Memorable Father Moments in Sports

Three generations of Griffeys, Ken Sr. (l.), Ken Jr. (r.) and Junior’s son Trey at the World Baseball Classic back in 2006.
Three generations of Griffeys, Ken Sr. (l.), Ken Jr. (r.) and Junior’s son Trey at the World Baseball Classic back in 2006.
Photo: Getty

Some of the best sporting moments come from a father and his child. And no, we’re not talking about your backyard cornhole (It’s called bags! - Julie DiCaro ) game with dad. For many athletes, their father is a coach, mentor, and friend. For Father’s Day, Deadspin compiled a list of 10 of our favorite father-child moments in sports. Like your dad’s wardrobe, this list is random and unorganized.

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Jim Redmond and Derek Redmond

At the 1992 Barcelona Games, Derek Redmond, a track and field star for Enlgand, tore his hamstring on the final turn of the 400M semi final. Redmond was just 175M from the finish and was a lock to reach the final and now it was all over. In agony, Redmond came to a stop before hopping toward the finish line determined to complete the race. Redmond’s father, Jim, quickly ran to the track to help his son, where he was briefly stopped by a security guard. After a quick exchange, the guard let Jim reach his son who was in tears. Jim Redmond put his arm around Derek and the two walked to the finish line together to a standing ovation. The scene is one of the most poignant tearful father-and-son moments in sports history. — Eric Barrow

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Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr.

Ken Griffey was a three-time All-Star and key cog in the Big Red Machine that won World Series titles in 1975 and 1976. His career was winding down in 1990 when he was traded to the Seattle Mariners, where he and Ken Griffey Jr. became the first father-son combo in baseball history to play for the same team. On Sept. 14, 1990, they hit back-to-back home runs against California Angels pitcher Kirk McCaskill. Griffey Sr. would retire the next season, and Junor would go on to have a Hall of Fame career, hitting 630 home runs. — Chris Baud

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Illustration for article titled Memorable Father Moments in Sports
Illustration for article titled Memorable Father Moments in Sports

Richard Williams,
Venus Williams,
and Serena Williams

For some, it was a moment of a proud father not afraid to let everyone in the world know what was accomplished. For others, it was as one Orlando sports writer wrote; time for the Williamses to “grow up.” However you want to look at it, at the 1999 Lipton tennis championship match between Williams’ daughters Venus and Serena — the first time two sisters had met in a final in 115 years of tennis — held up two signs, one that read “WELCOME TO THE WILLIAMS SHOW” and the other read “I TOLD YOU SO!” Richard Williams had said years earlier that his daughters, two black girls from Compton, California, would one day dominate the sports of tennis. Richard was right, and thensome, as the Williams Sisters would go on to win 33 Grand Slam singles titles, and counting. — E.B.

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Gordie Howe, Mark Howe and Marty Howe

Known as “Mr. Hockey,” Gordie Howe had an unparalleled career that spanned 32 seasons. After 25 legendary seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, he joined the expansion WHA to play with his sons, Marty and Mark, with the Houston Aeros. The team won back-to-back championships. In 1977, all three joined the Hartford Whalers, and in 1979, the WHA folded and the Howes and the Whalers joined the NHL. Gordie played an incredible 80 games in his final season at age 52. Mark Howe went on to have a Hall of Fame, mostly with the Philadelphia Flyers. — C.B.

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Earl Woods and Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods won his first Masters at the age of 21. After he sank his winning putt, he went to celebrate with his father, Earl, who introduced Tiger to the game when he was a toddler. Their bond was not just one of father and son, Earl was a mentor, coach, and friend to Tiger. Twenty two years later, Tiger won another Masters. By then, Earl had passed. But Tiger’s two children were the first to greet him on the 18th green, just like Earl in ’97. — D.F.

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Mutt Mantle and Mickey Mantle

Mutt Mantle, a coal miner in Commerce, Oklahoma, named his son after Hall of Fame catcher Mickey Cochrane and taught him how to play baseball, most notably insisting that he become a switch-hitter. In the 1951 World Series, Mickey injured his knee after getting his foot caught in a drainage pipe. While taking his son to the hospital the next day, Mutt collapsed. The two shared a room at Lenox HIll Hospital. Tragically, Mutt was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease and died the next year. — C.B.

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Kobe Bryant and Gigi Bryant

One of the reasons why Kobe Bryant retired was to spend more time with his family. He shared a special connection to his daughter, Gigi, because she fell in love with basketball. Kobe was her coach and taught her fundamentals and skills. The father - daughter pair could be seen at NBA, WNBA, and College games where they would mingle with players and talk basketball on the sidelines. The WNBA paid tribute to Gigi after she and Kobe died on Jan. 26 by making her an honorary pick in its 2020 draft. — D.F.

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Jack, Jim, and John Harbaugh

Jack Harbaugh, a longtime college football coach, watched from afar as his two sons faced off against each other in the biggest football game of their lives. In 2013, the John Harbaugh’s Ravens beat Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. Jack never chose a side. But after the game he came to terms with the winner and the loser. “Most difficult football game I’ve been involved in in my entire career,” he told CNN. “But I’m so proud of both of them.” — D.F.

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Bryce and Ron Harper

With his father’s help, Bryce Harper won the 2018 Home Run Derby. Ron Harper threw strikes while Bryce hit bombs out of the park in front of a hometown (DC) crowd. The Harpers beat Kyle Schwarber in a final, dramatic round of the Derby. (Schwarbs was robbed by a cheatsy Dad Harper, who conveniently forgot about the rule that you can’t pitch until the previous pitch has landed — JD) After the final home run, Bryce told Buster Olney, “To be able to do that with [my dad] tonight, that’s a dream come true.” — D.F.

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James Jordan and Michael Jordan

On Fathers’ Day 1996, Michael Jordan won his fourth NBA championship and first title after the tragic death of his father, James Jordan. James was always by Michaels side and his absence was particularly noted that day. After the game, an emotional Jordan told broadcaster Ahmad Rashad, “I know he’s watching.” — D.F.

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Been editing/writing sports for over 20 years, mainly in NYC and a stint in LA.

Managing editor. Former N.Y. Daily Newser. Former broke poker player.