Toronto Blue Jays: MLB history transcends generations

Major League Baseball transcends generations, as evidenced by the Toronto Blue Jays second generation infield on Friday.

On July 24, which was Opening Day for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, the Jays top of the order and starting infield were all sons of former major league ballplayers. It was only the second time in baseball history that, at the same time, all four infielders were the sons of ex-pro ballplayers, but it had never happened on an Opening Day or while batting 1-4 in the starting lineup.

Shortstop Bo Bichette, second baseman Cavan Biggio, first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and third baseman Travis Shaw all come from MLB pedigree. In 2012, the Los Angeles Dodgers ran out Scott Van Slyke (son of Andy) at first, Jerry Hairston Jr. (son of Jerry Sr.) at second, Dee Gordon (son of reliever Tom) at shortstop and third baseman Ivan DeJesus Jr. (son of infielder Ivan Sr.) in the same game. For good measure, the son of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn Sr., Tony Jr., was in centerfield.

Bo Bichette is the son of Dante, who primarily played with the Colorado Rockies and hit .299 with 274 HRs in a 14-year career. Cavan Biggio and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. are the offspring of Hall of Famers Craig and Vlad Sr. Travis Shaw’s father Jeff played for 12 years with five teams, was a two-time All-Star and led the National League in saves with 42 in 1997 as a member of the Cincinnati Reds.

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Toronto’s cast of budding stars makes one think of other family legacies. Father Bobby and son Barry Bonds hit 1,094 major league home runs. Brothers Henry and Tommie Aaron had 769 home runs between them. Of course, the legendary “Hammerin’ Hank” had 755 of them.

Ray, Bob, Aaron, and Bret Boone are a baseball trilogy. Hall of Famer Phil and brother Joe Niekro had 539 wins and played a total of 46 seasons combined. They faced each other 10 times. Phil’s son Lance had 17 homers in parts of four seasons with the San Francisco Giants in the mid-2000s.

Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry and brother Jim pitched against each other in 1973. Hall of Famer Greg Maddux faced brother Mike twice. Ramon Martinez beat Hall of Fame brother Pedro 2-1 in their only one-on-one meeting in 1996. And there were other sibling matchups over time.

Famously, on Sept. 14, 1990, Ken Griffey and Hall of Famer Ken Jr. hit back-to-back home runs for the Seattle Mariners to became the first father-son team to achieve that feat. Together, they hit 782 long balls. On Sept. 15, 1963, Felipe, Matty, and Jesus Alou accomplished a first when they played together in the same outfield for the San Francisco Giants.

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And the list goes on. But for openers, the 2020 Toronto Blue Jays infield made baseball history and made their families proud.

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