Family business for DaVanon

Baseball a family business for DaVanon

PHOENIX -- Jeff DaVanon's favorite childhood memory with his father, former Major Leaguer Jerry DaVanon, didn't come on the baseball diamond.

It actually occurred on a softball field.

"When I got to play softball for his company team was probably the most fun," said the seven-year Major Leaguer, now in his first season as an outfielder with the Diamondbacks. "They needed one more player. It was the offseason so I just played for one game. It's probably the most fun I ever had playing with him."

"He said to me, 'Dad, I want to grow up and be a softball player just like you,'" Jerry said.

Baseball bloodlines run deep in the DaVanon family. Jerry spent eight seasons playing in the big leagues from 1969 to 1977. Over the course of his career, he played for the San Diego, St. Louis, Baltimore, California and Houston.

"[He taught me] to work hard," Jeff said of his father. "He was the utility guy. He always had to scrap for every season and try and make the team. He instilled a good work ethic in me just so I could make teams easier and stuff like that."

Jeff was only 4 years old when his father retired from baseball, which allowed Jerry to take an active role in his son's childhood. It was Jerry who encouraged Jeff to take up the art of switch-hitting.

"I asked him if he liked to be a switch-hitter," Jerry said. "I told him there's a no problem if you struggle at and you'll go back and hit right-handed. He picked it up quite easily."

Jeff may have already passed down some of those baseball genes to his 2-year old son, Luke.

"I don't care what he does, as long he's healthy and has fun," Jeff said. "If he wants to play baseball, he plays baseball."

"He seems to have pretty good eye-hand coordination I can tell you that," said Jerry of his grandson.

Lindsey Frazier is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.