Monday, March 30, 2009

The Boone Family Legacy

The Boone family is not only the first family in Major League Baseball to have three straight generations play in an All Star game, the legacy goes all the way back to one of our greatest country heroes.

Let's start at the beginning, or at least as far back as history can take us. The Boone family can be traced back to Normandy, France and a Geoffrey de Bohun was born before 1000 A.C.E. Part of the Norman invasion of England, the de Bohun family were given title and and became noblemen that married into other noble families. No doubt, such a family, if it were possible to identify, was probably originally from the Norsemen who settled in Normandy after an invasion there. Only such descendents would be trusted and given title after the British conquest.

The de Bohun name was gradually anglosized to Bohn and then finally Boone. Almost seven hundred years after such a titled family came in conquest of England, Squire Boone was born in Bradninch, England in 1696. Squire was a humble Quaker and soon sought refuge in the New World.

Squire Boone settled in Pennsylvania in a Quaker community there in New Britain, and later Exeter. There he met and married his wife, Sarah Morgan, and the couple had twelve children. Two of the children married outside of the Quaker faith and when challenged by the Quaker leadership, Squire Boone defended his children and was thrown out of the Quaker church. The humble blacksmith, farmer, carpenter then took his large family to North Carolina where he and Sarah spent their remaining years.

Squire and Sarah would just be another plotline in the building of America but their sixth child happened to be a fellow by the name of Daniel Boone. And Daniel became one of the biggest and best of all of the American legends as an adventurer, war hero and politicion.

Daniel Morgan Boone is a name that every kid of the Fan's generation knew from movies, television shows and books. This space won't be used to recount that history. It's available all over the Internet for those who are interested.

Let's leave it that Daniel, born November 22, 1734, died September 26, 1820, married Rebecca Bryan. They had a son named Daniel Morgan Boone, the "Morgan" of course, in honor of Daniel's mother. Daniel Morgan Boone was born December 23, 1769 in North Carolina and married Sarah Griffin Lewis on March 2, 1800. Daniel Morgan Boone died in Missouri like his father.

Sarah and Daniel had a son named Alonzo Havington Boone who was born in Missouri on March 22, 1817. Alonzo married Elizabeth Treble Stewart in 1840. The couple had a son named Edward H. Boone who was born in 1843 in Missouri. Edward married Georgeann Brown.

Edward and Georgeann had a son named William Shelby Boone, born May 28, 1865 in Missouri. Some time after William was born, the family moved to Kansas. William met and married Lulu Michaels of Kansas and they married in 1891.

William and Lulu had a son named Donald Ernest Boone, who was born in Kansas on July 16, 1901. Donald married Beulah Lagretta Garrison of Kansas and the couple moved to California and had a son named Raymond Otis Boone, our baseball patriarch.

Raymond was born in San Diego on July 27, 1923. He signed as an amateur free agent with the Cleveland Indians in 1943. But due to the war, did not actually play for the team until 1948. He started as a shortstop and though the statistics show good range at short, he made a lot of errors including 87 errors in a stretch of 425 games at short for the Indians. He didn't do a whole lot for the Indians at the plate either. He did hit .301 in 1950, but slumped back to .233 and .263 the following two years.

Ray had another bad start in 1953 and was batting only .241 for the Indians when they traded him to the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers immediately shifted Boone to third base and he had a super season with them, hitting .312 with 23 homers and 93 RBIs in just 101 games. He went to finish eighth in MVP voting.

He had three more very good years with the Indians, making the All Star teams in 1954 and 1956. He hit a homer in the 1954 classic. But he dropped off in production in 1957 and the Indians traded him to the Chicago White Sox. He was never a starter again and bounced around from the White Sox to the Royals and then to the Milwaukee Braves and finished with the Boston Red Sox in 1960. He finished with a lifetime .275 batting average and a .361 OBP. He had great stats as a third baseman, unlike his years as a shortstop and finished his career above league average in fielding percentage and range factor as a third baseman. He played mostly first base for the last five years of his career.

Ray Boone died in 2004.

Ray's son, Bob Boone, was born on November 19, 1946 and spent his childhood surrounded by baseball. He went to Stanford University and was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the sixth round of the 1969 draft. He made his major league debut in 1972 and played for the Phillies until 1981. He never was a great hitter but is credited as a gold glove (he won seven of them) catcher and made four All Star teams (and went 2 for 5 in those games) and was part of the 1980 championship season in Philadelphia.

After the strike of '81 (Boone was a union rep) and a poor showing that season, he was traded to the California Angels where he probably had his best two seasons as a catcher. In 1982 and 1983, he threw out an incredible 115 base runners out of 226 attempts. The Angels won the A.L. West in 1982 with him behind the plate. He also caught Ernie Whitt's no-hitter in 1984.

Boone played for the Angels until 1988 and was released after that season. He signed with the Royals in 1989 and had a good season for them (batting .274) at the age of 42. But he broke a finger in 1990 that cut that season short and he retired as the all time leader in games caught at 2225, a record later broken by Carlton Fisk.

He had a couple of unsuccessful stints as a manager and later served in the Nationals front office.

Two of Bob Boone's sons became major league baseball players, Bret and Aaron. Both of them made the All Star team during their careers making the family four for four. Bret, the older of the two, was born in 1969 and went to USC. He was drafted by the Mariners in the fifth round of the 1990 draft. He made his debut with that team in 1992. He played part time for two seasons with the Mariners and then they traded him to the Cincinnati Reds in 1994.

His first year with the Reds was a good one where he batted .320 in 108 games but he then had three mediocre years with that team until having a good power year in 1998 when he had his first All Star year with 24 homers and 95 RBI. The following year, the Reds traded Bret to the Braves.

Bret had a fair year power-wise with the Braves, but was overall not very good at the plate that year. He did hit .538 in the World Series against the Yankees, but the Yankees won the series. After that one year in Atlanta, they traded him to San Diego. He had an unspectacular year for the Padres in 2000 but filed for free agency after that season.

He was signed by the Seattle Mariners, his original team. His first season there, 2001, was his career year when he batted .331 with 37 homers and 141 RBI. He came in third in MVP voting that year. He had three more productive years with Seattle, but each year was a little less productive than the year before. But his career fell off the cliff after the 2004 season. After a horrible 2005 season, his career was over.

Bret Boone finished with 252 homers and 1021 RBI. He also won four gold gloves during his career.

Aaron Boone is four years younger than Bret and followed his brother's footsteps to USC. After his college career, he was drafted in the third round of the 1994 draft by the Cincinnati Reds. He had brief stints with that club in 1997 and 1998 and finally stuck with the team in 1999. He had pretty good batting averages his first three years with the Reds but his batting averaged dropped to .241 in 2002, but had his best power year when he hit 26 homers and drove in 96 runs.

Aaron had a good start to the 2003 season with the Reds and made the All Star team that year in his only selection. The Yankees had a need for a third baseman for the pennant run and traded for Boone for the last 54 games. He was nondescript for them until he hit that fateful home run off of Tim Wakefield that put the Yankees on their way to the World Series (they lost to the Marlins that year). Other than that dramatic homer, he was terrible in the post season and the Yankees released him.

He then signed with the Indians and had two poor seasons there. He signed as a free agent with the Marlins in 2007 and had decent success in limited action. He then signed as a free agent with the Nationals in 2008 and had a poor year in limited action.

Aaron just had open heart surgery this past Thursday which, fortunately, went well. In one of the weirder transaction wire notes, he was put on the 15 day disabled list by the Nationals due to the heart surgery. It is doubtful if his career continues but at least his life will.

And there you have it. Probably more information than you ever wanted about the Boone family, but this author had fun with it and that's all that matters at the moment.

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

Remarkable family history, even though Bret taints it with his cheating.