Texas Rangers outfielder Delino DeShields, whose dad shares the same name (they have different middle names) will be together on Father’s Day for the first time in years.
But after the hugs and good wishes, they’ll be sitting on opposite sides of the diamond. The elder DeShields, who played 12 seasons in the big leagues, is in his first season as first base coach for the Cincinnati Reds. He worked as a manager and instructor for the Reds since 2009 before the promotion.
“It’s going to be a pretty cool experience,” the son said. “It’s not the first time we’ve been on the field together at this level, so it’s not too strange. Only thing that’s going to be different is him gameplanning against me. He knows me better than anybody.”
Father and son played during spring training, but this weekend is the first time they’ve been on the same field for a regular season game. And on Father’s Day, no less, Sunday at Great American Ballpark. According to Rangers’ research, a father and son faced each other two times before. Bump Wills and father Maury (Mariners manager) played against each other twice in 1980. Todd Stottlemyre faced his dad Mel Stottlemyre (Yankees coach) several times in 1998, including the ALDS.
“It definitely makes it more special that it’s Father’s Day,” the elder DeShields said. “I don’t know how many of you have kids that play ball, but it’s nerve-racking. I’ve played in front of packed houses and did it all, but there’s nothing like watching your kids play ball.”
Adding to the family vibe will be DeShields’ sister Diamond, who plays for the Chicago Sky in the WNBA. She’s playing in Indianapolis on Saturday, which is only a two-hour drive from Cincinnati.
“This will be fun,” the son said. “I don’t think he’s ever seen me play on Father’s Day because he’s always been coaching. It’s the first time we’ve spent Father’s Day together. I can only imagine if I had a son and I was on the same field. It would be a surreal moment. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
Same goes for dad.
“I normally get to see them over the holidays. They’re all at home during the breaks. This time of the year, it’s rare,” the elder DeShields said. “For me and my son to be able to share something like this, it’ll be something I always remember.”