Notebook > Sports

Chips off the old blocks

Sports | Bonds, Fielder highlight father-son combinations on the diamond

Issue: "Crossing borders," June 23, 2007

It's an interesting fact that two of the most well-known hitters in the National League have at least one thing in common: Both Barry Bonds and Prince Fielder started their careers in baseball in a shadow cast by a famous father.

First there was Bonds, who broke in with the Pirates in 1986 about five years after father Bobby Bonds finished his 14-year career. Like his father, Bonds managed five seasons of at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases. Unlike his father, who hit 332 home runs, Bonds is now approaching Hank Aaron's all-time career home run record.

Like the Bonds family, father Cecil Fielder and son Prince bear similarities. In Cecil Fielder's first full big league season in 1990, the plump first baseman exploded for 51 home runs-a feat made more impressive because it came during one of baseball's biggest dead-ball periods. Prince Fielder didn't exactly break out in his first season. But this year, in his second full campaign, the 23-year-old Fielder led the National League with 23 home runs as of June 11-just one behind the major-league leading Alex Rodriguez.

Other active tandems

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Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr.: Unlike the Bonds duo, the Griffey pair's careers overlapped. They even played on the same team. On Aug. 31, 1990-just days after the elder Griffey had been signed after being cut by Cincinnati, father and son played together for Seattle. It was one of those great baseball moments: In the top half of the inning, the younger Griffey found his place in centerfield only to look over and see his pops in leftfield. In the bottom of the frame, the elder Griffey, batting second, rifled a single. Batting next, the younger Griffey advanced him to second on another base hit. Both scored. The younger Griffey, now 37, plays for Cincinnati.

Felipe Alou and Moises Alou: Felipe and Moises' playing careers certainly never crossed paths-Felipe retired 16 years before Moises' playing career began. But Felipe did serve as Moises manager in his first full major league season. In all, Moises Alou played for his father for seven seasons. Alou is playing perhaps his last major league season this year for the Mets.

Around the Horn

BASEBALL: Roger Clemens is back. And some Yankees not named Alex Rodriguez began to hit. But with New York sitting a game under .500 and 9.5 games behind the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox, does any of that really matter? June may be a bit early to talk about October baseball, but it isn't too early for Yankees owner George Steinbrenner to be worried. By not voiding Clemens minor-league contract when the Yankees languished far behind Boston, the Boss signaled 2007 to be a make-or-break season. Look out, Joe Torre.

TENNIS: Tennis observers have finally found Roger Federer's kryptonite: Rafael Nadal on clay in Paris. For the third straight year, Nadal defeated tennis' Superman, Federer, on the clay courts of the French Open to again deny Federer the opportunity to complete his career grand slam. In the three other grand-slam tournaments played on grass or hard courts, Federer has 10 championships.

GOLF: Expect a fresh face at the U.S. Women's Open this year that doesn't belong to teenage phenom Michelle Wie. This fresh face doesn't even belong to a teenager. Alexis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., became the youngest golfer to qualify for the Women's Open when she shot a 72 and 71 during qualifying rounds on June 11-at 12 years, 4 months and 1 day old.


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