By Jack Belanger
Fathers play an important role for getting kids involved in sports. They often serve as our first coaches growing up. They are there to give us extra batting practice, play 1-on-1 in the driveway, and serve as a goalie to let us take extra shots.
In honor of Father’s Day, I thought I would highlight some of sports greatest father-son duos.
Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr.
Back in 1990, the Griffeys became the first father and son to play on the same team in MLB history that led to one of the best father-son moments in sports history. In September of that year, the two hit back-to-back home runs off of California Angels pitcher Kirk McCaskill, becoming the first father-son duo to do so.
Ken Griffey Sr. played an important role for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970’s when they won back-to-back World Series. He also was voted to three all-star games and finished with a career batting average of .296. After playing for multiple teams in the 80’s, he finished his career with the Seattle Mariners alongside his son.
The younger Griffey helped restore baseball’s popularity after the 1994-95 lockout. Junior was named to 11-straight All-Star games and won 10 Gold Gloves in centerfield. He hit 630 home runs during his career, which is seventh most all-time. In 2016 he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving 99.3% of the vote, the highest percentage ever.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jr.
Dale Earnhardt Sr. began his racing career in 1975 and went on to be one of the greatest NASCAR drivers during the 1980’s and 90’s. He won 76 races during his career, one of which was the 1998 Daytona 500. He finished his career with seven NASCAR Winston Cup championships, tied for most of all time. He would be elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in its inaugural class in 2010.
Junior began his Winston career in 1999 and had his breakout season during 2000 where he won two races. He would go on to have a successful career of his own, winning the Daytona 500 twice and winning 26 races. Additionally he was voted NASCAR’s most popular driver 14 times.
Sadly, the 2000 would be the last full season the two would be able to race against each other. On February 18, 2001, Earnhardt Sr. was tragically killed during the final lap of the Daytona 500 after getting caught in a three-car collision. The number 3 car that Earnhardt drove during his career would not be used again in NASCAR until 2014.
Bobby and Brett Hull
Arguably the greatest father-son duo in all of sports, the Hulls are the only father-son tandem to score over 600 goals and achieve 1,000 points in the NHL and they were the first pair to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Bobby Hull starred for the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL during the 1960s then for the Winnipeg Jets in the 70’s. He was named the NHL’s most valuable player twice, led the league in points three times, and goals seven times.
Brett Hull followed in his father’s footsteps and became one of the NHL’s greatest shooters. He would score 741 goals during his career, fourth most in NHL history. He would also go on to win a MVP award. In 2017, the Hulls were both named to the NHL’s 100 Greatest Players.
Jim and Derek Redmond
Even the most dedicated sports fans may never have heard of the Redmonds. Unless you were around to watch the 1992 Summer Olympics, you have no reason to know who either of these men are, but they shared one of the greatest father-son moments ever broadcasted on live television.
Derek Redmond was a British track athlete, who during his career held the record for the 400 meter spring and the 4×400 relay in Great Britain. His relay team won the gold medal at the 1991 World Championship in Tokyo.
At the 1992 Olympics, Redmond posted the fastest 400-meter time in the first round and won his quarterfinal race. In the semi-final race, he suffered a torn hamstring that caused him to fall to the ground in pain. In a moment of perseverance, Redmond got up and began to hobble to the finish line, determined to finish the race. His father Jim, who was in the stand, ran down through security to give his son support in the final stretch. While Derek may have been disqualified from the race, he crossed the finish line to a standing ovation from the crowd.
For the 2012 Olympics in London, in recognition for his actions in 1992, Jim was named one of the torch bearers.
Other notable family that can’t be forgotten: Bobby and Barry Bonds (baseball), Archie and his sons Peyton and Eli Manning, Lee and Richard Petty (NASCAR), Dell and Stephen Curry (Basketball)
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