MLB: Ranking the Greatest Bloodlines in Baseball History

Manny Randhawa@@MannyBal9Correspondent IIIApril 12, 2011

MLB: Ranking the Greatest Bloodlines in Baseball History

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    One of the great characteristics about the game of baseball is that families enjoy it together, whether a father taking his son to his first big league game, or fathers, sons and brothers sharing baseball on the diamond.

    A father's pride.  A son's rise to stardom in his father's footsteps.  Brothers bonding on the diamond.  These timeless themes have captivated baseball fans for generations.

    Here now is a ranking of the greatest baseball families ever.

5. The Alomars

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    The story of Alomars in baseball began with Sandy Alomar, Sr., nicknamed the "Iron Pony".

    Sandy broke into the major leagues in 1964 with the Milwaukee Brewers, and went on to play for the Braves, White Sox, Angels, Yankees and Rangers before all was said and done.  Alomar was a 1970 American League All-Star and played 13 seasons in the big leagues.

    Sandy's sons, Sandy Jr. and Roberto, both followed in their father's footsteps, each making his major league debut in 1988 for the San Diego Padres.

    Sandy Alomar, Jr., a catcher, would go on to become the 1990 American League Rookie of the Year and a 6-time American League All-Star (all with the Cleveland Indians).

    His brother Roberto played second base and was a 12-time American League All-Star and the 1992 ALCS Most Valuable Player.  His Toronto Blue Jays would go on to win the 1992 and 1993 World Series.  Alomar finished a stellar career in 2004 with a lifetime .300 batting average, 210 home runs and 1174 RBI.

4. The Alous

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    The Alou family has generations of baseball in the blood.

    In 1958, Felipe Alou made his big league debut for the San Francisco Giants.  He would go on to become a three-time National League All-Star (in 1962, 1966 and 1968) and finish with a lifetime .286 batting average with 206 home runs and 852 RBI.

    Felipe's brothers Matty and Jesus would join him in the major leagues. 

    Matty broke into the majors with the Giants in 1960, and Jesus joined the club as a rookie three years later.  In 1963, for the first and only time in major league history, three brothers shared the outfield for the same team, as Felipe, Matty and Jesus all played the outfield together in the same game for the Giants.

    After his playing days were over, Felipe became a manager, first for the Montreal Expos from 1992 to 2001, being named N.L. Manager of the Year in the strike-shortened 1994 season.  Alou then rejoined the Giants organization as manager in 2003.  The Giants won 100 games that season and held first place in the N.L. West for the entire year.  Alou managed San Francisco through the 2006 season.

    In 1990 Felipe's son, Moises Alou broke into the big leagues with his father's Expos.  Moises became a 6-time All-Star and played for the Marlins, Astros and Cubs before rejoining his father by signing with the Giants in 2005.  Moises played 18 seasons and finished with a career .303 batting average, 332 home runs and 1,287 RBI.

3. Bobby and Barry Bonds

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    Amid the legal troubles and tainted baseball legacy facing Barry Bonds, there is no doubt that he and his father Bobby both had great careers.

    Bobby Bonds played for the San Francisco Giants from 1968 to 1974, and then for five other clubs from 1975 until he retired in 1981.  He finished with a career batting average of .268, with 332 home runs and 1,024 RBI.  He was a three-time All-Star.

    Bobby's son Barry followed his father into the big leagues, and was arguably the best all-around player in the game for most of his career.  He was a 3-time MVP, 8-time All-Star, and 8-time Gold Glove award-winner before his alleged steroid use began in 1998.  After '98, he won four more National League MVP awards, and set the all-time records for single-season and career home runs (73 and 762, respectively).

    In 1993, after Barry Bonds joined the San Francisco Giants, father Bobby joined the club as their first base coach.

    Bobby Bonds passed away on August 23, 2003.  Barry Bonds never officially retired, but has not played since 2007.

2. The Griffeys

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    On September 14, 1990, a father-son team hit back-to-back home runs for the Seattle Mariners in the same game and made baseball history.

    And it quickly became apparent that Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. both shared more than blood: they shared a great talent for baseball.

    The elder Griffey began his major league days in 1973 in Cincinnati, and played for the Reds for nine seasons before moving on to New York and Atlanta, returning to Cincinnati for a brief stint, and then finally ending his career in Seattle with the Mariners.  In the end, the three-time All-Star had put together a fine career: a lifetime batting average of .296, with 152 home runs and 859 RBI.

    But Junior Griffey stole the show, becoming the Player of the 90's.  Although injuries hampered him later in his career, the younger Griffey finished with hall-of-fame numbers: .284 BA, 630 home runs, 1,836 RBI, 12 All-Star selections, 10 Gold Glove awards, and the 1997 A.L. MVP award.

1. The Ripkens

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    The greatest baseball family gives us the most historical perspective.

    The Ripkens, with Cal Sr. as the patriarch, contributed more to the history of the game than any other baseball family.

    Cal Ripken, Sr. spent 36 years in the Baltimore Orioles organization, and served as Orioles manager in 1987, when he became the only manager in baseball history to manage his two sons: Cal Ripken, Jr. and Billy Ripken.

    Billy Ripken played for 12 seasons, including seven for Baltimore, three for Texas, and one for Cleveland and Detroit.

    Cal Ripken, Jr. broke into the big leagues in 1981 and played 21 seasons.  He is remembered most for breaking Lou Gherig's record of consecutive games played, playing in his 2,131st game on September 6, 1995. 

    Ripken was not only the "Iron Man" of baseball, but he put up hall-of-fame numbers.  He was the 1982 American League Rookie of the Year, an amazing 19-time American League All-Star, and a two-time A.L. MVP (1983 and 1991).  He finished with a career batting average of .276, with 431 home runs and 1,695 RBI.  He was inducted into the hall of fame in 2007.