The Best Father-Son Combos in Sports

David Daniels@TheRealDDanielsSenior Writer IJune 15, 2013

The Best Father-Son Combos in Sports

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    Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

    Like father, like son.

    Being born to a father who's a star athlete doesn't guarantee success for a son. However, it's definitely an advantage. Not only are you born with the genes to succeed, a coach is by one's side 24/7.

    To make this exclusive list, both halves of the pair must be great athletes. For instance, Dale Earnhardt Sr. is a legend, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. hasn't done enough for them to make this list. The same goes for Kobe Bryant and his dad Joe "Jellybean" Bryant.

    Here are the top 20 father-son combinations in sports history.

20. Mario and Michael Andretti

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    Mario Andretti found success across multiple racing organizations in his four-decade career, winning four IndyCar championships and a Formula One title. He's the only driver to win the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500 and the Formula One World Championship.

    Son Michael Andretti followed in his father's footsteps in capturing the 1991 IndyCar title, a season in which he won a record eight races.

19. Bob, Bret and Aaron Boone

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    Photo via Sports with a Spin

    Bob Boone led a long, successful career as a catcher from 1972 to 1990, winning one World Series title with the Philadelphia Phillies. He also won seven Gold Glove awards and was voted to four All-Star games.

    Bret Boone played second base from 1992 to 2005, spending most of his time with the Cincinnati Reds and the Seattle Mariners. He was elected to three All-Star games and won four Gold Gloves.

    Aaron Boone may not have the individual success that his brother and father had, as he made just one All-Star appearance. However, he's arguably more famous due to his Game 7 walk-off home run in the 11th inning of the 2003 ALCS with the New York Yankees against the Boston Red Sox.

18. Gus and Buddy Bell

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    Photo courtesy of 1985 Topps

    Gus Bell played 15 years in the major leagues, getting elected to four All-Star teams. He had some incredible single games in his career, one in which he hit for the cycle and another where he hit three home runs in three straight at-bats.

    Buddy Bell played even longer than his dad, lasting from 1972 to 1989.  He was voted to the All-Star game five times and won a Gold Glove Award six consecutive years at third base.

17. Felipe and Moises Alou

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    Felipe Alou played in three different decades from his rookie year in 1958 to his retirement in 1974. He spent most of his career with the San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves and was voted onto three All-Star teams.

    Moises Alou was a career .303 hitter and was elected to six All-Star games in his career. He also won a world title in 1997 with the Florida Marlins.

16. Clay Matthews Jr. and Clay Matthews III

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    Clay Matthews Jr. was elected to the Pro Bowl four times at the linebacker position. He and his son are the only father-son tandem to win Defensive Player of the Week.

    Clay Matthews III has been voted to four Pro Bowls so far, but that number will eventually get into the double digits. He was the NFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 and led the Packers defense to their first Super Bowl victory of the Aaron Rodgers era.

15. Kellen Winslow Sr. and Kellen Winslow Jr.

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    Photo courtesy of

    Kellen Winslow is likely the greatest tight end to ever play the game of football. He was elected to five Pro Bowls and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    Kellen Winslow Jr. has only been elected to one Pro Bowl in his career, but that number would've likely been much higher if it weren't for an injury-plagued career. Surprisingly, he's struggled to battle through them despite being a soldier.

14. Kyle Rote Sr. and Kyle Rote Jr.

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    Photo courtesy of Amersoccer

    Kyle Rote Sr. was the first overall pick by the New York Giants in the 1951 NFL draft and went on to be voted to four Pro Bowls. He was versatile enough to play wide receiver and running back, helping the Giants win the 1956 NFL championship.

    Kyle Rote Jr. chose futbol instead of football, and he made the right decision. He had a phenomenal career, going on to be inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

13. Al Unser and Al Unser Jr.

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    Photo courtesy of AP; John Iacono/SI

    Al Unser won four total Indy 500 races. He is a member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, as well as the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.

    Little Al was also voted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. He finished first in the IndyCar Series twice during his career.

12. Rick and Brent Barry

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    Photo courtesy of CBS

    Rick Barry was voted into the All-Star game eight times during his Hall of Fame career. He won one NBA championship, in which he was the NBA Finals MVP.

    Brent Barry didn’t put up the kind of stats his dad did, but he did outdo him in one thing: championships. He won two NBA titles during his career, along with a Slam Dunk Contest.

11. Ken Norton Sr. and Ken Norton Jr.

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    Photo courtesy of

    Ken Norton Sr. is a former WBC Heavyweight Champion. He was the man who gave Muhammad Ali his second loss and broke his jaw.

    Ken Norton Jr. went down a different path, choosing football. He became the first NFL player to win a Super Bowl in three straight seasons. He was elected to three Pro Bowls during his time in the league.

10. Calvin and Grant Hill

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    Photo courtesy of Karen Civil

    Calvin Hill was the first Dallas Cowboys running back to ever rush over 1,000 yards in a season. He made four Pro Bowls during his career and was part of one Cowboys Super Bowl-winning team.

    Grant Hill chose basketball instead of football, and it’s pretty clear he made the right choice. The man who was at one time considered the next Michael Jordan was voted to seven All-Star games and joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in league history to lead their teams in points, rebounds and assists per game three times.

9. Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr.

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    Ken Levine/Getty Images

    Ken Griffey Sr. was a key member of the Cincinnati Reds' Big Red Machine. He won two World Series during his time with the Reds and made three All-Star games.

    Junior outdid his old man, dominating the majors as one of the best players in the league, if not the best during his prime. He was voted to 13 All-Star games, won 10 Gold Gloves, captured one AL MVP and hit 630 home runs in his career.

8. Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Archie Manning was a better college quarterback than he was a pro quarterback, but he still was a solid pro. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and was voted to two Pro Bowls during his time in the NFL.

    Peyton Manning quickly surpassed his father and has now been to 12 Pro Bowls and won four MVPs. He also lays claim to countless NFL passing records. His most cherished accomplishment of all, though, is that one Super Bowl victory that was so elusive.

    Eli Manning can’t compete with Peyton’s passing numbers, as he’s only been to three Pro Bowls, but he surpassed his older brother where it counts: Super Bowl victories. The first of Eli's two titles was won against an undefeated New England Patriots team in one of the greatest upsets in sports history.

7. Bobby and Barry Bonds

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    Bobby Bonds was the second player in MLB history to hit 300 home runs and steal 300 bases in his career.  Not many could match his combination of speed and power, as he made three All-Star games.

    Barry Bonds knew no such thing as living in his father’s shadow. He won the NL MVP seven times, was a 14-time All-Star and was an eight-time Gold Glove winner. He set major league career records in walks, intentional walks and the most prestigious record in all of sports: the home run record.

6. Gordie and Mark Howe

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    When Bobby Orr has been quoted calling you the best hockey player ever, you know you did something right. Gordie Howe is a 23-time All-Star, a four-time Stanley Cup Champ, a six-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

    Mark Howe couldn’t quite live up to his father’s name, but you really can’t blame him for that. He still enjoyed a phenomenal career and joined Gordie in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.

5. Ned and Dale Jarrett

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Ned Jarrett was inducted into numerous Halls of Fame, including the NASCAR Hall of Fame, after he retired. He finished two seasons in his career as the Grand National champion.

    As you can imagine, with all of those honors, Ned was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers ever in 1998.

    His son Dale Jarrett mirrored his career right onto the same list. He won one NASCAR championship in his time racing.

4. Dick and Pete Weber

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    Photo courtesy

    It's safe to say the Weber family went bowling quite a bit on the weekends.

    Dick Weber was a bowling pioneer who won 30 PBA Tour events and six PBA Senior Tour events in his career over the span of six decades. He is one of the sport’s all-time greats and was elected into the PBA Hall of Fame.

    Pete Weber, like his father, is also a member of the PBA Hall of Fame. He won a total of 37 PBA Tour events, including 10 major titles, during his historic career.

3. Man o' War and War Admiral

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    Photo courtesy of

    Horses have families too—and are incredible athletes to boot.

    Man o’ War is considered by many to be the greatest thoroughbred racing horse ever. He went 20-1 in his racing career, and the one time he did lose, the shock of the loss was thought by some to have created the term “upset.”

    War Admiral definitely put his father’s genes to good use. He won 21 total races in his lifetime, including a completion of the Triple Crown in 1937. 

2. Lee and Richard Petty

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    Photo courtesy of RacingOne/Getty Image

    Lee Petty, a NASCAR pioneer, won the series championship three times. After he hung up the helmet, he was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, International Motorsports Hall of Fame and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.

    It’s safe to say Richard made his father proud. He joined his dad in each of the three Halls of Fame after winning the NASCAR championship seven times. The younger Petty won a record 200 races, going down as arguably the greatest NASCAR driver ever.

1. Bobby and Brett Hull

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    Bobby Hull is one of the greatest hockey players to ever step onto the ice. The Hall of Famer was elected to the NHL All-Star First Team 10 times, won the Art Ross Trophy three times and won the Hart Trophy twice.

    Brett Hull followed in his father’s footsteps to become one of the all-time greats. The scoring machine is third in goals in NHL history and is tied with Wayne Gretzky himself for the most game-winning playoff goals. When he joined his father Bobby in the Hall of Fame, they became the first and only father-son combination inducted.


    David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.