Baseball's Fathers and Sons

Matthew TaylorContributor IJune 21, 2009
One day, when Melvin Mora, the third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles, was a young boy, he was walking with his dad in front of the family’s home.

Suddenly, a man approached, pulled out a gun, pointed it at Melvin’s father, and pulled the trigger. Mora’s father stumbled into the house and collapsed on a couch.

"I was six years old," Mora recalls. "I didn't know how to react…I saw my sister crying, so I began to cry. The thing I most remember was that he was lying on the couch. I saw blood…And then he died."
Okay, I am officially jealous. What a wonderful story. Good for both of them. I had hardly made it halfway through the article before my eyes welled up and I had to go for the tissues.

I have wondered for a while now, what would it have been like to spend that kind of time with my dad? On this Father's Day weekend, I find myself thinking about my time with my dad. He loved baseball, yet I never remember having a conversation about it with him.

There are three particular days that I remember spending with him that had to do with baseball. For my 12th birthday, he took me to a 1971 World Series game when the Orioles played the Pirates at Memorial Stadium. We sat in the upper deck and I just remember how big the field looked.
In 1999, the first season after the diagnosis, Clark's trade from the Rangers to the Orioles in 1999 made life simpler for the family. The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore was already providing vital therapy for Trey.

Clark also played alongside catcher B.J. Surhoff, who has an autistic son a few years older than Trey. But the road trips, the time away from the family during spring training, prevented Clark from providing the kind of stability he wanted for his son.

In late 2000, when he split the season between Baltimore and St. Louis, he hit .319 and had a .418 on-base percentage. Clark was only 36, but he decided to retire after the Cardinals were eliminated in the NLCS. He wanted to be with the family.

"I was on my tail end anyway, but I cut my career short," he said. "Since I have been home more, there's been tremendous improvements in Trey. Having two parents home, his father figure there, we've seen big improvements. ... Plus, getting him involved in sports has made a difference. Being around other kids and interacting the way you do in the games has really helped."