There was a time when sons of former Major League Baseball players were all over the league. Some like Cal Ripken Jr. and Ken Griffey Jr. shared a given name with their father while others like Roberto Alomar, Moises Alou, and Barry Bonds only shared a last name. These men all came from talented families and for a while made it seem as if having that lineage was the only way to ever achieve a spot on a major league roster.
In the 2014 season there appears to be far fewer second generation baseball players succeeding around the league. The Philadelphia Phillies alone have Tony Gwynn Jr., John Mayberry Jr., and Jonathan Pettibone whom are all the sons of former players. The first two are already in their 30s with little to show from their careers. Meanwhile Pettibone is still young, expectations for him being third starter material at best.
Among the players who grew up with a dad playing baseball, the most famous is probably Prince Fielder. Fielder is a lot like his father, a large power hitter capable of launching the ball as far as anyone. His numbers have however dipped in the last several seasons as many sluggers of similar skillset have seen happen. Soon enough instead of challenging for 500 career home runs he may need to settle for trickling beyond the 400 mark.
A few other players around the league are lesser known for being second generation. Jayson Werth is the stepson of Dennis Werth who had a brief stint in the major leagues. Neil Walker is the son of Tom Walker, a journeyman relief pitcher from the 1970s. Neil Walker’s teammate Jason Grilli is also the son of a former major leaguer. Grilli’s father Steve pitched a few games in the late 1970s for the Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays.
At one point the Los Angeles Dodgers seemed to monopolize these second generation players. Tony Gwynn Jr., Ivan Dejesus Jr., Dee Gordon, and Scott Van Slyke were all in the organization together in the last three years. The team still has high hopes for Gordon, but his role will most likely be as a light-hitting shortstop with speed. Players like this are rarely memorable or challenge for major awards.
The best current player whose dad played in the MLB might be Robinson Cano. Unlike the more popular father/son combinations, few people even know Cano has major league blood in him. His father Pedro Cano pitched 6 games for the Houston Astros in 1989. The large disparity between their two careers has kept them away from being mentioned among others.
Baseball seems due for another second generation star to come into the league and turn heads. Could another Boone be ready soon?