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Father’s Day memories: One for each team

The best Father's Day moment for every MLB team - Image Credit: MLB

The following article was published today on — Father’s Day memories: One for each team.

Father’s Day is special, particularly in baseball, which has a history steeped in memories of fathers passing their love of the game on to their children.

There have been some great Father’s Day moments on the field over the years, and here’s a look at one from each club.

American League East

Blue Jays: McDonald’s emotional blast – June 20, 2010

Shortly before Father’s Day in 2010, Blue Jays infielder John McDonald’s father, Jack, passed away after a battle with cancer. The funeral was held on a Friday; two days later, McDonald was called off the bench in the ninth inning against the Giants as a defensive replacement for Aaron Hill. Stepping in for the first time since being activated from the bereavement list, McDonald snuck one over the wall in left field, pumping his fist as he rounded first base, and was noticeably emotional as he touched home plate and pointed to the sky. McDonald was a fan favorite and defensive wiz, but he hit just 28 homers in his 16-year career, which made this moment all the more special. — Keegan Matheson

Orioles: Roenicke’s $1 million slam – June 17, 1984

Gary Roenicke hit 121 home runs over his 12-year career, including 106 with the Orioles between 1978-1985. The tie-breaking eighth-inning grand slam he hit on Father’s Day 1984 was perhaps his most special, and not only because it sent the Orioles to a dramatic 6-2 win over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The slam from Roenicke also won a fan a $1 million prize, courtesy of a promotion advertised on the broadcast before and during Roenicke’s at-bat. — Joe Trezza

Rays: Shields dominates Marlins – June 19, 2011

James Shields holds the franchise record with 19 complete games, and one of his most dominant performances came against the Marlins on Father’s Day in 2011. Dewayne Wise started the game by reaching on an error and came around to score on a Gaby Sanchez sacrifice fly. The run was unearned for Shields, who then settled in nicely, allowing just four hits and striking out 10 in the outing. Shields threw 110 pitches in the 2-1 win, 79 for strikes, and recorded 15 swings and misses. Shields finished with 11 complete games in 2011, his first All-Star season. — Juan Toribio

Red Sox: Green’s walk-off tops Braves – June 21, 2009

After spending the entire 2008 campaign in the Yankees’ Minor League system, journeyman Nick Green surprisingly emerged as Boston’s starting shortstop in the first half of 2009, and his feel-good story continued on Father’s Day. In a game that had swung back and forth against the Braves, Green led off the bottom the ninth and offered at the first pitch he saw from reliever Jeff Bennett, perfectly lofting a fly ball down the line in right, where it curled around Pesky’s Pole for a walk-off homer. Joy ensued at Fenway as the fans went wild, and so did the Red Sox, who mobbed Green at home plate. It was one of 17 homers Green would hit in his career, and without a doubt, the one he remembers the fondest. — Ian Browne

Yankees: That’s a wrap! Game-ending triple play – June 20, 2021

Aroldis Chapman had thrown eight balls and only one strike, walking the first two men he faced as he attempted to lock down a one-run lead against the Athletics on Father’s Day 2021. Chapman fired a 98.4 mph fastball down and in to Sean Murphy, who chopped a grounder to third baseman Gio Urshela. Stepping on third base, Urshela threw to DJ LeMahieu for the second out, then LeMahieu relayed to first baseman Chris Gittens for the final out of the game. It was the Yankees’ third triple play of the season, tying a Major League record, and the first game-ending triple play since the Phillies turned one on Aug. 23, 2009, against the Mets. — Bryan Hoch

AL Central

Guardians: Hassey walks it off – June 20, 1982

Since 1982, the Guardians have seen eight Father’s Day games end in a walk-off or extra innings — or both. They won five of those eight games, the most recent being a string of three consecutive Father’s Day walk-off/extra-innings wins from 2014-16.

The one that takes the cake, though? Their 5-4 win over the Red Sox on June 20, 1982, in 14 innings. Tied at 4 with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 14th, Ron Hassey hit a walk-off single to end a nearly four-hour game. Cleveland’s starter, Len Barker, ended up pitching 10 innings that game before being relieved by Dan Spillner, who pitched the last four innings to earn the win. — Mandy Bell

Royals: Maldonado shines with ‘necktie’ chest protector – June 16, 2019

Royals catcher Martín Maldonado celebrated Father’s Day by wearing a blue necktie on his chest protector, an image that went viral. Maldonado also delivered on the field that day with three hits to lead Kansas City over the Twins, 8-6. Maldonado told reporters after the game that he wrote the names of his dad, brother, family and close friends on the chest-protector tie, along with “Happy Father’s Day” at the bottom.

“I just wanted to do something different for the fathers out there, family members, friends,” Maldonado said after the game. Maldonado drove in two runs, one with a single during a three-run second inning and another with a double in the eighth inning that triggered the win. — Jeffrey Flanagan

Tigers: Polanco’s walk-off ends wild game – June 19, 2005

The Tigers and Giants had a crazy back-and-forth battle on Father’s Day in 2005, featuring multiple lead changes from the eighth inning on. Todd Linden’s three-run home run off Detroit closer Troy Percival gave San Francisco an 8-5 lead, but Chris Shelton’s two-run homer off Tyler Walker with two outs in the bottom half sent the game to extra innings. An inning later, Placido Polanco — who had been traded from Philadelphia to Detroit just two weeks earlier — hit his first home run as a Tiger, a two-run walk-off for a 10-8 Detroit win. — Jason Beck

Twins: Extra innings yields 15th straight win – June 16, 1991

When Father’s Day rolled around in 1991, the Twins were in the midst of only their fourth streak of 10 or more wins in club history and hadn’t yet lost a game in the month of June. That didn’t change on that Sunday afternoon against the Indians at Cleveland Stadium, though it took more than nine innings to stay rolling. Kirby Puckett hit a solo homer in the sixth and Al Newman knocked an RBI single in the seventh to push the Twins ahead in a pitchers’ duel between Kevin Tapani and Greg Swindell, but Rick Aguilera coughed up the tying run in the eighth. It took a small-ball rally in the top of the 10th to secure a 4-2 victory, the Twins’ 15th straight win. The streak, which remains the longest in club history, anchored a 21-2 run that pushed the Twins from fifth place to first in the division and put them in prime position to win their second World Series championship in five seasons. — Do-Hyoung Park

White Sox: Lee drives in seven – June 16, 2002

Carlos Lee consistently got the better of the Cubs during his career, producing 39 home runs and 109 RBIs against the club overall with 24 homers and 61 RBIs coming at Wrigley Field. The slugger outdid himself on Father’s Day in 2002, hitting two home runs and driving in seven during a 10-7 White Sox victory against their North Side rivals. Lee hit a grand slam in the third off Kerry Wood to erase a 4-2 deficit and added a three-run, go-ahead blast off Carlos Zambrano in the fifth among his three hits. Ed Walsh also deserves consideration for his one-hit shutout against the Cleveland Naps on June 20, 1909, defeating Cy Young, as do the 2000 White Sox, who trounced the Yankees, 17-4, on Father’s Day to complete a 7-0 road trip to Cleveland and New York. — Scott Merkin

AL West

Angels: Weaver’s dominant showing – June 19, 2016

Jered Weaver made the most of Father’s Day in 2016, throwing a three-hit shutout against the A’s in a 2-0 victory in Oakland. All three hits he allowed were singles as he fired the eighth and final shutout of his career. Weaver otherwise struggled that season, but this was a throwback performance for a pitcher who finished among the top five in the AL Cy Young voting three times and also threw a no-hitter in 2012. — Rhett Bollinger

Astros: Wilson’s no-no – June 18, 1967

On Father’s Day in 1967, Don Wilson threw the first no-hitter in Astrodome history in a 2-0 win over the Braves before a crowd of 19,199. The 22-year-old fanned five of the final six batters he faced, including Hank Aaron to finish off the game, and finished with 15 K’s overall. Wilson, who threw 143 pitches in the no-no just three days after throwing 155 in a game, outdueled Phil Niekro in what was the future Hall of Famer’s third career start. It was the first no-hitter in the NL since Sandy Koufax tossed his fourth and final no-no on Sept. 9, 1965, and the first by an NL rookie since Chicago’s Sam Jones against Pittsburgh on May 12, 1955. Astros owner Roy Hofheinz reportedly ripped up Wilson’s contract after the game and gave him a $1,000 raise. — Brian McTaggart

Athletics: New father Canha shines – June 17, 2018

Playing his first Father’s Day game after the birth of his daughter five months prior, Mark Canha showed out with highlights all around in a 6-5 comeback victory over the Angels at the Oakland Coliseum. Canha belted a two-run homer in the second before delivering a game-tying RBI single with two outs in the ninth to send the game into extras. In the 10th, Canha covered 98 feet in 5.4 seconds on a deep fly ball from Andrelton Simmons to make an impressive running catch just before hitting the wall in left-center field. The ball had just a 5% catch probability, per Statcast, making it a 5-star catch. The A’s eventually won it on a walk-off single by Jonathan Lucroy in the 11th. — Martin Gallegos

Mariners: Griffey’s two-homer day – June 20, 1993

Ken Griffey Jr. always loved coming up big on days of importance for his dad, Ken Griffey Sr., and that was definitely true on Father’s Day in 1993 when Junior smacked two home runs and recorded five RBIs in a 13-2 victory over the Rangers at the Kingdome. The younger Griffey was just 23 at the time, though already emerging as an MLB star in his fifth season with the Mariners. Griffey wound up hitting five home runs on Father’s Day in his career and also hit eight homers on his dad’s birthday, April 10. Not to be overlooked, Bret Boone — the son of former MLB player and manager Bob Boone — also homered in the 1993 Father’s Day win against Texas for just the sixth long ball of his young career. — Greg Johns

Rangers: Hamilton delivers in the 10th – June 20, 2010

The Rangers, facing the Astros at Minute Maid Park, trailed, 4-3, going into the ninth before tying the game. Ian Kinsler led off with a single against Astros reliever Matt Lindstrom, stole second and scored on a single by Josh Hamilton. The Rangers then took the lead in the 10th after a leadoff single by Julio Borbon. Again it was a single by Hamilton — on his way to being voted the AL’s Most Valuable Player — that put the Rangers ahead. The victory completed a three-game sweep of Houston and was Texas’ eighth in a row. The Rangers ended up winning 11 straight and opened up a 4 1/2-game lead in the AL West on their way to a division championship. — T.R. Sullivan

National League East

Braves: Hank hammers three – June 21, 1959

Hank Aaron ranks second in MLB history with 755 homers and seventh with 62 career multi-homer games, but he hit three homers in a game only once — in a 13-3 win over the Giants at San Francisco’s Seal Stadium on Father’s Day in 1959. Aaron began his memorable performance with a two-run homer off Johnny Antonelli in the first inning. The Braves outfielder added two-run shots in the sixth and seventh innings to further back Warren Spahn’s complete game effort. — Mark Bowman

Marlins: Lowell helps Fish stay hot – June 15, 2003

The Marlins started off their 2003 World Series championship season with a 19-29 record before they began to heat up in late May. Florida carried that momentum into June, and on Father’s Day, the Fish routed the Rangers, 10-4, in Arlington, winning for the 14th time in 22 games. Mike Lowell had a big game, going 3-for-4 with two home runs, a double, a walk and four RBIs, while Ivan Rodriguez and Luis Castillo chipped in with three hits each. That was plenty of run support for left-hander Mark Redman, who gave up two runs in seven innings on his way to the win. — Joe Frisaro

Mets: Amazins sweep doubleheader – June 15, 1986

Father’s Day 1986 coincided with Banner Day at Shea Stadium, a regular tradition that saw fans bring bedsheets with written messages — often encouraging, sometimes flamboyant — to the ballpark. With more than 40,000 fans packed into Shea as a result, the Mets swept the Pirates in a doubleheader. Bob Ojeda pitched a complete game in a 4-1 win in the day half, taking the lead for good on a Keith Hernandez RBI double in the fourth. In the nightcap, the Mets exploded for eight runs (six of them on homers by Mookie Wilson, Gary Carter and Ed Hearn), before Roger McDowell slammed the door on an 8-5 victory with a seven-out save. — Anthony DiComo

Nationals: Adams homers twice after catch with dad – June 16, 2019

Matt Adams played catch with his father, Jamie, at Nationals Park before game time. Then, he crushed two home runs and drove in seven on that same field to power the Nats to a 15-5 victory over the D-backs on Father’s Day last season. “Happy to have him here,” Adams said postgame. “It was something special. He’s always wanted to play catch, so it was nice to be able to finally let him do his dream.” Washington improved to 33-38 as it continued its climb from a 19-31 start. That afternoon, Kurt Suzuki and Anthony Rendon also homered, and Aníbal Sánchez picked up the win with six innings of two-run ball. The win began a 27-game stretch in which the starting rotation did not suffer a loss, tying a Major League record set by the 1916 New York Giants. — Jessica Camerato

Phillies: Bunning’s perfecto – June 21, 1964

There have been 23 perfect games in baseball history, but Jim Bunning threw the first and only one on Father’s Day. He blanked the Mets at Shea Stadium in the middle of the Phillies’ infamous ‘64 campaign, when they held first place for most of the season before blowing a 6 1/2-game lead with 12 games to play. It was the first perfect game in the National League since Providence’s John Montgomery Ward’s in 1880, and the first in baseball in the regular season since White Sox lefty Charlie Robertson in 1922. Bunning’s perfect game remains one of the most memorable moments in Phillies history. — Todd Zolecki

NL Central

Brewers: Vaughn caps big series with walk-off slam – June 16, 1991

The Brewers own the best record in baseball on Mother’s Day, but the worst mark on Father’s Day, so the pickings are somewhat slim. Jimmy Nelson’s 10-strikeout pitching gem against the Padres on Father’s Day in 2017 was the Brewers’ first complete game in nearly two years, but for sheer drama the nod goes to Greg Vaughn, who punctuated a huge weekend against the A’s in 1991 at County Stadium by hitting a walk-off grand slam for an 11-7 Brewers win. It was the fourth walk-off slam in franchise history, and it capped a three-hit, six-RBI afternoon for Vaughn, one day after he homered twice and drove in five runs in Game 1 of a Saturday doubleheader against Oakland. Vaughn finished with 17 homers that season, his first year with 500-plus at-bats. — Adam McCalvy

Cardinals: Historic Father’s Day comeback – June 15, 1952

In the first game of a Father’s Day doubleheader against the New York Giants, the Cardinals were down 11-0 by the third inning. Starter Joe Presko allowed five runs in the second, and reliever Jack Crimian allowed six in the third. But then third baseman Tommy Glaviano led off the fifth inning with a home run. Pitcher Bill Werle singled, shortstop Solly Hemus walked and second baseman Red Schoendienst singled to load the bases for Stan Musial. “The Man” lined a two-run single to left field, and suddenly the Cardinals had some momentum. First baseman Dick Sisler scored Schoendienst with a single, and right fielder Enos Slaughter launched a three-run home run to cap the Cardinals’ seven-run inning. St. Louis scored three in the seventh, two in the eighth and two in the ninth for a 14-12 victory. The 11-0 rally set an NL comeback record, which wasn’t tied until Houston rallied from an 11-0 deficit in 1994 against, you guessed it, the Cardinals. — Anne Rogers

Cubs: Madlock’s big day – June 15, 1975

On Father’s Day in 1975, Bill Madlock delivered a vintage performance against the Big Red Machine, going 4-for-4 with three RBIs in a 4-3 win over Cincinnati. He rapped an RBI single in the third, collected two more RBIs on a double in the seventh and ended the day with a .360 average. Madlock finished the year batting .354 to claim that batting crown. Other noteworthy Father’s Day moments include Willson Contreras hitting his first Major League homer in his first career at-bat in ‘16, Andre Dawson going deep against the Expos in both ‘88 and ‘89, backup catcher Steve Lake delivering an 11th-inning walk-off single vs. the rival Cardinals in ‘86, Jake Arrieta spinning a shutout and Dexter Fowler belting a grand slam in a rout of the Twins in 2015, Shawon Dunston’s two-homer day against the Giants in 1994 and Lou Brock homering over the wall in right-center at the Polo Grounds — a distance of 460 feet — against the Mets in ’62. — Jordan Bastian

Pirates: ‘Pops’ delivers on Father’s Day – June 20, 1971

Fittingly, Willie Stargell, the man who’d become known as “Pops,” starred on Father’s Day. On their way to winning the 1971 World Series, the Pirates swept the Expos in a doubleheader at Three Rivers Stadium — and Stargell homered in both games. While Steve Blass pitched a complete game and Richie Hebner drove in four runs, the Hall of Fame slugger Stargell took Howie Reed deep in the fifth inning of Pittsburgh’s 7-1 victory in the opener. It was a 430-foot shot into the upper deck, according to a New York Times account, at the time the longest home run hit at Three Rivers Stadium, and one of Stargell’s MLB-leading 48 homers on the year. Then the Bucs bashed the Expos with a seven-run seventh inning in the second game, with Stargell smashing a grand slam off Mike Marshall in their 7-3 win. — Adam Berry

Reds: Griffey launches No. 500 with dad in the stands – June 20, 2004

At Busch Stadium II in St. Louis with his father, former Reds star Ken Griffey Sr., in the seats, Ken Griffey Jr. slugged his milestone 500th home run on Father’s Day. The long ball to right field came in the sixth inning as Cincinnati defeated the Cardinals, 6-0. At the age of 34, Griffey was the sixth-youngest to reach 500 homers and the 20th overall.

“It’s been a great Father’s Day for me. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” said Griffey Sr., a member of the Big Red Machine. “I probably was under more pressure than he was. He’s still playing and I had to sit and watch. It was a nice Father’s Day present, but it’s an easy way to get out of giving me something. He ain’t getting off that easy.” — Mark Sheldon

NL West

D-backs: Womack’s special slam – June 17, 2001

After losing his father two months earlier, Tony Womack hit a grand slam on Father’s Day in what was an emotional moment for the veteran. As he rounded first base, tears began to flow down Womack’s face. When he crossed home plate, he pointed to the sky and wiped the tears from his face. As his teammates consoled him, he wept in the dugout. Womack added two doubles in the game.

“I didn’t even want to go to sleep last night knowing that the next day was Father’s Day,” Womack said. “I wanted to avoid it if at all possible because I wasn’t ready. I’m still not ready.” — Steve Gilbert

Dodgers: Vintage Koufax – June 20, 1965

In the first game of a Father’s Day doubleheader at Dodger Stadium, Sandy Koufax fired a 12-strikeout one-hitter to beat the Mets and Warren Spahn, 2-1, with a Ron Fairly double driving in both Dodgers runs. The only hit off Koufax was a Jim Hickman home run in the fifth inning. That brought Koufax’s record to 11-3 with a 1.96 ERA. He went on to a 26-8 mark, won World Series Game 7 with a shutout on two-days’ rest and won his second of three Cy Young Awards. — Ken Gurnick

Giants: Rueter’s extra-special day – June 14, 2000

Father’s Day arrived a bit early for Giants left-hander Kirk Rueter, who started and won a game against the Reds on the same day his wife, Karla, was scheduled to give birth to the couple’s first daughter. Rueter fired six innings of one-run ball in a matinee performance to lead the Giants to a 6-2 win before heading to the hospital for his wife’s labor induction. A few hours later, the pair welcomed Hope Elaine Rueter into the world.

“It was a long day, but a perfect day,” Rueter said afterward. — Maria Guardado

Padres: Brown’s gem caps 12-1 stretch – June 21, 1998

The 1998 Padres were runaway NL West winners. But in early June, they slumped and fell behind the rival Giants. A critical two-week stretch loomed, with the club set to play the Giants seven times. San Diego would win 12 of 13 over those two weeks, including six of seven against San Francisco. The Padres capped the run with a Father’s Day gem from Kevin Brown, who struck out nine Giants over 8 2/3 innings. Tony Gwynn had three hits, and Trevor Hoffman came on to record the save in a 5-1 victory. In a two-week span, the Padres had gone from a game back in the NL West to a 5 1/2-game lead. They were on course for an NL pennant that October. — AJ Cassavell

Rockies: Nolan’s Father’s Day walk-off cycle – June 18, 2017

On Father’s Day in 2017, Nolan Arenado gave his dad — and a lot of dads in Colorado — a historic gift. He became the first player in Major League history to hit a walk-off home run to complete the cycle when his team was trailing entering that plate appearance, lifting the Rockies to a 7-5 victory over the Giants at Coors Field. Only four other players had ever hit a walk-off homer for the cycle, period.

“I was fired up,” Arenado said afterward, wearing his blood-stained jersey after the bill of Charlie Blackmon’s helmet cut Arenado on the side of his face during the post-homer celebration at home plate. “I heard the crowd. But I just said a little prayer. I was like, ‘Calm down, give me strength to be able to slow this game down.’ That’s what it’s all about.” — Thomas Harding

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