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I was five years old when my dad took me to my first baseball game.
Old Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio was the scene. Even in 1986, "The Mistake by the Lake" was well past its prime. I believe Muni Stadium purists, like myself, defended the 78,000-seat paper weight by claiming it had character.
Municipal's aura attacked every fans' six senses. It doesn't get any better than a glob of spicy Stadium Mustard finding its final resting place on a ballpark dog. Perhaps it was the monstrous beams that obstructed the view of paying spectators or the feel of my leather mitt as I slid my hand in it ready to snare a foul ball. The scent of stale beer and the ripe odor of its after effects that wafted throughout the stadium could be bottled up and sold. We would brand it Nostalgia by Calvin Klein - your gift with any 50-dollar purchase from Higbees.
Now, the next interaction between my dad and I is fuzzy, but still remains one of my earliest memories.
Me: Dad, when do the vampires come out?
Dad: Vampires? No, you mean umpires.
Now I can't be sure, but I would be willing to bet, in all my infinite wisdom as a kindergartner, my reaction to my father's retort looked something similar to Junior's in the picture above. The old man was trying to take a moment to teach his young tot a thing about baseball. I knew better.
Me (a couple minutes later): Here come the Vampires!
Though my baseball career faded after 6th grade and my dad's after high school, Major League Baseball has embraced Father-Son duos for decades.
To celebrate Father's Day 2010, Whatifsports.com has concocted an hypothetical sandlot match-up. We have placed 25 fathers on one roster (San Diego Fathers) and 25 sons on the other (Phoenix Sons). Using our MLB Simulation engine and MLB Dream Team rosters, we want to see if the young whippersnappers can hang with their old men.
|San Diego Fathers Lineup|
|2||Sandy Alomar Sr.||2B|
|7||Ken Griffey Sr.||CF|
|9||Mel Stottlemyre Sr.||SP|
Known for his defense moreso than his offense, Alomar Sr. was voted to the All-Star game in 1970.
Bonds Away: 332 HRs and 1024 RBIs in 14 seasons
"Big Daddy" smacked 51 home runs for the Tigers in 1990. He followed that with 44 dingers in '91 and 35 bombs in '92.
I need to pass along a few roster notes before my inbox is blasted questioning the accuracy of this simulation. First, I'm sure we are missing some great father-son tandems, but we have a 25-man roster. Some patriarchs and their heirs to the family baseball throne were cut. Former Chicago White Sox pitcher, Ed Walsh, made the Fathers' roster. His son, Ed Jr. did not. Freddy Lindstrom also made the roster without his son, Chuck. Sandy Alomar Sr. produced two sons with impressive enough professional careers to take two spots on the Sons' roster. Though his dad was a manager, Cal Ripken was added to the Sons list, but is coming off the bench. Also, Luis Tiant's dad never played in MLB, but was statistically one of best players in the Negro Leagues. We selected each athlete based on their top statistical season.
|Phoenix Sons Lineup|
|2||Tony Gwynn Jr.||RF|
|3||Ken Griffey Jr.||CF|
|6||Sandy Alomar Jr.||C|
Roberto appeared in 12 consecutive All-Star games. His brother, Sandy, appeared in six.
Bonds Away: 762 HRs and 1996 RBIs in 22 seasons
Prince hit 50 home runs in just his 3rd MLB season. It took his dad 5 seasons to break 50. Both needed 573 at-bats to accomplish the feat.
MLB Fathers vs Sons
Win or lose this Father's Day exhibition, the Phoenix Sons' starting pitcher, Todd Stottlemyer already possessed bragging rights over his father, Mel. The former Blue Jays' pitcher won not one, but two World Series rings with Toronto. Dear old dad came up short in the 1964 World Series against St. Louis. Mel managed to meet the Cardinals' Bob Gibson three times that series. Unfortunately for the Yankees, the elder Stottlemyer was bested in Game 7 and the title traveled to St. Louis.
Mel had little issue with the Sons in the first inning. His son, however, felt the wrath of on Bonds, Fielder and the almighty power of Ben Gay. The old men roughed up Todd for four runs on three hits in the first. He faced all nine batters before getting his dad out on a fly out to left-center.
Benefiting from a four-run cushion, Mel mowed down the Sons in the second. Todd got two outs in the bottom half of the inning, but left a juicy pitch over the plate that Bobby Bonds deposited in the bleachers.
The Phoenix Sons were in trouble. Down 6-0 after two innings left little room for error the rest of the way. You thought dad's paddle was harsh; just wait until you have to hear him talk trash.
The Sons finally cracked the scoreboard in the fourth on a Sandy Alomar Jr. single scoring Barry Bonds.
Then in the 6th and 7th innings the Sons busted out the big bats. Remembering that chicks dig the long ball, Phoenix began to rally back. Alomar Jr. continued to produce for his team blasting a 2-run dinger to cut the Fathers' lead to three runs after six innings of play.
Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Bonds provided some fireworks prior to the 7th inning stretch. Junior's crush shot knocked Mel out of the game. Clinging to a one run lead, Floyd Bannister (father of Brian) entered the game for San Diego. His first batter was Bonds. His last batter was Bonds. The slugger matched daddy's early inning achievement by blasting his own shot out of the park to tie the game at 6. Mike Bacsik Sr. took over for Bannister and recorded the final out of the inning.
The Sons' rally was short lived. Mike Bacsik Jr. had entered the game an inning earlier and set down the order 1-2-3. But the bottom of the 7th proved to be a different animal. Bacsik gave up a lead off single to Fielder followed by a double off the bat of Griffey Sr. For whatever reason, the third base coach waved Fielder and his fleet of foot speed home, only to be gunned down at the plate. But disaster was imminent even as "Big Daddy" continued to dust off his jersey. Freddy Lindstrom came up clutch with a two-run bomb to push San Diego back ahead 8-6.
Bacsik Sr. made one mistake while on the hill allowing pinch-hitter Cal Ripken Jr. to smoke the ball over the left field fence and once again provide life to the Sons.
Phoenix headed to the top of the 9th trailing 8-7 with one last crack at taking down the Fathers. Pedro Borbon Sr. ran in from the bullpen to shut it down. Tony Gwynn Jr. made things interesting with a leadoff single before advancing to third on a two-out single off the bat of Prince Fielder. So, there are runners on the corners with two out for Alomar Jr., who already had two hits and three ribbies on the evening. But the catcher can't catch up, swings and misses on strike three to end the game.
The San Diego Fathers beat the Phoenix Sons in this Father's Day exhibition 8-7 the final.
Game Recap Fun Fact: Mike Bacsik Sr. recorded the win for the Father's and Mike Bacsik Jr. got the loss for the Sons. Did you know Bacsik Jr. was the pitcher who gave up career home run 756 to Barry Bonds? In an eerie twist, Bacsik Sr. was one of 30 pitchers who faced Hank Aaron when the former home run king sat on 755. Dad held Henry to 1-2 with a single.
Ryan Fowler is the Content Manager for Whatifsports.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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