My dad is still pretty good at tennis and he turned 80 a few months ago. He plays two or three times a week. He was on the Ripon College Tennis team, in Ripon, Wisconsin, home of Rippin Good Cookies.
When I was a kid I played tennis a lot and was even in some competitions. I wasn’t that bad. I could keep the volley going, but I quit because I wanted to play baseball and haven’t really played tennis since, except when I visit my dad in Milwaukee. But for many years I didn’t play with him because we were in competition with each other or I was in competition with him. I wanted to be better than him at something. I wasn’t sure in what, but knew it would never be tennis.
Prince Fielder had a father. His name was Cecil. As a kid, he went with his dad to the Detroit Tiger’s dugout and played on the field too, took batting practice, and apparently hit one over the Tiger Stadium fence when he was 12 years young!
Scouts said he was too fat, but the Brewers didn’t think so. They drafted him in the first round, seventh overall pick of the 2002 draft. His parents got divorced at some point and Cecil owed a lot of money so he apparently dipped into his son Prince’s signing bonus and snatched up $200,000 bucks. I don’t know how he got the money, but Prince was pretty vocal about not liking his father, about not wanting anything to do with him….”My father is dead to me,” he said in 2004.
According to Prince, in some article I read back when he was playing for the Brewers, he directed a lot of his rage against his father into hitting a baseball. It worked too. He hit a lot of homers, 319 to be exact and get this – his dad also hit 319 homers!! They both finished with the exact SAME number of homers!! Insane! What are the odds! Gives credence to the cliche – like father, like son. They both hit 50 home runs in a season too or Cecil the father hit 51….Prince only hit 50, but for his career, Prince stole 18 bases. His dad only stole two. Prince and Cecil have made up and now are friends and at some point, I finally realized that my dad and I probably have similarly shaped finger nails and other facial features the same and we both tend to worry a lot. We’re now friends too.
This 2019 Topps Update card of Cecil is a pretty damn good representation of what Cecil did a lot of as a player – watch balls soar into upper decks and out of stadiums and he was before steroids.
The card on the right is a 2007 Bowman Chrome card of Prince. As you can see, he batted left-handed, his dad right-handed….Prince had a better eye at the plate than his dad. I don’t know who struck out more; they were probably about the same, but Prince walked more, hit more too. He had a higher BA and OB% than his dad, but numbers aside, he also hit the hell out of the ball…..like his dad.