Baseball’s Fathers and Sons

I’ve written before that baseball is in large part about fathers and sons (or daughters for that matter). It’s not an original sentiment per say, but it holds the same truth all the same. Roar from 34 is littered with entries that draw upon memories of simple times at the ballpark with my dad. It seems that sentiment applies to players as well.

The most obvious Father’s Day story belongs to Melvin Mora, father of 8-year-old quintuplets, who tragically did not enjoy the good fortune of enjoying days at the ballpark with his dad. The Sun tells the story of Mora the dad while Guideposts relates the gritty details of Mora’s own upbringing without his father.

One day, when Melvin Mora, the third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles, was a young boy, he was walking with his dad in front of the family’s home.

Suddenly, a man approached, pulled out a gun, pointed it at Melvin’s father, and pulled the trigger. Mora’s father stumbled into the house and collapsed on a couch.

“I was six years old,” Mora recalls. “I didn’t know how to react…I saw my sister crying, so I began to cry. The thing I most remember was that he was lying on the couch. I saw blood…And then he died.”

Other O’s-related Father’s Day articles include Brad Bergesen’s story of his father and best man (looks like I have something in common with the young pitcher), which Dave Johnson certainly appreciated.

Okay, I am officially jealous. What a wonderful story. Good for both of them. I had hardly made it halfway through the article before my eyes welled up and I had to go for the tissues.

I have wondered for a while now, what would it have been like to spend that kind of time with my dad? On this Father’s Day weekend, I find myself thinking about my time with my dad. He loved baseball, yet I never remember having a conversation about it with him.

There are three particular days that I remember spending with him that had to do with baseball. For my 12th birthday, he took me to a 1971 World Series game when the Orioles played the Pirates at Memorial Stadium. We sat in the upper deck and I just remember how big the field looked.

Finally, former Oriole Will Clark is taking on a new challenge as a full-time father in his life after baseball.

In 1999, the first season after the diagnosis, Clark’s trade from the Rangers to the Orioles in 1999 made life simpler for the family. The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore was already providing vital therapy for Trey.

Clark also played alongside catcher B.J. Surhoff, who has an autistic son a few years older than Trey. But the road trips, the time away from the family during spring training, prevented Clark from providing the kind of stability he wanted for his son.

In late 2000, when he split the season between Baltimore and St. Louis, he hit .319 and had a .418 on-base percentage. Clark was only 36, but he decided to retire after the Cardinals were eliminated in the NLCS. He wanted to be with the family.

“I was on my tail end anyway, but I cut my career short,” he said. “Since I have been home more, there’s been tremendous improvements in Trey. Having two parents home, his father figure there, we’ve seen big improvements. … Plus, getting him involved in sports has made a difference. Being around other kids and interacting the way you do in the games has really helped.”


About mptaylor11

Roar from 34, a Baltimore Orioles Blog. Humor. History. Homerism. Since 2006.
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