Aidan O’Sullivan, 2022
Within a few feet of each other, three nameplates in the Toronto Blue Jays locker room don the names of Biggio, Bichette, and Guerrero. To an older fan, these names would bring back memories of Craig Biggio’s career 1998 season, Dante Bichette hitting the first ever Rockies home run in their inaugural season, or Vladimir Guerrero hitting .378 in his final postseason. But the three lockers belong to the sons of the former stars of the 90s, as Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. look to lead the Blue Jays into relevancy.Biggio, who made his Major League debut in May of 2019, took two games to get his first hit and one more to hit his first home run with his Hall of Fame father in attendance. Bichette got off to a hot start, taking one at bat to log his first Major League hit, and Guerrero Jr. put together a strong season after an underwhelming start. The success of the up-and-coming Blue Jays paints a bigger picture; the league continues to get younger, veterans aren’t rewarded in free agency anymore (Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel), young and exciting stars lead teams
(Pete Alonso, Xander Bogaerts), and prospects and draft picks now have more value in trades. Among the young stars and prospects lie the second and sometimes third (Mike Yastrzemski) generations of former big leaguers.
Second generation prospects play south of the Canadian border as well. Although he was not as notable as the likes of Biggio, Bichette, and Guerrero, Fernando Tatís had an 11-year career from 1997 to 2010 and became a father in 1999 when Fernando Tatís Jr., currently the electrifying shortstop for the San Diego Padres, was born. Cody Bellinger, the 2017 Rookie of the Year and the son of the three-time World Series champion Clay, plays 130 miles north of Tatís. While he has passed his father in many statistical categories, he is still behind for World Series rings. Mike Yastrzemski, the grandson of Carl Yastrzemski, the long-time Hall of Fame Red Sox, plays north of Bellinger and Tatís, in San Francisco, and played on the same grass his grandfather did when the Giants visited the Red Sox from September 17-19.
Father-son duos appeared long before the likes of Biggio, Bichette, and Guerrero Jr. made their debuts north of the border. Bobby Bonds was a 3-time All-Star before his son, Barry, won seven MVP awards and broke the career home run record in 2007. Performance-enhancing drugs are the only reason he isn’t in the Hall of Fame and regarded as the undisputed best hitter of all time. Ken Griffey Jr. and Sr. played together for a year on the 1990-1991 Mariners, and hit back-to-back home runs on September 14, the only father-son duo to go back-to-back. Griffey Sr. had a 19-year career and his son coasted into the Hall of Fame as a 13-time All-Star.
Extending to high school baseball, Bobby Witt Jr., the son of 2001 World Series champion Bobby Witt, was selected second overall in the 2019 draft by the Kansas City Royals from Colleyville Heritage High School in Texas. Regarded as the best infielder in the draft, Witt Jr. is yet another player on the long list of young prospects with Major League genes in them who will lead their team for years to come.