Families Who Are Just Too Damn Good at Sports
Manning, Griffey, Molina: The mere mention of their names should spark images of touchdowns, home runs and runners being thrown out at second.
These are the people you don't want to challenge at a normally lovely family picnic.
What we have here is a breakdown of some of the best and most prolific sports families. Some are so successful you might think they should change their name to Lannister and set up an Iron Throne in the family room.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, so we look forward to those families you feel deserve a nod for their amazing genetics.
Some families raise bakers, lawyers, doctors or...you get the idea. For the Mannings, tossing the ball around is sort of their thing.
Of course, it's not fair to simply say their success is all about the genes and move on. It takes hard work, and my favorite story about former NFL quarterback Archie Manning and his boys—Cooper, Peyton and Eli—comes from an unlikely person: Lil Wayne.
In his Monday Morning Quarterback column, Peter King spoke with rapper Lil Wayne and managed to uncover a story that we really hope is true:
I have a story about Peyton. A guy who has been on the road with us, he was like an uncle to us, he told us this story. When he was in jail, about to come home, he was put on one of those work-release things in New Orleans. Every morning, real early, he would clean the schoolyard of the [Isidore] Newman School [where the Manning kids attended]. Because he was a prisoner, he would have to clean the schoolyard at 4 or 5 in the morning. There was not one morning, 4:30, 5 in the morning, he wouldn’t see Archie, Peyton, Cooper, or Eli out on the field. He’d see Archie throwing passes to Cooper, or Peyton throwing routes to Cooper. I don’t know if people know this, but it was Cooper who was the prodigy. He [the roadie] would tell us the story, you know, like it was destined.
Go ahead and believe that excellence is the genes and greatness is granted from birth. Thanks to Lil Wayne, we know it comes from hard work and 5 a.m. mornings when you are but a kid.
I feel spoiled growing up in the 1990s, because there was so much in the way of fantastic entertainment. Go ahead and lump the best swing in MLB into that mix.
However, the Griffeys were nice enough to offer a great deal to more than one generation.
Griffey the elder played from 1973 to 1991, managing to overlap with Junior just enough to play together while with the Seattle Mariners.
Senior finished as a .296 hitter who clubbed 152 home runs and drove in 859 runs. Junior, well, he was pretty good at baseball as well, hitting 630 home runs and driving in over 1,800 runs in 22 seasons in the sport.
Now it's time for Trey Griffey to shine. The Arizona Wildcats wide receiver is coming off of a nice game to end his freshman season. As Fox Sports notes, he managed to reel in three passes and a couple of touchdowns in the Wildcats' win over Boston College in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl.
If you are a pitcher and have a Molina tending the backstop, you will be well taken care of. If you are wary of the claim, consider that the triumvirate of Bengie, Jose and Yadier are the only three brothers to each have a World Series ring.
If Lil Wayne's story about the Mannings didn't resonate, The Sun Sentinel's Mike Berardino wrote the following about the Molina family in 2005:
Benjamin Molina, their father, would spend 10 hours a day working as a technician at a Westinghouse factory in their hometown of Vega Alta, Puerto Rico. He would spend all 10 of those hours on his feet, never sitting down.
Then he would stagger home by 4:30 in the afternoon, grab a bite to eat and head straight to Jesus Mambe Kuilan Park across the street with his three boys.
There Benjamin Molina would teach the fundamentals of baseball to his boys. For hours. Until dusk. Until they couldn't see the ball anymore. And then for a few minutes longer.
Bengie Molina got his World Series hardware in 2002 while playing with his brother Jose on the Angels. Jose would go on to grab another ring while with the Yankees in 2009.
While coming up short in 2013, Yadier Molina still managed to procure the family another interesting accolade this past postseason.
One of the best all-around players in baseball made it back to the World Series. As MLB.com's Matthew Leach and David Venn write, "For the third consecutive year, one of the three catching brothers will be behind the plate in the Fall Classic, representing his team and his native Puerto Rico."
That's nothing short of remarkable.
The Brothers Gasol
One is a talented big man the Lakers traded the draft rights away to in 2008 to get better and the other is an extremely gifted big man the Lakers have seemed hellbent on trading since they got him.
They are Marc and Pau Gasol, and they are very good at what they do.
The 29-year-old Marc was named an All-Star in 2012 and the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. The 33-year-old Pau can still hold his two NBA titles and four All-Star nods over Marc's head, though.
The Brothers Upton
The Atlanta Braves have a near-monopoly on some amazing outfield talent.
Of course, things haven't been all rosy for the franchise with their tandem of sluggers, because brother B.J. Upton came off of the worst year of his career.
Still, there is something that binds these two besides bloodlines, and that's the optimism fans and general managers have for B.J. (29) and Justin (26).
Despite a rough 2013, the elder Upton was coming off of three straight seasons of hitting 18 or more home runs with the Rays and stealing more than 30 stolen bases in each.
Justin is headed into his prime years, already laying claim to 135 home runs and 433 RBI in his seven-year career.
The Marvelous Millers
We have already seen a a great deal of talented siblings. However, it's remarkable to think two faces of basketball royalty came from one house.
More than that, the smack talk and early rivalry may have produced two of the more engaging television personalities as well.
However, before they were reporting for TNT, Cheryl and Reggie Miller were dominating basketball courts. Although, it sounds like Cheryl got the best of it when the two were younger.
We could sit here and explain what makes the two so great, but this snippet from ESPN's Winning Time has always been a personal favorite.
The Bashing Bonds
Let's, for a moment, and if it's at all possible, push aside any and all controversy surrounding PEDs, steroids and the like.
The backlash of a career under scrutiny is certainly washing over early voting returns for one of the men pictured here. However, you simply can't deny one of the more prolific father-and-son duos in the sport.
Bobby played 14 years for teams like the Giants and Angels, clubbing 332 home runs in that time. He managed to hit 20 or more home runs in 10 of those seasons.
Of course, his son Barry was as polarizing as he was successful. Emerging atop a vilified era, he belted 762 home runs before his career ended.
Oh, and Willie Mays happens to be Barry's godfather, so that works nicely into this list.
The posted trailer is for the documentary Venus and Serena, a film reported on by The Telegraph's Philip Sherwell.
As Sherwell writes, their story is nearly as outrageous as their talent: "It reads like a plot-line outlandish enough for Hollywood: two black girls from the Los Angeles ghetto power their way to the top of the most lily-white of sports, driven by pushy parents who plot their trajectory before they are even born."
That pushing and prodding produced two of the more successful professionals to ever hit the sport. Venus Williams (33) already lays claim to seven singles Grand Slam titles.
While the two have had a tumultuous relationship, there is no denying Cecil Fielder gave his son Prince one amazing talent: the ability to bash the ball to all corners of the stadium.
Before the steroid era robbed our innocence and gave us an unending amount of cynicism, Cecil was launching balls out of the park for the Detroit Tigers.
After lackluster years in Toronto, Cecil showed up and blasted a league-leading 51 home runs in 1990, the most of his career. By the time he was done in MLB, he had hit 319 homers in 13 seasons.
And then came his son, who seemed to be sculpted from the same stone. What's more, Prince is now donning the same garb in which his father found the most success. In just nine seasons, Prince sits at 285 home runs, inching closer to passing his former slugger father.
You never quite know how well the Mayweathers will get along. The relationship between father and son seems to change like the names of whichever boxer falls before the son's hands.
One thing is certain, and that's Money May has helped make the name Mayweather a legendary one in boxing circles.
Mayweather Sr. is a former boxer whose claim to fame is losing to Sugar Ray Leonard. Senior's siblings also boast boxing roots. Roger holds two titles and trains Money May, and brother Jeff is a former IBO super featherweight champion.
Of course, it's all about the 36-year-old Mayweather Jr., who is nearing the end of an illustrious career, winning 45 bouts without losing one.
Get an NBA player and volleyball star together and you have yourself an NBA All-Star. Science is something, isn't it?
Granted, that's playing things a little simple, but that aptly describes the Curry clan. Dell Curry is a former NBA player who played 16 years in the league, averaging 11.7 points per game. His wife, Sonya, played volleyball for Virginia Tech.
Together they raised one of the best guards in the Association. Stephen Curry was named an All-Star this season and is currently averaging 24.4 points and 8.9 assists per game. The Currys also have a daughter, Sydel, who enjoys playing volleyball.
The Alomar Family
We can't have a discussion about sports royalty without mentioning a family that boasts a Hall of Famer in their clan.
Sandy Alomar Sr. was a middle infielder who played 15 years in the majors, playing for teams like the White Sox, Angels and Yankees.
His two boys would do the Alomar name proud. Sandy Alomar Jr. played 20 years at catcher, featuring as an All-Star six times and winning the Rookie of the Year in 1990.
Roberto Alomar is just one of the best second basemen to ever play, winning 10 Gold Gloves on his way to a Hall of Fame nod in 2011.
The Big Bad Matthews
They grow them big in the Matthews family, and we aren't referring to the long hair.
The New York Times' John Branch breaks down a family that he states spans a whopping three generations, ending, for the moment, with the current lot, which features Clay Matthews III, who won a Super Bowl with the Packers in 2011.
Matthews Sr. and his late wife, Daisy, had five children. Among them were Clay Matthews Jr. and Bruce Matthews, who each played 19 seasons in the N.F.L. and combined to reach 18 Pro Bowls. Clay Jr. played linebacker, mostly for the. Bruce was an offensive lineman for the Houston Oilers and . He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007.
That's not all, because Bruce Matthews’ son Kevin is a lineman, and Casey Matthews, Clay Matthews III's brother, is a linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles.
If the Matthews ever want to play a pickup football game, pass.