Generational High School Players

I moved into my town 19 years ago.  Before then, I lived nowhere near where I am now.

Around 4 years after I moved here, my son was born.  He’s now a HS freshmen.

I want to say it was around 5 years ago, give or take, that I became aware of our HS baseball program – meaning who were the coaches, the players, their families, etc.

There are MANY kids who are playing for our HS now, or who played for them very recently, where they are the sons of men who played for our HS team (when they were younger). 

Right now, there’s at least a half-dozen kids on the HS team whose fathers played on the same HS team in the mid-to-late 1980’s. 

Is that the norm for a small town?  (And, I never would have considered my town to be small.)  Or, is that something that’s rare to find these days?

Original Post

We're in a small town and have some pretty cool generational and "everyone is connected" stuff that's always popping up.  But, for six guys from that 80's period to all have played on the baseball team and all have had boys about the same age and those boys all now to be on the same HS team is really remarkable to me anyway.

I played for the same high school as my father. I would never do it to my kid. Due to the progression of time and development along with his genes I was a better athlete. But my father being from an era (1938-41) when a family weekend trip thirty miles away made the local newspaper I was competing against a legend. No matter what I accomplished I was Eddies kid. We had the same football coach. 

He went on to play football in the Big Ten when it would have only been bigger to play for Notre Dame, Army or Navy. He got injured and transferred to a family legacy NESCAC where he played baseball and basketball. His father and grandfather were three sport stars there. I had no desire to play at a D3. 

 

I also live in a small town. I graduated from HS here. One of the things I have loved about my son's baseball experience is the legacy in our community.

My husband calls it the baseball mafia and it centers around our high school and local college.

The oldest generation was Larry. He coached Joe, who played in the minors. Joe came home when his career ended and coached my son's travel team coach, who went on to play college baseball. The travel team coach then coached Joe's boys, one of whom played in the MLB for several years, the other of whom got hurt in the minors, before starting our travel team.

Joe, his sons and the travel coach all helped coach my son.

Never had to pay anyone for a lesson. We gave gift cards to local restaurants, a cooler of steaks at Christmas, and that's all anyone would take.

When my 2018 was in elementary and middle school, I watched him at a pitching lessons with one of Joe's boys, Pete. Pete used to sit on an overturned bucket of balls in the cage with him, bouncing baseballs off the floor. They would talk so quietly that I couldn't hear them, even when I sat just a few feet away. They spent more of the lessons talking than throwing, but boy did my son learn tons.

I remembered that a few years later. My son was now a varsity pitcher and he worked at the facility some. One day I walked in, and there he was with a 9 or 10 year old. My son was sitting on a bucket, bouncing a baseball off the floor, and talking very quietly to the kid. I couldn't hear a word he said.

And I knew he was part of that mafia, and so very lucky. And I cried.

 

I have lived in several of those small towns.  There is also the negative side of it.  The dads expect their son to start and play because they played.  Some times the kids are not near as good as the dads were or remembered themselves being. I heard one guy talk all the time about how great his team was and he was in high school.  When I became head coach, I was looking for records and scorebooks to see how many wins the school had in a year.  The record was 11.  We went 23-3 that year.  Plus I looked at this guys 4 years.  He did not start a game his freshman or sophomore year and they won 9 games in his 4 years combined.  He batted .183 for his career.  He was bragging one day and talking about he hoped his son was as good as him.  I asked him later when it was just him and I if he really believed all the stuff he said.  He was like we were really good.  I told him their record and his stats.  I had to break out the scorebooks to prove it to him.  Not as he remembered. 

Plus the small town schools that brag that every coach grew up there and played there.  I understand that if you have won multiple state championships but if not, hire some new coaches.  Some times people live in a small town with a small town mentality.  It becomes to tough to live in, coach in, and pastor in.  I grew up in a small town in south Georgia and I get amused at the same people who were whatever in high school still run the town as adults but want it to stay just like they remembered it growing up. 

PitchingFan posted:

 There is also the negative side of it.  The dads expect their son to start and play because they played.  Some times the kids are not near as good as the dads were or remembered themselves being.

I've seen this, more than once.  

Iowamom23 posted:

I also live in a small town. I graduated from HS here. One of the things I have loved about my son's baseball experience is the legacy in our community.

My husband calls it the baseball mafia and it centers around our high school and local college.

The oldest generation was Larry. He coached Joe, who played in the minors. Joe came home when his career ended and coached my son's travel team coach, who went on to play college baseball. The travel team coach then coached Joe's boys, one of whom played in the MLB for several years, the other of whom got hurt in the minors, before starting our travel team.

Joe, his sons and the travel coach all helped coach my son.

Never had to pay anyone for a lesson. We gave gift cards to local restaurants, a cooler of steaks at Christmas, and that's all anyone would take.

When my 2018 was in elementary and middle school, I watched him at a pitching lessons with one of Joe's boys, Pete. Pete used to sit on an overturned bucket of balls in the cage with him, bouncing baseballs off the floor. They would talk so quietly that I couldn't hear them, even when I sat just a few feet away. They spent more of the lessons talking than throwing, but boy did my son learn tons.

I remembered that a few years later. My son was now a varsity pitcher and he worked at the facility some. One day I walked in, and there he was with a 9 or 10 year old. My son was sitting on a bucket, bouncing a baseball off the floor, and talking very quietly to the kid. I couldn't hear a word he said.

And I knew he was part of that mafia, and so very lucky. And I cried.

 

Omerta in the corn fields...love it. Thanks for sharing. 

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