Each Father’s Day we show our appreciation for everything our fathers have done for us. We give symbolic gifts, as we know that actually paying Dad back for everything he has given us over the years is impossible. For many, an appreciation for the national pastime is an important part of their father’s legacy.
It starts from a young age, typically with a father sitting down with a child to explain a game on television, or in the stands at a Major League or Minor League game. The pace of the game is perfect for these teaching moments — initially rules, then fundamentals, and eventually strategy. Soon the teaching is happening in the stands at the ballpark, accompanied by a sundae in a miniature helmet. We learn to watch the game the way our fathers watch it.
The baseball education isn’t limited to discussion, as soon our fathers transition into the role of coach. This can be as simple as playing catch together in the back yard or practicing hitting in the park. As we grow, our fathers might lend a hand coaching our t-ball or Little League teams, or could simply lend support from the stands during games and advice afterward.
The vast majority of us transition to fandom over the years, but a select few get the opportunity to play on for a living. For a fan, it’s great seeing the son of a former player making his Major League debut. From father-and-son combinations like the Griffeys, who actually played together in the Mariners outfield, to three-generational Major League families like the Boones, there’s a lineage on the diamond as well in the seats.
I was looking around at possible Father’s Day gifts for my own Dad, and I noticed that Coach’s Heritage Baseball collection is designed with fathers and sons in mind and a good idea to share. Inspired by the sport that inspired Coach, it features eye-catching regulation gloves, colorful hand-dipped bats and wallets and baseball paperweights made with their iconic glove-tanned leather. So you could give Dad Color and Craft this Father’s Day, some luxury that combines his favorite tradition.
One of my favorite father-son memories of all-time happened on Aug. 31, 1990. Ken Griffey Jr. and Sr. were in the same lineup for Seattle against Kansas City, and they became the first father and son combo to both play, hit and score in the same game. The next month, they would go on to hit back-to-back home runs. Junior would say later: “I got to play with my Dad. That’s the biggest thing to ever happen to me, other than the birth of my children.” Watch this from the MLB.com archives: