The Best Father and Son Duos in Sports

Dan Van Wie@@DanVanWieContributor IIIJuly 13, 2012

The Best Father and Son Duos in Sports

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    Who are the best father and son duos in sports? It is a topic that brings a number of examples to mind, which is probably influenced by your favorite sports, favorite teams or what part of the country you live in.

    In this presentation, we looked at the major team sports in America, plus a few other sports across the globe to highlight some of the most interesting and talented father and son duos in sports history.

    We also dedicated some slides to a few up-and-coming sports stars who happened to have famous dads, as well as athletes that decided they wanted to pursue a completely different sport than their father was in.

    We hope these slides will evoke some of your favorite memories as sports fans, as well as the times you played catch with your own father growing up.  


Buddy Ryan, Rex Ryan and Rob Ryan

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    While the majority of slides will be dedicated to father and son professional athletes, a father and son coaching duo also deserves inclusion.

    This duo is Buddy Ryan and his son Rex Ryan, head coach of the New York Jets. The fact that son Rob Ryan is the defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys is just gravy on the top.

    Buddy Ryan was a master defensive coordinator, where he turned his strong defensive units into Super Bowl winners with the New York Jets and Chicago Bears. As a head coach with the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals, Buddy wasn't able to come away with any additional Super Bowl rings.

    Ryan's son Rex was the defensive line coach for the Baltimore Ravens team that went on to win Super Bowl XXXV. Rex finally landed his own head coaching job with the New York Jets in 2009 and promptly guided the Jets to two consecutive AFC Championship Games.

    Rex's twin brother, Rob Ryan, was the defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns and now holds that same position with the Dallas Cowboys.

    The father and son impact of the Ryans on the NFL has resulted in all three coaches taking on the huge responsibility of creating some of the best defenses that the league has ever known, leaving a strong lasting legacy.

Famous Father and Son Duos in MLB

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    Major League Baseball father and son duos are much more common than any of the other major team sports. There are probably millions of dads who have played catch with their sons or tried to teach them how to swing a baseball bat. The percentage of fathers and sons both going on to play in MLB is extremely small, but a growing list of duos have made it to "the show," some of them big stars.

    Ken Griffey, Sr. and Ken Griffey, Jr. is one example of a father and son duo that starred in their own eras. Ken Griffey, Sr. was part of the Big Red Machine of the Cincinnati Reds that won consecutive World Series Championships in 1975 and 1976. He was a three-time All-Star (1976, 1977 and 1980) and even won the game's MVP award in 1980.   

    Ken Griffey, Jr., of course, went on to become a baseball legend, winning 10 Gold Glove awards, seven Silver Slugger awards and the AL MVP in 1997. He was also a 13-time All-Star and was voted to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.  

    Griffey, Jr. currently ranks sixth all-time in MLB history with 630 home runs, while his dad hit 152.

    In 1990, the Griffeys became the first father and son duo to play on the same team when they took the outfield together for the Seattle Mariners. Another highlight was on Sept. 14, 1990, when the pair hit back-to-back home runs off of Kirk McCaskill of the California Angels. No other father and son duo has ever been able to make that claim.

    Other father and son duos in MLB where both players were famous in their own right:

    Barry Bonds (No. 1 in home runs all time with 762) and Bobby Bonds (332 home runs).

    Prince Fielder (who currently has 245 home runs and just won his second Home Run Derby), and his dad Cecil Fielder (319 home runs).

    Felipe Alou and Moises Alou. Felipe hit 206 career home runs, while his son Moises hit 332.


More Father and Son Duos from MLB

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    As we saw on the previous slides, some father and son duos from MLB history have each been able to enjoy very successful careers. That is the exception to the rule, not the norm. While conducting research for this project, I uncovered at least 20 father and son duos in MLB where a fairly wide gap exists between the levels reached by each individual.

    One such example is Tony Gwynn, Sr. and his son, Tony Gwynn, Jr. While Tony Sr. is also a member of the MLB All-Century Team like Ken Griffey, Jr., the level of performance between Gwynn and his son is quite different. Tony Gwynn, Sr. is a member of the MLB Hall of Fame and enjoyed 11 seasons where he had a minimum of 500 official at-bats. He also had over 200 hits in a season five times. 

    This is Tony Gwynn Jr.'s seventh year in MLB. The most official at-bats he's ever had in a season was 393, and the most hits he's ever had is 106—the only time he broke the 100-hit barrier.

    Sometimes it can be very difficult for a son to live up to what his dad was able to do in the MLB—and vice versa.

    Other notable MLB father and son duos:

    Cal Ripken, Sr. and his sons Cal Ripken, Jr. and Billy Ripken

    Jerry Hairston, Sr. and his sons Scott Hairston and Jerry Hairston, Jr.

    Gary Matthews, Sr. ("Sarge") and Gary Matthews, Jr.

    Jesse Barfield and his son Josh Barfield

    Yogi Berra and his son Dale Berra

    Tony Perez and his son Eduardo Perez

    Dave Duncan and his sons Shelley Duncan and Chris Duncan

    Pete Rose, Sr. and Pete Rose, Jr.

    Mel Stottlemyre and his sons Todd Stottlemyre and Mel Stottlemyre, Jr.

    Ed Spiezio and his son Scott Spiezio

    Gus Bell and his son Buddy Bell

    Floyd Bannister and his son Brian Bannister

    Jose Cruz, Sr. and Jose Cruz, Jr.

    John Mayberry, Sr. and John Mayberry, Jr.

    Sandy Alomar  and his sons Roberto Alomar and Sandy Alomar, Jr.

    Eric Young and Eric Young, Jr.

Bobby Hull and Brett Hull

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    Is there a better father/son combo in the NHL than Bobby Hull and Brett Hull? Bobby was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1983, while Brett was inducted in 2009. In addition to that distinction, the Hulls are the only father and son duo who have both won the Hart Memorial Trophy (Most Valuable Player) and the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (Sportsmanship).

    Who is the only father and son combination in any professional sport to both have their numbers retired? The answer to this great trivia question is, you guessed it, Bobby and Brett Hull. This sets the bar very high for any other father and son duo that plays hockey. 

    Bobby Hull scored a total of 610 goals between his NHL and WHA careers, while his son Brett Hull is third on the NHL all-time list with 741.

    Bobby Hull was named as Most Valuable Player in the NHL two times in his career and led the NHL in scoring three different times. To see all of Brett Hull's career stats, awards and accomplishments, check out the following link.

More Father and Son NHL Duos

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    Mike Foligno played in the NHL from 1979-1993. During his career, the senior Foligno scored 355 goals, a very solid career output. In the 2011-2012 season, Mike's son Marcus made his NHL debut with the Buffalo Sabres, one of the teams his dad played for.

    Called up late in the season, Marcus proved to be a spark plug for the Sabres, scoring 13 points in 14 games. For a team desperate to make the playoffs, he was a great addition for the final push.

    Now that Marcus has made his debut, we will see if the younger Foligno can maintain the high standards established by his father.

    Mike is also the father of Nick Foligno, who plays for the Ottawa Senators. We don't know what Mr. Foligno will do next season when Ottawa squares off against Buffalo.

    Other examples of father and son duos that have played or earned a living in the NHL. For a slideshow link to these father and son duos, click here:

    Ray Bourque with his sons Christopher and Ryan

    Darryl Sutter with his son Brett Sutter. Darryl had five brothers who played with him in the NHL

    Brent Sutter with his son Brandon

    Thomas Steen with his son Alexander

    Peter Stasny with his sons Paul and Yan

    Fred Shero with his son Ray

    Mike Murphy with his sons Patrick and Ryan

    Gordie Howe with his sons Marty and Mark

    Bernie Geoffrion with his son Dan

    Dave Gagner with his son Sam

    Cliff Fletcher with his son Chuck

    John Ferguson, Sr. and John Ferguson, Jr.

    Colin Campbell and his son Gregory

    Scotty Bowman and his son Stan

    Jean-Paul Parise and his son Zach

Randy Couture and Ryan Couture

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    Ryan Couture is striving to be a chip off the old block like his famous father, Randy Couture, who was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.

    Randy Couture is an amazing athlete who has held the UFC Heavyweight Championship and UFC Light Heavyweight Championship belts. Randy won the UFC 13 Heavyweight Tournament and was able to continue winning championship belts after he turned 40 years old.

    Ryan is a lightweight fighter for the Strikeforce organization. His current record is 4-1, and while he is not as big a fighter as his father, he has exhibited some of the same traits inside the cage. Here is a link for Ryan's fighter profile.

Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning

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    As we detailed the prowess of the Hulls' father and son accomplishments in the NHL, could there ever be a better father and son quarterback connection than Archie Manning and sons Peyton and Eli?

    While Archie was saddled with playing for a New Orleans Saints team that was void of major talent, he did manage to hang in there for 13 NFL seasons. Archie started 139 games and finished with a win-loss record of 35-101-3. Like we said, the Saints teams back then were void of talent. During his career, Archie threw for 23,911 yards as well as 125 touchdown passes.

    Dad must have been very proud when he saw both of his sons walk away with Super Bowl MVP awards in consecutive years. Peyton won the MVP award with the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI, and Eli followed that up by winning the award in Super Bowl XLII with the New York Giants. For a little icing on the cake, Eli claimed his second Super Bowl MVP award when the Giants won Super Bowl XLVI.

    Both of Archie's sons have put up some impressive regular season numbers, along with a growing list of records and achievements. Peyton has won four NFL MVP awards and has been elected to 11 Pro Bowls. He was also selected to five NFL All-Pro First Teams and was named the NFL's All-Decade First-Team QB for the 2000's. Eli has been elected to two Pro Bowls, but owns twice as many Super Bowl rings.

    Can you imagine how Archie must have felt watching both sons become the No. 1 overall draft pick in the NFL? Peyton went No. 1 in 1998 while Eli went No. 1 in 2004. As we said up top, the Manning family is the QB royalty of NFL fathers and sons.

Gill Byrd and Jairus Byrd

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    Gill Byrd had a storied career in the NFL, playing cornerback and safety for the San Diego Chargers from 1983-1992. During his career, he was voted to two Pro Bowls and was a member of four All-Pro teams. He retired as the Chargers' all-time leader in career interceptions with 42, and since retirement, has been voted in as a member of the Chargers' 50th Anniversary All-Time team and the Chargers Hall of Fame.

    Gill's son Jairus entered the NFL in 2009 as a safety with the Buffalo Bills. In his rookie year, he tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with nine and was voted to the All-Rookie team, the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro team. Jairus continues to evolve his game and improved his physical play in 2011. So far, so good, as he is on the verge of becoming an NFL star.

    Other notable NFL father and son duos:

    Kellen Winslow, Sr. and Kellen Winslow, Jr.

    Clay Matthews, Sr. and Clay Matthews, Jr.

    Howie Long and his son Chris Long

    Tony Dorsett and his son Anthony Dorsett

    Oliver Luck and his son Andrew Luck

    Elijah Pitts and his son Ron Pitts

NASCAR Father and Son Duos

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    The sport of auto racing has seen its share of famous father and son duos over the years. A brief overview of some of the most famous duos from the sport:

    Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and his sons Dale Jr. and Kerry

    Dale Sr. was a legend in NASCAR, as he won 76 races (including Daytona 500) and captured seven Winston Cup titles in his career. He died on the final lap of Daytona in a famous crash in 2001.

    Dale Jr. has won 18 races in his career, one of his biggest wins coming in the 2004 Daytona 500. 

    There is one other Earnhardt son, Kerry, who is also in the sport of auto racing. Kerry, Dale Jr. and Dale Sr. raced against each other in the 2000 Pepsi 400.

    Mario Andretti and his sons Michael and Jeff Andretti

    Mario Andretti is an auto racing legend. The Andretti family created some racing history when four Andrettis (Mario, Michael, Jeff and John) drove in the Indianapolis 500 race in 1992.

    Jeff Andretti had to stop racing due to leg injuries suffered in an accident, while Michael and John continue to race today.

    Lee Petty and his son Richard Petty

    One of the original stars in NASCAR was Lee Petty, who captured three championships in

    the mid-to-late 1950's before the sport became so popular.

    His son, Richard, went on to top dad, winning seven drivers' championships over a 13-year time frame (1967-1979). He decided to retire from the sport in 1992, having won a record 200 races. Both Pettys are in the Hall of Fame.

    Al Unser, Sr. and his son Al Unser, Jr.

    Dad was able to win the Indy 500 four times, while Al Jr. won the race twice. Al Jr. is no longer racing, as he has been saddled with DUI arrests and other personal problems. 

Joe 'Jellybean' Bryant and Kobe Bryant

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    Joe "Jellybean" Bryant was a forward and center in the NBA from 1975-1983. He played for the Philadelphia 76ers, San Diego Clippers and Houston Rockets. He scored 5,252 points in his career and hauled down 2,441 rebounds while playing in 606 NBA games. Currently, Joe is in his second stint of serving as the head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA.

    Joe's son is the amazing Kobe Bryant, who just finished his 16th season with the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe has been named to 14 All-Star teams and won the NBA MVP award in 2008. Thanks to the outstanding play of Bryant, the Lakers have been a dynasty, capturing five NBA Championships from 2000-2010. Kobe will eventually retire and be headed for the NBA Hall of Fame.

    Other notable NBA father and son duos:

    Bill Walton and his son Luke

    Tim Hardaway, Sr. and Tim Hardaway, Jr.

    Mike Dunleavy, Sr. and Mike Dunleavy, Jr.

    Patrick Ewing, Sr. and Patrick Ewing, Jr.

    Gerald Wilkins and Damien Wilkins

    Rick Barry and his sons Brent, Jon and Drew Berry

Ken Williams and Kyle Williams

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    Our next three slides are examples of professional athlete father and son duos who played different sports. Perhaps going into a different sport takes a degree of pressure off, where one can master the sport at one's own pace without any preconceived expectations.

    First example is Ken and Kyle Williams. Ken was an MLB outfielder from 1986-1991, playing for the Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos. From 2000-present, Ken has been the general manager of the Chicago White Sox, helping to build the team that won the World Series in 2005.

    His son, Kyle, is a wide receiver and special teams member on the San Francisco 49ers (2010-present). Kyle made the costly special teams gaffe that helped send the New York Giants to the Super Bowl in last season's NFC Championship Game.

    It was bad enough that Kyle endured all kinds of verbal abuse for his mistake. Then the situation escalated in the offseason, when Kenny learned that New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams had placed a bounty on his son Kyle, who has a history of concussion issues.

    I'm sure every father could put himself in Kenny's shoes, wanting to protect his son. It's easy to understand why he was so irate about the incident.

Ken Norton, Sr. and Ken Norton, Jr.

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    They played in two very violent sports, but they clearly took different directions. Ken Norton, Sr. was a boxing champion, while his son, Ken Norton, Jr., wound up winning multiple Super Bowl rings in the NFL.

    Ken Sr. is remembered for defeating Muhammad Ali in 1978 to become the heavyweight champion of the world. He won 42 fights in his career and is a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

    Ken Jr. was a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys (1988-1993) and San Francisco 49ers (1994-2000). He was voted to three Pro Bowl teams and was an All-Pro twice in his career. Norton wound up playing on three straight Super Bowl championship teams, winning Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII with the Cowboys and Super Bowl XXIX with the 49ers.

Calvin Hill and Grant Hill

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    Our final example of a father and son duo who wound up playing in totally different sports is Calvin Hill and Grant Hill.

    Calvin was a famous running back for the Dallas Cowboys (1969-1974), Washington Redskins (1976-1977) and Cleveland Browns (1978-1981). He took a break for one year to play in the World Football League in 1975 for a team called the Hawaiians.

    Calvin rushed for 42 career touchdowns, gaining 6,083 rushing yards. He was voted to four Pro Bowl teams and was named to two All-Pro teams. In 1969 he was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. In 1972, he became the first Cowboys running back to break the 1,000-yard barrier in team history.

    Grant, of course, became a famous basketball player. He has enjoyed a long career in the NBA, playing for the Detroit Pistons (1994-2000), Orlando Magic (2000-2007) and Phoenix Suns (2007-2012). Where he will be playing in the 2012-2013 season is still up in the air.

    Grant is a star in his own right, having been named to seven All-Star teams along with a First-Team All-NBA nod in 1997. Hill has scored 17,044 points over his career and snagged 6,120 rebounds. He endured a rough stretch from 2000-2004, when injuries prevented him playing in many games. Grant recovered well enough to appear in at least 80 games in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons.

    Another example of a father and son duo where the athletes wound up playing different sports: 

    Karl Malone and Demetress Bell. Malone, better known as "The Mailman," was a power forward with the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers. Malone was a 14-time All-Star and won the NBA MVP award twice in his career. He is a member of the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. His son, Demetress Bell, played left tackle for the Buffalo Bills before signing as a free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012.

The Boone Family: Ray, Bob, Aaron and Bret Boone

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    As most sports fans know, it is very difficult to advance up the ranks to become a professional athlete. It is even more difficult for a father and his son to both make a living as professional athletes. Even harder than that is to accomplish what the Boone family has done: three straight generations of Boones making it to the big leagues.

    Grandfather Ray Boone played shortstop, first base and third base for a number of teams from 1948-1960.

    Father Bob Boone was a catcher from 1972-1990. Bob played for the Philadelphia Phillies, California Angels and Kansas City Royals, hitting 105 home runs over the course of his career. Bob also served as manager for the Royals and the Cincinnati Reds. He was named to four All-Star teams and won seven Gold Glove awards.

    Son Bret Boone was a second baseman who played from 1992-2005 for the Seattle Mariners, Reds, Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres and Minnesota Twins. He hit 252 home runs during his career and led the American League in 2001 with 141 runs batted in. Bret was named to three All-Star teams, winning four Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger awards.

    Son Aaron Boone was a third baseman who played from 1997-2009 for the Reds, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Florida Marlins, Washington Nationals and Houston Astros. He was elected to one All-Star team in 2003. He is probably best remembered for hitting the walk-off home run off of Tim Wakefield in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, sending the Yankees to the World Series.

    What the Boone family has accomplished over the three generations is quite remarkable. Will there be a fourth generation of Boones in Major League Baseball? Guess we will have to wait and see.

Doc Rivers and Austin Rivers

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    We close our presentation with three famous fathers with sons who appear to be ready to follow in their footsteps.

    Doc Rivers enjoyed a successful career as a player in the NBA, and is now the head coach of the Boston Celtics. Now there's another Rivers looking to make his mark in the NBA.

    Austin Rivers was selected by the New Orleans Hornets with the 10th pick of the 2012 NBA draft. Before going one-and-done at Duke, he was rated as the top prep basketball player in the country.

    Other Father and Son Sports Duos where the son is just on the verge of becoming a pro athlete:

    Wayne Gretzky and his son Trevor, who was a seventh-round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs in 2011.

    Dante Bichette, Sr. and his son Dante Bichette, Jr., who was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 2011 draft.


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