The Baseball Hairstons: A Story That Needs to be Told
I recently saw the above picture of one-time White Sox pinch-hitter extraordinaire Jerry Hairston (now a Sox minor league hitting instructor) in a Chicago Tribune photo gallery. It reminded me of something that should get much more attention than it does.
You see, the Hairstons–Sam, John, Jerry, Scott and Jerry Jr.–are one of a trio of three-generation major league families along with the much more publicized Bells (Gus, Buddy, David and Mike) and Boones (Ray, Bob, Bret and Aaron). The Hairstons, however, are the biggest family with five players.
Here’s the Hairston rundown:
* Sam: Started in the Negro Leagues. He was the first American black White Sox player when he was a backup catcher and pinch-hitter during the 1951 season and spent more than a half-century as a player, scout and coach. The father of Jerry and John and grandfather to Jerry Jr. and Scott, he passed away in 1997 at the age of 77.
* John: Played a handful of games for the 1969 Cubs as a catcher, outfielder and pinch-hitter.
* Jerry Sr.: Enjoyed 14 seasons in the big leagues in the 70s and 80s as an outfielder, first baseman and pinch-hitter, all with the White Sox except for part of the 1977 season when he was with Pittsburgh. He also stands as the Sox all-time leader in pinch hits with 87.
* Jerry Jr.: Now in his 13th big league season, Jerry has played with the Orioles, Cubs, Rangers, Reds and last year won a World Series ring with the Yankees. He has played a variety of positions and will do so this year with the Padres.
* Scott: An outfielder-second baseman who reached the majors in 2004 with the Diamondbacks. He went from the D-backs to the Padres to the A’s and will be rejoining the Padres in 2010 where he will be teammates with his brother.
Jerry Jr., Jerry Sr. and Scott (above), John’s uniform number with the
Cubs–because no photo of him was readily available–and patriarch Sam