Sons of Baseball: Growing Up with a Major League Dad

Mark Braff

Rowman & Littlefield, 2023

Agent: Jill Marr

A rare glimpse of professional ballplayers, not as pitchers, hitters, managers, and coaches, but as dads and grandads.

Sons of major league baseball players grow up in a unique environment, not only because they are raised in part by professional athletes, but also because they are raised by the game itself. They come of age immersed in the distinct sounds and aromas of baseball. The locker rooms, the cinderblock-lined corridors beneath the stands, the dugouts, and the fields are the playgrounds of their youth.

In Sons of Baseball, Mark Braff interviews 18 men who share their exclusive stories, ballpark memories, and the challenges and rewards of having fathers whose talents enabled them to reach the pinnacle of their profession. Each chapter is devoted to one son talking about his experiences, from the poignancy of one son’s disclosure that his dad has not been able to acknowledge his son’s sexuality as a gay man, to the humor of another son absconding with the groundskeepers’ cart in Cleveland.

With a foreword by Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. and interviews with the sons of beloved players such as Yogi Berra, Mariano Rivera, Roger Maris, Gil Hodges, and Larry Doby, Sons of Baseball provides a unique, well-rounded perspective on the lives of professional ballplayers and their families.


By the time I was old enough to realize my grandfather was Yogi Berra, he had been just “Grampa” for so long that it was hard to come to terms with his fame. These sweet stories from the sons of big-leaguers — including my own dad — about their “normal” childhoods brought back great memories of my own, and will warm the hearts of readers.

-- Lindsay Berra, sports journalist

A unique perspective on a really interesting mix of players, which gives this book a charm on many levels.

-- Marty Appel, New York Yankees historian and author of Pinstripe Empire, Munson, and Casey Stengel

Baseball passes through our generations. We treasure Kodachrome-tinged memories of playing catch in the backyard; fathers tossing with sons, putting off homework or dinner for a few more precious minutes. Time marches on, but those snapshots last forever. In Sons of Baseball, Mark Braff delivers remarkable stories of fathers and sons experiencing this wonderful sport at its highest levels.

-- Bryan Hoch, Yankees reporter for, author of The Baby Bombers and The Bronx Zoom

Readers are saturated with baseball books detailing the exploits and quarrels of stars. This is a rare book about the sons of baseball stars and their relationship with, and what they learned from, their dads. Readers, like me, will be seduced from the first page, endlessly surprised by its tender tales.

-- Ken Auletta, bestselling author and writer for the New Yorker magazine

Baseball sustains its mystical allure by connecting generations. In Sons of Baseball, Mark Braff spotlights the men who understand this on the most personal level of all. Braff’s compelling interviews give readers a seat at the dinner table with a big-league dad, with riveting insights into the pride, the privilege, and the pressure that comes with life as the son of a major league player.

-- Tyler Kepner, bestselling author and national baseball columnist for the New York Times

Baseball has been a source of bonding between fathers and sons for generations. In Sons of Baseball, Mark Braff takes us inside different types of father-son baseball relationships, some filled with fun, others with regrets, providing a look at some of the game’s greatest players in a completely different light.

-- Mark Feinsand, Executive Reporter and author of The Franchise: New York Yankees