Sports

Who’s your daddy? Comparing careers of athletes and their juniors

Retired major league outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. and his father, Ken Griffey Sr., pose at a press conference announcing Junior’s election to baseball’s Hall of Fame on Jan. 7, 2016, in New York.
Retired major league outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. and his father, Ken Griffey Sr., pose at a press conference announcing Junior’s election to baseball’s Hall of Fame on Jan. 7, 2016, in New York. Associated Press file

Saturday was a rough night for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

The former middleweight champion boxer was dominated for all 12 rounds in a unanimous-decision loss to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in Las Vegas. The three judges had Alvarez winning every round.

At 50-3-1 with 32 knockouts, Chavez still sports a pretty impressive record.

However, it pales in comparison to his father, Julio Cesar Chavez, who fought from 1980 to 2005 and finished his career 107-6-2, 86 of those wins coming via KO.

Chavez
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., right, talks with his father, legendary boxer Julio Cesar Chavez, at a news conference to promote a fight in 2012. Chavez is 50-3-1 for his career, but his father has much more impressive statistics. Reed Saxon Associated Press file

The elder Chavez won his first 87 fights before drawing with Pernell Whitaker in September 1993. He didn’t take his first loss until three bouts later, falling in a split decision to Frankie Randall in January 1994, a loss that cost him the WBC and lineal light welterweight belts.

There have been several athletes who were given their father’s name with a junior added. Some have outperformed their fathers while others couldn’t live up to dad’s legacy. Here’s a look at some famous seniors and juniors in sports:

DALE EARNHARDT AND DALE EARNHARDT JR., AUTO RACING

Father’s highlights: Known as “The Intimidator,” the late Earnhardt was a seven-time champion in Winston Cup (now Monster Energy Cup), NASCAR’s top circuit. Won the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s signature race, in 1998. Had 76 victories over a 27-year career that ended when he was killed in an accident during the 2001 Daytona 500.

Son’s highlights: Has won 26 races in his 19-year Monster Energy Cup career. Won the Daytona 500 twice (2004, 2014). The extremely popular driver is set to retire at the end of this season.

Who had the better career? Father

KEN GRIFFEY AND KEN GRIFFEY JR., BASEBALL

Father’s highlights: Played 19 years in the majors. The three-time All-Star hit .296 with 152 home runs, 859 RBIs, 1,129 runs scored and 200 stolen bases. He was the 1980 All-Star Game MVP.

Son’s highlights: Played 22 seasons in the majors. The 1997 American League MVP played in 13 All-Star Games. He led the A.L. four times in home runs and finished with 630, which is sixth all time. He had a .284 batting average, drove in 1,836 runs, scored 1,662 runs and stole 184 bases. Griffey Jr. was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016.

Who had the better career? Son

TONY GWYNN AND TONY GWYNN JR., BASEBALL

Father’s highlights: The Hall of Famer was a 15-time All-Star, eight-time National League batting champion and five-time Gold Glove winner. He batted .338 with just 135 home runs but had 3,141 hits (19th all time), scored 1,383 runs and drove in 1,138 while playing his full 20-year career with the San Diego Padres. He died from cancer complications in 2014 at the age of 54.

Son’s highlights: Played eight seasons in the majors and had a career batting average of .238 with seven home runs, 98 RBIs, 192 runs scored and 80 stolen bases.

Who had the better career? Father

FLOYD MAYWEATHER AND FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR., BOXING

Mayweather
Undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, poses with his championship belts and his father, head trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr., after a fight on May 2, 2015, in Las Vegas. Isaac Brekken Associated Press file

Father’s highlights: Currently a boxing trainer, he went 28-6-1 with 17 knockouts in the 1970s and ’80s. The self-proclaimed “greatest trainer of all time” has worked with his son, Oscar De La Hoya and Laila Ali, among others.

Son’s highlights: Nicknamed “Money” and “Pretty Boy,” he went 49-0 with 26 knockouts, prompting ESPN to call him the greatest pound-for-pound boxer in the last 25 years. He’s held nine major titles and has generated $1.3 billion in revenue over his career.

Who had the better career? Son

CAL RIPKEN AND CAL RIPKEN JR., BASEBALL

Father’s highlights: Spent 36 years in the Baltimore Orioles organization – mostly as a coach, manager and scout – but never played in the majors. He managed the Orioles for 169 games from 1985-88, going 68-101.

Son’s highlights: The Hall of Fame shortstop was the 1982 American League Rookie of the Year, won two MVPs, appeared in 19 All-Star Games and won two Gold Gloves. Oh, and he also appeared in a record 2,632 consecutive games, 502 more than the mark set by Lou Gehrig in 1939.

Who had the better career? Son

AL UNSER AND AL UNSER JR., AUTO RACING

Father’s highlights: The three-time Champ Car champion won 39 times on the circuit now known as IndyCar, including four wins in its signature race, the Indianapolis 500. In all, he started on the pole 28 times and had 97 podium finishes.

Son’s highlights: The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner had three wins in open-wheel racing’s top circuit.

Who had the better career? Father

A FEW OTHERS

The Truexes (Martin and Martin Jr., auto racing) weren’t highlighted because Sr. didn’t have much of a racing career. Also not mentioned are the Hardaways (Tim and Tim Jr., basketball) because Jr. is only in his fourth NBA season. The Nances (Larry and Larry Jr., basketball) are also not highlighted, as Jr. just finished his second NBA season.

This list is strictly for athletes and their juniors, so IIIs, IVs and so on aren’t mentioned.

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