Day 3 of MLB Draft a "family affair"

Orioles, Cardinals select sons of significant alumni
06/06/2012 4:11 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Ryan Ripken has gone from Orioles batboy in 2001 to franchise draft choice in 2012.(AP)
Dozens of father-son duos have played Major League Baseball, and after Wednesday, two more may have the chance to join that club.

With their 16th-round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, the Orioles selected Baltimore high schooler Ryan Ripken, whose father is none other than Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr.

Unlike his dad or his uncle Billy, however, Ryan Ripken is not a middle infielder; the youngest member of one of Baltimore’s most famous baseball families is a 6-foot-6, 205-pound first baseman who hit .377 with 25 RBI last season at the Gilman School in Baltimore. He also went 4-1 with a 2.30 ERA in limited time on the mound as well, and is currently committed to play for the University of South Carolina.

Later, in the 23rd round, the Cardinals used their selection on Missouri prep phenom Tate Matheny, whose proud papa happens to be the man that patrols the dugout in St. Louis: Cardinals skipper Mike Matheny.

Tate, an outfielder, batted .610 with 10 doubles, 11 triples, 11 homers, 51 RBIs and 25 stolen bases this season in helping Westminster Christian Academy win its second straight Missouri State Class 3 championship.

The pick was a little controversial, however, as the Cardinals selected the junior Matheny despite his father’s preference that they not; the St. Louis skipper had said on Tuesday that he preferred the franchise pass on Tate, who is leaning towards playing collegiately at Missouri State next year, to avoid any perceived conflict of interest.

The Yankees themselves are no stranger to selecting players with family ties; Don Mattingly’s son Taylor was selected in the 42nd round in 2003, and last year’s top overall pick, Dante Bichette, Jr., is the son of manager Joe Girardi’s longtime friend and former Rockies teammate Dante Bichette, Sr.

In addition, the Yankees spent three selections in 2012 on players with Major League pedigrees; tenth-round choice Matthew Snyder has seen father Brian and brother Brandon (currently with the Rangers) spend time in the Bigs, fourteenth-round choice Jose Mesa, Jr. is the son of the former MLB closer of the same name, and 32nd-round selection Garrett Cannizaro is the brother of Andy, who made his Major League debut with the Yankees in 2006 after being selected in the seventh round in 2001.

The most famous (and successful) “family favor,” however, may be one Mike Piazza, who was chosen by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 62nd round of the 1988 Draft at the request of then-manager Tommy Lasorda, who had known Piazza’s father, Vince, since childhood.

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