GLENDALE, Ariz. -- This spring, there are more major league sons in the Los Angeles Dodgers' clubhouse than you might find at even a Steve Garvey family reunion.
Seven, to be specific. Outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. is the son of the legendary Hall of Famer. Shortstop Dee Gordon is the son of longtime pitcher Tom Gordon. Outfielder Scott Van Slyke is the son of former outfielder Andy Van Slyke. Second baseman Ivan De Jesus Jr. is the son of 15-year veteran Ivan De Jesus. Catcher Matt Wallach is the son of 17-year-year veteran Tim Wallach. Infielder Justin Sellers is the son of former Boston Red Sox pitcher Jeff Sellers. And infielder Jerry Hairston Jr. is not only the son of former Chicago White Sox infielder Jerry Sr. but also the grandson of ex-major leaguer Sam Hairston, the nephew of John Hairston and the brother of Scott Hairston (the Hairston name has been around baseball almost as long as Rawlings).
"My grandpa played in the Negro Leagues, and I remember him talking about Jackie Robinson, Josh Gibson and Cool Papa Bell," Hairston said. "Especially around Thanksgiving, I would hear those stories and my dad would tell stories about when he was playing. And, when I was a kid, I wanted to have stories of my own and experience what they experienced."
And the Dodgers could have had one more big league son had Los Angeles not traded manager Don Mattingly's son, Preston, two years ago. How many of the remaining players will stick with the team remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: Right now, they could field one hell of a father-son game.
"If you took our fathers in their prime, I think we'd be in trouble," said Gwynn, 29. "We've got some really good ballplayers here who are the sons of former big leaguers. You just try to keep getting better every day, and I think that's the mindset of everybody here.
"You hope it's a trend we continue to see as long as baseball is around.
When you start hanging out with your father in the big leagues, it's hard not to fall in love with the life."
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