Father's Day Is Big For Former Phillies

When it comes to Father's Day, the Phillies have a lot of former players who get calls from their famous offspring. Whether it's something in the water or something in the air, the Phillies have done well to produce baseball players who make an impact on baseball. The teams of the late 70s and early 80s have been especially prolific in passing the baseball gene along to their kids.

Yeah, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree in Philly. You could practically field a team just putting together the sons of former Phillies. Actually, a couple guys still connected with the team have kids coming along in their footsteps.

Third base coach John Vukovich may not have been a Hall of Fame caliber player, but he did his job and did it pretty well. Vuke now mans the third base coaching box, very close to where he played most of his games as a Phillie. In the 2001 Draft, the Phillies grabbed Vuke's son Vince in the 20th round. The younger Vukovich struggled through his first two seasons of pro ball and is hitting .242 at Clearwater this season. He doesn't have all the tools, but he works hard and some scouts believe he could become a utility infielder type, not unlike his dad.

Another young player in the Phillies system has a familiar name, too. Garry Maddox, Jr started the season at Clearwater and was moved up to AA Reading. The Reading Phillie is hitting .476 in eight games at AA, after hitting.273 at Clearwater. In Garry Maddox's last three seasons in Philadelphia, when he looked to his right, he saw Gary Matthews, a.k.a. Sarge. Today, "Little Sarge" is playing for the San Diego Padres. Gary Matthews, Jr. started the season with Baltimore, but was released and claimed on waivers by San Diego.

One of the families that has done the most to populate the baseball ranks is the Boone family. It started with Ray Boone, who had a 13 year career in the majors, including a stop with the Kansas City Athletics in 1959. Then, came Phillies catcher Bob Boone, a member of the 1980 World Series Champions, who is now the manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Bret Boone came to the majors in 1992 with Seattle, eventually traveling to Cincinnati, Atlanta and San Diego before returning to the Mariners in 2001. Bret is putting up MVP type numbers for the Mariners this season. Bret's brother Aaron plays in Cincinnati for his dad. Ironically, the best of the Boones may not have hit the majors yet. Matt Boone, who plays in the Tigers organization, is thought to have the best pure skills of anyone in the Boone family, though he has yet to show them in his minor league career.

Not all of the Phillies offspring have had great success, or even made it to the major leagues. Pete Rose, Jr was constantly dogged by his father's legend, making it tough for him to succeed. The younger Rose didn't have his father's talent or the ability to hustle the way dad did and his career has fizzled. Rose Jr played in the Phillies farm system for a couple of seasons and has recently been playing in independent leagues. Ryan Luzinski had all the looks of his dad, but without the power. The younger Luzinski was drafted by Baltimore and bounced around their organization, before playing in the White Sox organization and like Pete Rose, Jr, winding up in independent leagues.

The only member of the Bell family, other than David to play for the Phillies was the infamous Juan Bell, who was no relation to David. David's grandfather, Gus, played 15 seasons in the majors and David's father, Buddy, played 18 seasons and went on to manage in the majors.

Of course, it's possible that the most famous Phillies offspring never played professional baseball at all. Tim McGraw, the son of Phillies reliever extraordinaire Tug McGraw, has made his mark in country music. The closest that the younger McGraw has come to the majors is either having Jim Thome as one of his biggest fans or singing the line "I ain't seen the Braves play a game all year" in his song, I Like It, I Love It. How could Tugger have a son who would grow up to lament missing Braves games in a country song? Oh well. All you can do is raise ‘em and hope they turn out right.


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