For generations, Father’s Day and baseball have been synonymous with one another. Many folks, myself included, have a large number of baseball memories that are often associated with our father-like figures. Those fathers taught us the basics of the game and passed on their passion for the game and fandom for their favorite team. Baseball is a sport that envokes deep connections between a father and his children; why else would I burst into tears at the end of Field of Dreams every time?
For this Father’s Day, I perused through over 200 father-sun duos to look at those that have a connection to the Rockies. For this brief list, at least one part of the duo must have played for the Rockies or served as a coach. Without further ado, it’s time for some father and son bonding time.
Eric Young Sr./Eric Young Jr.
For the Rockies, there is only one father-son duo on this list that both played in Colorado and starred in a commercial. Eric Young Sr. was an original Rockie in 1993 and is best known for his leadoff home run in the Rockies’ first at-bat in their first home game. He spent five seasons in Colorado, utilizing his speed to swipe 180 bases, including a league-leading 53 bags in 1996. Young Sr. reunited with Colorado in 2014, serving as the first base coach until 2016. In his 15-year career, Young Sr. slashed .283/.359/.390 with 465 stolen bases. He currently serves as the Braves’ first base coach.
Eric Young Jr. was just a kid when his father hit that first home run at Mile High Stadium and just 16 years later he would hit his first career home run at Coors Field. Young Jr. was drafted by the Rockies in 2003, and would later make his debut in the latter part of 2009. Just like his father, speed was all part of EY Jr.’s game, evidenced by the 70 bases he stole in five seasons in Colorado, where he enjoyed the most success of his career as a hitter. In his 10-year career, EY Jr. slashed .245/.312/.332 with 162 stolen bases. He currently serves as a coach for the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers.
Dante Bichette/Bo Bichette
Another original Rockie, Dante Bichette was a key member of the Blake Street Bombers from 1993-99. The four-time All-Star played for 14 years, seven in Colorado, belting 274 homers. Throughout his career, he batted .299/.336/.499 including a phenomenal 1995 season where he finished second in the MVP voting. Dante also reunited with the Rockies in 2013 as the team’s hitting coach but would leave the role following that season. Currently, he works as a special assistant for the Toronto Blue Jays organization.
The reason for Dante helping with the Blue Jays organization is a little player known as Bo Bichette. Drafted in 2016 by the Blue Jays, Bo made his big league debut at the age of 21 in 2019 as part of the big league son movement in Toronto that included Cavan Biggio and Vlad Guerrero Jr. In three seasons with Toronto, Bo has cemented himself as a high-quality player in 143 games, including setting an MLB record for by hitting a double in nine straight games. In his young career, Bo is slashing .294/.337/.519 with 30 home runs.
Bruce Ruffin/Chance Ruffin
Yet another member of the inaugural 1993 Rockies, Bruce Ruffin was tasked with figuring out pitching at altitude, and he turned out to be fairly decent at it. In five seasons with Colorado primarily as a reliever, Ruffin went 17-18 with a 3.84 ERA and a 1.445 WHIP across 321 innings. Notably, Ruffin is the first Rockies pitcher to strike out four batters in an inning when he accomplished the feat in 1996 against the Cubs. Over the course of his 12-year career with the Phillies, Brewers, and Rockies, Ruffin managed a 4.12 ERA along with 843 strikeouts and 565 walks.
Bruce Ruffin’s son Chance did not have a long career like his father. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the first round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft out of the University of Texas at Austin. One year later in 2011, he would make his debut with the Tigers, pitching in just two games before being traded to the Mariners. In 17 2⁄3 innings on the season, he allowed eight runs on 18 hits, including four home runs. Chance would not pitch again in the big leagues until 2013, appearing in nine games with the Mariners, where he struggled to an 8.39 ERA. He would be designated for assignment in the offseason and later retired from baseball in 2014.
Chris Cron/C.J. Cron
Chris Cron did not have a long MLB career as a player. He played in just 12 games across two seasons and gathered just two hits. He retired in 1995 and began his career as a coach, where he has managed 12 minor league teams across all levels. In 2021 Cron was promoted as the overall on-field coordinator for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Being with the Diamondbacks gives Chris Cron plenty of opportunities to watch his son C.J. Cron play for the Rockies. Drafted in 2011 by the Angels, C.J. has been a solid producer when he has been healthy. He signed a minor-league deal with the Rockies prior to this season and has provided solid production at first base for the team. In his career, the 31-year-old is batting .257/.316/.463 with 126 home runs.
Happy Father’s Day
These are just a few of the duos with ties to the Rockies, and something that I gather is just how proud these fathers are of their sons following in their footsteps and playing on the biggest stage. Careers vary, but the bonds are everlasting. So, to all the fathers out there that have influenced us and shared those baseball memories, we wish you all a happy Father’s Day!
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Shohei Ohtani delighted the baseball world with his announcement that he would be participating in the 2021 Home Run Derby at Coors Field. Everyone is still speculating who they would like to see the derby (I even wrote about it), and it seems like many folks see Ryan McMahon as the Rockies’ choice should MLB want a hometown representative in the event.
In the midst of all the Trevor Story trade rumors, it could be possible that teams in need of relievers could turn to the Rockies for some help. It sounds ironic, but Daniel Bard and Mychal Givens could be quality chips the Rockies could use to gather some prospects that could help with the rebuild process the team is heading for, and the Blue Jays are desperate for some bullpen help, which could benefit the Rockies.
On the farm
Despite tallying more hits than Reno, Albuquerque lost a close one 7-6. Ryan Castellani was roughed up for five runs on five hits in four innings. Castellani issued five walks on the night and was tagged for four home runs. The Albuquerque offense was powered by Sam Hilliard who launched two homers, including a fourth-inning grand slam, to drive in all six of the team’s runs.
It was a rough night for Hartford as they gave up 15 runs on 22 hits to New Hampshire. Karl Kauffman’s struggles continued in the loss as he gave up five runs on seven hits in just 1 2⁄3 innings. He is now 0-5 on the year with a 7.50 ERA. Hartford would have to utilize six pitchers on the night, with all but one, giving up at least a run. Elehuris Montero highlighted the offense with two doubles in the game.
After nine scoreless innings, Spokane came out on top 2-1 against the Dust Devils. Helcris Olivarez put in a strong performance for Spokane, striking out 11 batters in five scoreless innings of work. Zack Linginfelter matched the Spokane pitchers by tossing seven scoreless innings himself while striking out five batters. Isaac Collins played hero by breaking into the run column with an RBI single in the top of the 10th and then would score on a wild pitch to give them a 2-0 lead. PJ Poulin would nail down the save after allowing a run in the bottom of the inning.
Fresno managed to load the bases in the bottom of the 10th, but back-to-back strikeouts ended the game in Stockton’s favor. The Ports pushed across three runs in the top of the 10th against Juan Mejia to snag the victory. Timely hitting helped Fresno rally to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth thanks to a Julio Carreras sacrifice fly. Unfortunately, Fresno went 1-10 with RISP, and ultimately lost the game 8-5.
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