BOSTON (AP) — Growing up as the son of a major league ballplayer, Terry Francona knew the rules: “Talk only when spoken to, or I’d be spanked.”
When Francona became a big league manager and his players would bring their kids around, he ran a more hospitable clubhouse.
“There used to be a big sign that said ‘No kids,’ or whatever,” said Francona, who followed his father, Tito, to the majors and is now the Cleveland Guardians’ manager. “My rule was: You can come in, but you’ve got to come in and say ‘Hello’ to me.”
Major league clubhouses are more welcoming to the children of players these days — and not just to toddlers raiding the bubble gum bin. Some of those tykes turn out to big league ballplayers themselves.
In all, more than two dozen major league offspring are on AL or NL rosters this year. The Blue Jays alone have three, the sons of Hall of Famers Craig Biggio (Cavan) and Vladimir Guerrero (Vlad Jr.) and Bo Bichette, whose father, Dante, was a four-time All-Star with the Rockies.
“Everything I know about baseball, I learned from him,” said the younger Bichette, whose dad was the Blue Jays’ hitting coach before he stepped down so he could work with his son during the lockout.
“I was super grateful for my dad,” he said. “But at the same time, just wanting to be myself out there. Play as hard as I can. Not necessarily make a name for myself, but just be my own player.”
With a boost from genetics, access to good coaching and equipment — and certainly a little name recognition, too — major league players’ offspring have long followed in their dads’ spike marks.
According to the Baseball Almanac, 252 sons of major leaguers have made it on their own, from Cubs left-hander Jack Doscher in 1903 to Roger Clemens’ son…