By Cliff Corcoran
The relationship between fathers and sons is baked into baseball's mythology as well as reality. Entering Father's Day weekend, there are 19 players on active Major League rosters whose fathers also played in the Show. Among those are brothers Andrew and Austin Romine, sons of former Red Sox outfielder Kevin Romine, and teammates Joc Pederson, son of fellow Dodgers outfielder Stu Pederson, and rookie sensation Cody Bellinger, son of former Yankee utility man Clay Bellinger. None of those father-son combinations, however, ranks among the top ten terms of cumulative wins above replacement (Baseball-Reference version) for active Major League sons. That list is as follows.
10. McCullers, Lance Sr. (5.2) and Jr. (6.1) -- 11.3 bWAR
McCullers Sr. spent parts of seven Major League seasons as a right-handed reliever from 1985 to 1992, experiencing his greatest success with the Padres in his early 20s, a four-year span during which he posted a 125 ERA+ over 222 relief appearances and seven starts and recorded 36 saves. He also had an odd habit of turning his head away from the plate near the end of his delivery.
Lance Jr. was born after his father's final professional season, which Lance Sr. spent with the Mariners' Triple-A team in 1993, and has already surpassed his old man in career bWAR despite the fact that he has yet to spend a full healthy season in the Majors. He'll spend Father's Day on the disabled list with a lower back issue, but the 23-year-old's future remains bright.
9. Bedrosian, Steve (14.9) and Cam (0.8) -- 15.7 bWAR
Steve won the 1987 NL Cy Young Award at a time when Cy Young voters were easily impressed by what have since become common place relief performances. Bedrock's Major League-leading 40 saves, including a then-record 13 consecutive appearances in which he recorded a save, and 2.83 ERA (151 ERA+) don't look special from here, but Bedrosian was a fine reliever for the Braves and Phillies in the 1980s, acquitted himself well in his lone season as a starter in 1985 and played a total of 14 seasons in the Major Leagues.
Cameron Rock Bedrosian was born after Steve's lone season with the Twins. He has struck out 10.3 men per nine innings over parts of four seasons and has flirted with following in his father's footsteps as a closer (he already has the beard), but health issues -- Tommy John surgery in 2011, blood clots in 2016 and a groin injury this year -- keep getting in the way. The good news is he is expected to be activated from the disabled list this weekend.
8. Brantley, Mickey (0.9) and Michael (17.7) -- 18.6 bWAR
Mickey, who spent four years as an outfielder with the Mariners in his late 20s and later coached in the Majors, is Michael Charles Brantley Sr., but Cleveland's left fielder doesn't use the junior attached to his full name. Michael was born during Mickey's sophomore season with Seattle, which was also Mickey's best in the Majors as he hit .302/.344/.499 (116 OPS+) in 378 plate appearances. Michael didn't best his old man's career-high OPS+ until his sixth Major League season, a breakout campaign during which Michael made his first All-Star team, won the Silver Slugger, and finished third in the American League MVP Award voting, a performance to which Mickey's coaching contributed. This year, Michael is enjoying a solid comeback from a year lost to a shoulder injury and is currently away from the team in anticipation of the birth of his own child.
7. Shaw, Jeff (13.8) and Travis (5.3) -- 19.1 bWAR
After making his second All-Star team, as well as a $6.4 million salary, in 2001, Jeff, who saved 203 games in his 12-year Major League career, walked away from baseball at the age of 35 in order to spend more time with his three kids, the oldest of whom, Travis, was born two weeks before Jeff's Major League debut in April 1990. Fourteen years later, Travis made his Major League debut with the Red Sox. The following spring, he won Boston's third-base job in camp, and after an offseason trade to the Brewers, he is now a key figure in Milwaukee's surprise success this season, hitting .302/.355/.533 (128 OPS+) with 11 home runs entering the weekend.
6. Walker, Tom (0.5) and Neil (20.1) - 20.6 bWAR
Tom spent six years as an undistinguished righty reliever for four teams from 1972 to 1977. His career was ancient history by the time his youngest child, Neil, was born in 1985. The 11th overall pick in the 2004 Draft (his father had been the eighth overall pick in the January Draft in 1968), Neil was a catcher, then a third baseman, before finally establishing himself in the Majors as a second baseman in 2010. A centerpiece of the Pirates rejuvenation earlier this decade, Walker has spent the last two seasons with the Mets, batting injuries, and will spend Father's Day on the disabled list with a partially torn left hamstring.
5. Young, Eric Sr. (18.7) and Jr. (2.2) -- 20.9 bWAR
New Brunswick, N.J., native and Rutgers University product Eric Orlando Young Sr. had a distinguished 15-year career as a Major League second baseman and outfielder, during which he reached base at a .359 clip and stole 465 bases. He also led the National League in triples in 1995 with nine and in stolen bases in 1996 with 53, a season in which he also made his only All-Star Game and won his only Silver Slugger. Born soon after his father's 18th birthday, E.Y. Jr. was drafted by the team with which his father had the most success, the Colorado Rockies, while E.Y. Sr. was still in the Majors, and made his Major League debut just three years after his old man retired.
A second baseman/outfielder like his father and namesake, E.Y. Jr. didn't stick in the infield as long as his father, nor has he had as much success, but he did lead the NL in steals in 2013 with 46 and is currently enjoying a surprising hot streak as the Angels' injury replacement for Mike Trout, hitting .316/.409/.526 in 17 games entering the weekend's action.
4. DeShields, Delino Sr. (24.2) and Jr. (2.3) -- 26.5 bWAR
Famously traded straight-up for a young Pedro Martinez after the 1993 season, Delino Sr. had a career very similar to E.Y. Sr's, stealing 463 bases over 13 seasons as a second baseman and outfielder, reaching base at a .352 clip with little power, and leading the NL in triples in 1997 with 14. Delino Jr. was born in 1992, while his dad was still with the Expos, and, like his dad, was a first-round pick, going to the Astros eighth overall in 2010 while Senior was taken 11th overall by Montreal in 1987. Like E.Y. Jr., the younger DeShields didn't stick at second base as long as his old man, but shares his speed and is hanging on as a fourth outfielder in the AL West, in his case with the Rangers, who stole him from the Astros in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft.
3. Werth, Dennis (-0.2) and Jayson (30.5) -- 30.3 bWAR
Dennis, who scraped together 172 Major League plate appearances with the Yankees and Royals from 1979 to 1982, is Jayson's stepfather, and his professional baseball career ended before he married Jayson's mother in the mid-'80s. The big league lineage doesn't end there. Jayson's mother, a collegiate track star, is the daughter of former Major League shortstop Dick Schofield, who had a 19-year career, and the sister of fellow shortstop Dick Jr., who was in the Majors from the time Jayson was 4 until he was 18. Also, Jayson's biological father, Jeff Gowan, spent the year before Jayson was born in the Cardinals system as a rookie-ball outfielder.
For his part, Jayson was drafted 22nd overall the year after his uncle retired, won the World Series with the Phillies in 2008, made the All-Star team in 2009, and signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Nationals after the 2010 season. He is currently in the final year of that deal and on the disabled list due to an injury suffered when fouling a ball off his left foot earlier this month.
2. Gordon, Tom (34.9) and Dee (8.2) -- 43.1 bWAR
Despite being an undersized right-handed pitcher, Tom "Flash" Gordon had a 21-year Major League career, the first half of which he spent as a swing man and starter for the Royals and Red Sox. In his age-29 season, he made a transition to closing and never started another Major League game. He did, however, lead the American League in saves in 1998, make three All-Star teams as a reliever and post a 152 ERA+ over an eight-year span from 1998 to 2006. His success in Boston also inspired the Stephen King novel "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon."
Dee, born five months before his father's Major League debut and drafted by the Dodgers during Tom's penultimate campaign, is actually a couple inches taller than his old man and more deserving of the nickname Flash (his twitter handle is @FlashGJr) given that the second baseman has twice led the Majors in stolen bases and has 239 to his name less than half way through his seventh Major League season.
1. Cano, Jose (-0.2) and Robinson (64.0) -- 63.8 bWAR
Robinson and Jose Cano are the Hank and Tommy Aaron of this list. Jose threw a total of 23 innings over three starts and three relief appearances for the Astros in 1989. Robinson, born early in his father's Minor League career, is a seven-time All-Star with five Silver Sluggers, two Gold Gloves, and one world championship to his name and a solid chance to reach 3,000 career hits. Robinson is likely to end up in the Hall of Fame even if he falls short of that figure. Jose, meanwhile, will likely be best remembered as his son's Home Run Derby championship pitcher, with Cano's 2011 Derby win being one of the most memorable father-and-son moments in Major League history.
Cliff Corcoran is a Sports on Earth contributor and a regular guest analyst on the MLB Network. An editor or contributor to 13 books about baseball, including seven Baseball Prospectus annuals, he spent the last 10 seasons covering baseball for SI.com and has also written for USA Today and SB Nation, among others.