The family with the largest number of players to reach the major leagues is celebrating the birthday of the father of two current major leaguers, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Scott Hairston. Their father, Jerry Hairston Sr., is the second generation of the family to reach the big league and the first to make his own mark for the family.
Jerry Hairston was born on February 16th 1952, seven months after his father made his major league debut. Sam Hairston only played in a handful of games with the Chicago White Sox, but he also had a 6 year career in the Negro American League from 1944 til 1950 with the Birmingham Black Barons and Indianapolis Clowns. He won the Negro League Triple Crown in 1950 and set the tone for the rest of his family that continues to play at the top level of baseball.
Sam Hairston’s son debuted with the Chicago White Sox 22 years and 5 days after his own debut. Also like his father, he notched his first career hit in his first game played. The similarities end there, more or less, as the younger Hairston went on to establish himself as a great roleplayer and a professional pinch hitter. Over fourteen seasons spent mostly with the White Sox(three plus seasons were spent playing in the Mexican League and one half season with the Pittsburgh Pirates), Hairston had 94 career pinch hits. Only recently has he been bumped from list of top 20 all time in pinch hits.
In a March 1986 issue of Baseball Digest, Al Doyle profiled the Mexican League that Jerry Hairston spent nearly four seasons of his prime playing in. Click here to read the article!
As the son of a major leaguer, a father of two major leaguers, and the brother of a major leaguer, the three generations of Hairstons have had at least one member of the family representing in the major leagues or the negro leagues over the course of 34 seasons going back to 1944. The extended family includes several more players that reached the minor leagues. Current major leaguers Jerry and Scott Hairston played together for the first time during the 2010 season as members of the San Diego Padres.
Also Celebrating A Birthday Today:
Manny Delcarmen was born on February 16th, 1982 and became the first player drafted out of the Boston Public School system in 34 years when the Boston Red Sox selected the right hander in the second round of the June Amateur Draft. He had a 3.87 ERA over six seasons in Boston before being traded to the Colorado Rockies at the deadline in 2010.
Eric Byrnes(b. 1976) logged eleven seasons in the big leagues with five teams, most of his time being spent with the Oakland Athletics and Arizona Diamondbacks. Between 2003 and 2007 he averaged nearly 20 home runs a year to go along with more than 20 stolen bases and more than 30 doubles yearly. He retired in May of 2010 and has joined the MLB Network in addition to a local slow pitch softball team.
Terry Crowley(b. 1947) was the first Designated Hitter for the Baltimore Orioles when the addition was made to the American League rulebook. A 15 year veteran, Crowley also had a long career as a hitting coach with the Baltimore Orioles and Minnesota Twins.