Drabeks head list of family ties


When Kyle Drabek takes to the mound on Wednesday night for his major league debut against the Baltimore Orioles, his lineage could give him a fast start to success.

Drabek, the centre piece in the trade that sent former Blue Jays’ ace Roy Halladay to the Philadelphia Phillies last December, already has a no-hitter on his minor league resume.

The 22-year-old right-hander stymied Double A New Britain Rock Cats on July 4, pitching a hitless game and sending a message to Jays’ fans that perhaps the next generation has arrived.

“It’s a great league but I feel like I’m ready to compete at the next level,” Drabek told torontostar.com after his accomplishment. “Whenever they think I’m ready then I’ll be ready to go.”

Ready or not, Kyle’s father, Doug, made the surname famous. He also debuted against the Orioles, although never pitching a no-hitter in his 13-year career.

He did, however, win the 1990 National League Cy Young Award while pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and was named to the 1994 NL all-star team. It appears that his son has a leg up on his father’s career accolades, and the younger Drabek has not even thrown one pitch at the professional level.

Runs in the Family

Successful lineage, though, is a common theme in Toronto, and not just on the mound.

Many major leaguers have made their professional debuts with the Blue Jays, and have had either a father or son also play at the big league level.

Most notably, Cecil Fielder utilized the Jays as a launch pad for a successful MLB career. Making his debut on June 20, 1985 for Toronto, he amassed 31 home runs while playing part-time from 1985-1988.

The 46-year-old went on to hit 319 long balls in 14 seasons, including a 51 home-run year in 1990 while playing for the Detroit Tigers.

His son, Prince, picked up where his father left off, belting 50 home runs in 2007 for the Milwaukee Brewers, making the Fielders the only father-son duo to each hit 50 home runs in a season.

Jesse Barfield may also have a reason to thank Toronto for a 12-year career. The 50-year-old made his first major league start for the Blue Jays in 1981, and was named to the 1986 AL all-star team, winning gold gloves in ‘86 and ‘87.

Although not possessing the same kind of power as his father, Josh Barfield has also seen some big league action, splitting his four-year career between the San Diego Padres and the Cleveland Indians. Josh is predominantly known for his glove.

Aside from hitters, the pitching pedigree exhibited by the Drabek family extends back to the Blue Jays’ glory years, which saw the team win its only two World Series titles in 1992 and 1993.

Todd Stottlemyre, well remembered for his bloody chin in Game 4 of the 1993 championship, made his first career start in 1988 for the Blue Jays and was an integral part of their back-to-back titles.

The championships began with his father, Mel, who was a five-time all-star selection while playing for the New York Yankees, and then became part of a two coaching staffs (Yankees, Mets) that won a combined five World Series titles.

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