slash line and is one of the greatest Florida Marlins in the history of the franchise. He was a key piece in both of the Marlins' World Series wins, hitting .333 in the 2003 victory over the New York Yankees.
Here is OF Griffin Conine's HR swing from earlier tonight. I'd love to know all the stats on it like launch angle and exit velo. It was a rocket. #mlbdraft @d1baseball @DukeBASE pic.twitter.com/V4AxBhnzaz— Nathan Rode (@NathanRode) March 10, 2018
His son Griffin has been a key piece for the No. 13 Duke Blue Devils this year, coming off a big 2017 and summer on the Cape. He honed into his power slugging nine home runs in the regular season for the Cotuit Kettleers to go along with one in the All Star Game and another in the playoffs. This season he leads Duke in home runs with eight bombs.
“It’s more laid back than people probably think,” Conine told NCAA.com earlier this season of his relationship with his father. “If things are going well, he’ll lay off and let me do my thing. I’ll ask him questions mostly about approach stuff, the mental side and things like that. It’s awesome to have that tool to lean on. I remember last season, I was kind of struggling a little bit. He texted me a video of something he had seen. He said my hips were flying open, my head was flying open, and I think I was just trying to do too much. That little tweak, the next day I took the ball the other way and I got hot after that."
Darren Baker, Cal
Remember this play from the 2002 World Series?
J.T. Snow made one of the more memorable plays of that World Series, playing the role of the superhero and saving young Darren Baker from a near-certain collision at the plate. Darren, of course, was the batboy for the San Francisco Giants, and son to skipper Dusty Baker.
Now, Darren is bringing his baseball skills to Cal.
Dusty Baker was a two-time All-Star over his 19-year MLB career, and then became a three-time Manager of the Year in his post-playing days. After leading the Washington Nationals to back-to-back 90-plus win seasons and the playoffs, Dusty rejoined the Giants as a special advisor this season.
Like his father, Darren is a baseball lifer, growing up around the game. Now he's a freshman and the starting second baseman for the California Golden Bears. He’s held his own in his debut season, hitting .283 with six doubles and one home run.
Chase Maddux, UNLV
Maddux has baseball bloodlines all over his family tree. His father is the legendary Greg Maddux, owner of four straight Cy Young Awards, four ERA titles, 355 career wins, 18 Gold Gloves and one plaque in Cooperstown, N.Y. His uncle Mike was a big-league pitcher for 15 seasons, primarily coming out of the bullpen. He continues to be a part of Major League Baseball, serving as the pitching coach for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Chase is currently in the starting rotation for the Rebels. The righthander is 3-5 across 10 starts but has posted a very respectable 3.61 ERA. He doesn’t quite have the command that his father did, but then again, who does? The younger Maddux has struck out 16 and walked 15 on the season.
JJ Schwarz, Florida
JJ erupted onto the scene in Gainesville with a Freshman First-Team All-American season hitting .332 with 18 home runs. Splitting his time between catcher, first base, and designated hitter, Schwarz led the Gators in home runs (12) and was second in doubles (12) last year, helping to power Florida to its first national championship in 2017. While Schwarz has become known for his bat, it was his play in the field that may have been most memorable in last year's championship run.
Kowar gets the second out on a throw out at home. What a play by JJ Schwarz. pic.twitter.com/0QanG9NJHs— InAllKindsOfWeather.com (@AllKindsWeather) June 28, 2017
He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays but decided to return for one more go at Omaha glory. He is hitting .310 with 10 home runs on the season.
Schwarz’s father made it to the big leagues as a pitcher in the early 1990s, appearing in 54 games for the Chicago White Sox and California Angels. His sister Taylor is a former Gator herself, playing first base for the softball team.
Peyton Glavine, Auburn
Peyton’s collegiate career has not started off as smoothly as he may have liked, but the Glavine bloodlines are one of the fun stories in baseball.
Peyton’s father Tom, of course, was a Hall of Fame pitcher for the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets. He racked up 305 wins behind five 20-win seasons, picking up two Cy Young Awards along the way. Some people don’t know that Peyton had an uncle that played baseball as well. Mike Glavine didn’t have a very long big-league career, just seven at-bats to be precise. But he picked up his lone career hit as a member of the New York Mets, teammates with his brother Tom.
Flash forward to 2018. Young Peyton is a lefty freshman who has been used sparingly this season out of the bullpen. One of those appearances was against Northeastern back in March. Northeastern’s head coach happens to be his uncle Mike.
Logan Davidson, Clemson
Logan Davidson - 11 hits, nine runs in five games this week.— Clemson Baseball (@ClemsonBaseball) April 29, 2018
Kyle Wilkie - 11-game hitting streak. pic.twitter.com/MDFWmAAiHB
Another fun father-son duo is the Davidsons. Logan's father Mark had a monster season in 1982 with Clemson, hitting .336 with eight home runs, 16 doubles, 18 stolen bases and 50 RBIs. He parlayed that into a six-year big-league career in which he won a World Series ring with the Minnesota Twins in his best season as a pro. Logan, a sophomore shortstop, is enjoying a fine 2018, currently hitting .270 with eight home runs and 10 doubles. It shouldn't come as a surprise. Mark is back in Clemson, helping mentor his son as an assistant coach.
The most random honorable mention award...
Zack Hess, LSU: Hess is enjoying a solid season on the bump for the LSU Tigers. While his father Karl may not have ties to Major League Baseball, the duo definitely earns a nod to this NCAA.com list. Karl is an NCAA basketball referee at the Division I level.
Other notable college baseball bloodlines:
|Current Player||School||Former Player||Related|
|Tristan Pompey||Kentucky||Dalton Pompey (in Blue Jays organization)||Brother|
|Grae Kessinger||Ole Miss||Don Kessinger (six-time All-Star in 16-year MLB career)||Grandfather|
|A.J. Graffanino||Washington||Tony Graffanino (13-year MLB career with seven teams)||Father|
|Hunter Bishop||Arizona State||Braden Bishop (in Seattle Mariners system)||Brother|
|Bo Weiss||North Carolina||Walt Weiss (1988 AL Rookie of the Year and former manager)||Father|
|Alek Manoah||West Virginia||Erik Manoah, Jr. (currently in Angels system)||Brother|
|Cole Percival||UC Riverside||Troy Percival (racked up 358 saves in 13-year MLB career)||Father|
|Stephen Kolek||Texas A&M||Tyler Kolek (Second overall pick in 2014 MLB Draft)||Brother|
|Jake McCarthy||Virginia||Joe McCarthy, Sr. and Jr. (Joe, Jr. currently in Rays system)||Father, Brother|