"“Hey, Dad? You want to have a catch?”– Field Of Dreams (1989)"
Baseball has always been about family, which is why MLB loves to celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day each year. And in the history of the game, there have been over 200 father-son duos who have passed the game down from generation to generation. Right now, young stars like Vlad Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Fernando Tatis Jr. are following in their fathers’ footsteps.
It’s not uncommon for the son of a ballplayer to grow up and play the game, but it’s not every day a son gets to play for their father’s old team. In fact, quite a few fathers or sons have played for the Phillies, but according to Baseball Almanac, only three duos have both fathers and sons who spent time with the club.
Tito and Terry Francona*
This one gets an asterisk because while Terry played nine seasons, he was never on the Phillies. His father spent part of one of his 15 seasons with the Phillies in 1967, appearing in 27 games, hitting .205 with no home runs and 3 RBI before his contract was sold to the Atlanta Braves.
Terry went on to manage the club from 1997-2000. He’s since managed the Red Sox to two World Series championships and is currently managing the Indians, who now hold the longest World Series drought in MLB history. Cleveland has not won the fall classic since 1948, eight years before his father made his MLB debut.
Ruben Amaro Sr, Ruben Amaro Jr., and Luis Amaro
Probably the most famous father-son duo in franchise history, Ruben Amaro Sr played for the Phillies from 1960-1965, and Junior followed, playing for the Phillies from 1992-1993, and again from 1996 until his retirement in 1998 when he joined the Phillies front office. Senior’s other son Luis also played in the Phillies minor league system before becoming an executive in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League.
The crazy thing about Senior and Junior’s Phillies’ careers is that their stat lines have some crazy similarities. Senior played for the Phillies for six years and hit .241/.315/.308; Junior was with the club for five years and slashed .239/.313/.354. Senior hit 7 homers, Junior hit 13. Senior had a 74 OPS+, Junior’s was 82.
Like father, like son.
Mark Leiter and Mark Leiter Jr.
RHP Mark Leiter’s 11-year MLB career included a 100-game stint with the Phillies over the 1997 and 1998 seasons. Twenty years later, his son, also a righty pitcher, made his MLB debut with the Phillies in 2017 and pitched in 39 games for the club before being traded to the Blue Jays in 2018.
Senior is probably best remembered for leading all of MLB in hit-by-pitch in 1995 and 1996. He also has the unfortunate recognition of a dismal 1997 season with the Phillies, in which he led MLB in losses (17) and led the NL in earned runs given up (115).
In two seasons, Junior posted a 5.53 ERA over 47 games before undergoing Tommy John surgery. He’s since signed with the Diamondbacks and Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League before signing a minor-league deal with the Detroit Tigers in March of this year.
The Phillies probably would’ve preferred Mark Sr’s brother, two-time All-Star and World Series champion, Al Leiter.