If you’re the type of sports fan who likes to know everything about your favorite sport, then chances are you want to know the players that are related to each other. That’s a pretty easy task when it comes to football and basketball since so many of those guys are related, but it’s much more of a challenge when it comes to finding baseball players who are related. Well, that’s why we’re here!
We’re not going to be mentioning Bobby and Barry Bonds, the Griffeys, or the Alous because, well, you should know those ones already. We could have made that list without having to do any research at all. No, we were looking for players who had more distant relationships to other players. You know: uncles, cousins, things like that. It wasn’t easy, but we think that we found some that might surprise you.
Chances are you’ve heard of the baseball players listed on this page, but you probably didn’t know about their family bond. We also went ahead and did a quick comparison of the players to see which relative has the bragging rights at family dinners.
Well, here they are. These are our top 15 players you didn’t know are related.
15. Julio Teheran and Sugar Ray Marimon
Julio Teheran and Sugar Ray Marimon are not only second cousins, they also had a chance to play together on the Atlanta Braves. They also grew up together in Cartagena, Colombia, so they have a closer relationship than most other pairs on this list.
Julio Teheran has certainly been the more successful of the two so far. The young right-hander has already been to two All-Star games in his first six years in the league and he is arguably the most talented pitcher that the Braves have.
Marimon did have a cup of coffee in the majors in 2015, but he didn’t do too well coming out of the Braves’ bullpen. He pitched in 16 games and ended up allowing 21 earned runs in just 25.2 innings.
14. Carl Nichols and Ray Lankford
We’re not going to blame you for not knowing who Carl Nichols is. That’s okay, most people have never heard of him. But we’re sure you’ve heard of Ray Lankford if you watched baseball during the ‘90s and early 2000s. Lankford just happens to be Nichols’ nephew, though he is only five years younger than his uncle.
Nichols had six short and very unproductive seasons in the big leagues. He wound up playing in 96 total games and finished his career with a paltry .204 batting average.
Lankford, on the other hand, had a very good Major League career. Over 14 years with the Cardinals and Padres, the left-handed hitting centerfielder had a .272 average and smacked 238 homers. He was also solid on the bases, stealing 258 bags.
13. Fernando Rodney and Alfredo Figaro
No one will blame you for not knowing that these two are cousins. First of all, Fernando Rodney is a much bigger name in baseball than Alfredo Figaro. Secondly, their names couldn’t be more different, so even we’re surprised we found out they were related. They are both relief pitchers, though, so there is that similarity.
Fernando Rodney hasn’t always been a great reliever in the majors, but he definitely has had some great seasons. The 39-year-old has been to three All-Star games and he won the 2012 MLB Delivery Man of the Year for being the top relief pitcher in baseball.
Alfredo Figaro, on the other hand, has not been able to stick around at the Major League level. Over four years in the bigs, the right-hander has pitched for two teams and has only made over 30 appearances once.
12. Roger Cedeno and Yangervis Solarte
This is one of the coolest relationships on the list because Yangervis Solarte probably wouldn’t be in the majors without his uncle’s help. Roger Cedeno asked his agent to take a chance on Solarte, which definitely helped the youngster get noticed.
Roger Cedeno jumped from team to team over his 11-year career, but he was actually a pretty solid hitter. He ended up with a .340 on-base percentage in 1,100 games, which is better than most former players can claim.
Switch-hitting Yangervis Solarte is currently the San Diego Padres’ starting third baseman after putting up solid numbers in consecutive seasons. He’s a pretty good defensive player and he’s capable of hitting plenty of long balls.
11. Jimmy Rollins and Tony Tarasco
Not too many people know that Jimmy Rollins and Tony Tarasco are cousins, and for good reason. One has been in the league for nearly two decades and is a former MVP, while the other was an average-at-best major leaguer for a couple of seasons.
Rollins was a staple in the Philadelphia Phillies lineup for 13 years. He helped them win a World Series while playing excellent shortstop and being one of the few players in the league with great power and speed. He’s not quite the same player he once was, but he’s a borderline Hall of Famer.
Tarasco, on the other hand, had just one pretty good season in the majors. Tarasco is most known for being the player who happened to be at the right-field wall during the 1996 ALCS when Jeffrey Maier (then a 12-year-old fan) caught Derek Jeter’s “home run.” Yeah, Tarasco wasn’t very good at baseball.
10. Ed Donnelly and Jarred Cosart
This is one of those random baseball facts that you break out if you want to impress other sports fans. Ed Donnelly, a no-name pitcher from the late 1950s, is Jarred Cosart’s grandfather. Cosart is pretty well known right now, but very few people will know who you’re talking about when you bring up Donnelly’s name.
Ed Donnelly worked hard to make it up to the majors back in 1959, but his stint did not last very long. The reliever threw a total of 14.1 innings over nine games and ended up allowing five runs while striking out six. That’s it. He never made it back to the show and ended up retiring at the age of 30.
Jarred Cosart isn’t a very good pitcher, but he has definitely had a lot more success than his grandfather did a half-century ago. The right-handed starter came out of the minors in 2013 as one of the top prospects in baseball and has been slightly above- average ever since (3.92 career ERA to this point).
9. Sam Dente and Rick Porcello
Sam Dente may be a relatively unknown shortstop from the ‘40s and ‘50s, but without him we wouldn’t have gotten the guy who ended up winning the 2016 AL Cy Young Award. That’s right, Dente is Rick Porcello’s grandfather.
Dente’s numbers are nothing to write home about. He spent nine seasons at the top level and finished with a decent .252 batting average. He never hit more than two homers and he never stole more than four bases, so year, he was average at best.
Porcello, though, has proven to be a solid major leaguer. After having an okay start to his career with the Detroit Tigers, the right-hander made his adjustments with the Boston Red Sox. In 2016, the 27-year-old was able to win a league-high 22 games and took home the top pitching prize.
8. Jose Mercedes and Jose Valverde
You’re probably not going to remember Jose Mercedes unless you’re a die-hard Orioles or Brewers fan, but he is related to a pretty popular reliever in Jose Valverde. You would think that they are brothers or cousins considering they’re only seven years apart in age, but Mercedes is actually Valverde’s uncle.
Mercedes is perhaps most well known to Orioles fans because of how bad he was in 2001. In 33 appearances (31 starts) that season, the right-hander gave up 219 hits in just 184 innings and led the league in losses with 17. Unsurprisingly, that was his last full season.
Valverde, unlike his uncle, had a great career in the majors. He led the league in saves three times and made it to the All-Star games three times as well. The right-hander also came away with the Rolaids Relief Man Award two times as the league’s best closer.
7. Dick Schofield and Jayson Werth
Baseball certainly runs in this family. Ducky Schofield, who was a shortstop in the ‘50s and ‘60s, is Dick Schofield’s father. Dick, an infielder in the ‘80s and ‘90s, is Jayson Werth’s uncle.
Dick was not a very good baseball player, finishing with just a .230 batting average over 14 years in the Major Leagues. He kept getting at-bats every year, though, and he currently holds the record for the most 400 at-bat seasons with less than 100 hits.
Werth, known equally for his beard and his high on-base percentage, has had a lot more success in the majors than his uncle. He was able to help the Philadelphia Phillies win the 2008 World Series, and then he signed a huge contract with the Washington Nationals back in 2010 and has been a solid outfielder for them ever since.
6. Aaron Rowand and James Shields
If you’re a fan of how James Shields has pitched in recent years, then you should thank his cousin Aaron Rowand for helping him out. Shields underachieved during his first five or so years in the majors, but Rowand put him on his workout regimen to help get him in better shape. Shields has been a much better pitcher ever since.
Rowand was never a superstar, but he did have some solid years in the league. In his 11-year career, the outfielder had a .273 batting average and socked 136 homers. Not bad at all.
Shields did not have a good year in 2016, but he was an above-average starter of the five years before that. He has made one All-Star team and is known as an innings-eater, throwing over 200 innings in all but two of his seasons in the majors.
5. John Shelby and Josh Harrison
There aren’t too many similarities between John Shelby and Josh Harrison, so we don’t blame you for not knowing that they are related. Shelby is Harrison’s uncle, and the one thing that they do have in common is that they both played in the majors.
Shelby was able to last 11 years in the big leagues despite only having a handful of decent seasons. Perhaps what he’s best known for is going 0-for-10 in a 20-inning game back in 1989. Even if he wasn’t the best player, he can still say that he won two World Series championships in the ‘80s while a member of the Baltimore Orioles.
Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Josh Harrison has been a consistently solid player last three years. He was an All-Star in 2014 and you can usually find him near the top of the Pirates’ lineup.
4. Terry Shumpert and Mookie Betts
Some people either don’t know or don’t remember Terry Shumpert, but those who do remember a player who had the same type of potential that his nephew does now. His nephew, of course, is Mookie Betts, who in 2016 was a couple of votes away from being the AL MVP.
Terry Shumpert was a utility player for the majority of his 14-year career, but he also showed flashes of being a very good baseball player. For example, in just 92 games in 1999, he was able to hit .347 with 10 homers for the Rockies.
Mookie Betts has already done a bit more with his family’s genes. The young outfielder made his first All-Star game in 2016 and finished with a fantastic .318 batting average while hitting 31 home runs.
3. Rick Dempsey and Gregg Zaun
Neither Rick Dempsey nor Gregg Zaun were great players during their careers, but what they had in common was that they were both very solid defensive catchers and they stayed in the league for a long time. Saying that, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Dempsey is Zaun’s uncle.
Dempsey was not a very good hitter, but he was an excellent catcher. During his 24-year career, he hit just .233 and he only hit a total of 96 home runs. However, he did win two World Series and he even came away with the World Series MVP award in 1983.
Zaun wasn’t as great of a catcher as his uncle, but he was definitely a better hitter. Over 16 years in the league, he hit .252 with an on-base percentage of .344. Like Dempsey, Zaun was also lucky enough to win a World Series during his career.
2. Lou Piniella and Dave Magadan
Not only is Lou Piniella Dave Magadan’s cousin, he also happens to be his godfather. Piniella was the more powerful of the two, but Magadan was arguably a better all-around baseball player. Piniella also happened to be a great manager, though, so it’s not surprising that some younger baseball fans don’t even know who Magadan is.
Over Piniella’s 18 years in the league, he hit .291 with 102 homers. He won three World Series as a player and was named to the All-Star team once. As a manager, he won the Manager of the Year award three times and was inducted into the Mariners’ Hall of Fame.
Magadan was known as a very good hitter and an above-average third baseman. He finished his 16-year career with a .288 batting average and a .390 OBP.
1. Dwight Gooden and Gary Sheffield
This is definitely the most talented combo of players on this list. Dwight Gooden is a New York Mets legend despite not fully living up to his potential, and Gary Sheffield is one of the top home run hitters of all-time. Therefore, it should come as no big surprise that Gooden is Sheffield’s uncle.
Before running into some drug problems, Dwight Gooden was easily one of the best pitchers in the majors. He was an All-Star in four out of his first five seasons in the league, winning the Rookie of the Year and picking up one Cy Young award over that time period. He finished his career with 194 wins and a solid 3.51 ERA.
Gary Sheffield lasted an amazing 22 years in the majors. His career numbers are well above-average across the board: .292/.393/.514 with 509 home runs and 1,676 RBI. He also went to nine All-Star games and picked up a World Series trophy in 1997.
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