Hall of Fame dads: MLB players celebrating with their kids

ByAimee Crawford ESPN logo
Sunday, June 21, 2015

Steph Currywon an NBA championship with theGolden State Warriorsand was the league's regular-season MVP, but the real star of his family--and the Finals -- was his daughter Riley. She's not the only child of a sports star to steal the show this year. These baseball dads also happily shared the spotlight -- and some of the biggest moments of their careers -- with their kids.

Brandon and Braylyn Crawford

After the San Francisco Giants won their third World Series title in five years last October, shortstop Brandon Crawford savored the moment on the field with his family. Cameras caughthis older daughter, Braylyn, frolicking on the mound while sporting a black and orange binky -- and her patient dad stooping to tie the laces on her Giants-colored, toddler-sized high-tops. "We were just trying to get out of the celebration, catch our breath and let her run around a little bit," Crawford told ESPN.com's Jim Caple. "And then she runs up on the mound and trips while running back down the other side. She wasn't hurt. She was just happy to be running around and having a good time.''

Clayton and Cali Kershaw

This Father's Day will have special meaning for Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw. He and his wife, Ellen, welcomed their first child, daughter Cali Ann, on Jan. 23. Less than 24 hours after Cali's birth, Kershaw flew across the country to accept his National League Cy Young Award at the annual Baseball Writers' Association of America awards banquet in New York City. "It's so cool, so fun," Kershaw said of becoming a bleary-eyed parent. "When she smiles at you or when you just hold her, it's a pretty awesome feeling." And the three-time Cy Young winner is acing diaper duty. "I take a little pride in my diaper-changing, actually," said Kershaw. "It's the one thing I can contribute."

Lorenzo and Cameron Cain

Kansas City outfielder Lorenzo Cain was named the MVP of the 2014 American League Championship Series. But even that didn't earn Cain a reprieve from diaper duty after he and wife Jenny welcomed son Cameron Loe into the world on Oct. 7, a day off between the Royals' sweep of theLos Angeles Angelsin the AL Division Series and the start of the ALCS. "Haven't mastered [diapering] yet, butI'm willing to learn," said Cain, who cradled little Cameron, bundled in a onesie meant to resemble a baseball, after the Royals clinched the ALCS. "You have to hold the legs up, position him right. He's kicking and squirming all over the place. It's tough. ... But it's definitely a once-in-a-lifetime type of thing to have a kid and get a chance to go to the World Series."

Nelson and Giada Cruz

After leading the American League in home runs as anOriolein 2014, Nelson Cruz signed a four-year contract with the Seattle Mariners worth $57 million. The three-time All-Star was all business at his introductory news conference on Dec. 4 at Safeco Field -- but his spirited 2-year-old daughter, Giada, decided to play things by ear.

Tim and Tess Hudson

Veteran right-hander Tim Hudson, a year removed from a gruesome, career-threatening leg injury, made his fourth All-Star appearance last July. He celebrated his 39th birthday at the Home Run Derby, and said this All-Star appearance meant a bit more than his previous ones because his three children, including daughter Tess, 9 (above), got to make the trip with him.

John and Jameson Axford

Colorado Rockies closer John Axford's left the team temporarily in April to care for his 2-year-old son Jameson, who was bitten on his right foot by a rattlesnake in Arizona during spring training and spent four weeks in the hospital. John and Jameson teamed up for one of this season's most inspiring moments on May 8, as Jameson threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Dodgers-Rockies game from his wheelchair. His 3-year-old brother, J.B., made a diving catch in front of home plate with an assist from dad. "It is real incredible how well a 2-year-old can handle this and deal with it," John Axford said. "I don't think I'd be able to do it."

Adam and August Jones

Orioles center fielder Adam Jones has long been his team's leader and dedicated to helping children in his community. On Opening Day this season, the Gold Glove winner acknowledged that the birth of his son August has given him new perspective. "Parents sacrifice a lot," Jones told the Baltimore Sun. "Whether you've got a million dollars or $1, a parent is a parent. It's just being hands-on, letting him know he's a loved kid and letting him know that, 'Hey, I want you to succeed in life.'"

Kurt, Malia and Kai Suzuki

Veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki had plenty to smile about in 2014, when he hit .288 and made his first All-Star team. He called the experience of playing in the All-Star Game at Target Field -- in front ofMinnesota Twinsfans, as well as his 3-year-old daughter, Malia (left), and infant son, Kai -- "humbling." It may have been humbling, but Suzuki's All-Star appearance ended in celebration. He entered the game in the top of the ninth inning with teammate Glen Perkins, and the duo combined to close out the AL's 5-3 win.

Dustin and Dylan Pedroia

Red Soxsecond baseman Dustin Pedroia became the first Boston infielder to win four Gold Gloves, and his most recent one might have been the sweetest. Pedroia received the award before Boston's game against theWashington Nationalsat Fenway Park on April 14 -- then received a big hug from his oldest son, Dylan.

Alex, Ella and Natasha Rodriguez

New York Yankeesdesignated hitter Alex Rodriguez is a polarizing figure, but by all accounts he's a doting dad to daughters Ella, 7, left, and Natasha, 10 -- whether he's taking them to a Katy Perry concert or just hanging out with them before a Yankees game against theMarlinsin Miami in mid-June. The first thing Rodriguez did after his 3,000th career hit (and 667th home run) on June 19 was point to his girls and blow them kisses.