Family affair: Hairston brothers face off
Meeting marks second time for baseball family's siblings
SAN DIEGO -- The Hairston family tree may as well have its roots on a baseball diamond and branches made of Louisville Sluggers. More Hairstons have played Major League baseball than any other family.The Boones, Bells and Hairstons are the only three-generation families to play the game, and all three families have some ties to the Reds. The current generation features Cincinnati shortstop Jerry Hairston Jr. and his brother, Scott Hairston, an outfielder for the Padres. The four-game series this week between the two teams marks only the second time Jerry and Scott have played against one another. The last time it happened was in 2004, when Jerry played for the Orioles and Scott for the Diamondbacks. "He's four years younger than I am, so we never got a chance to play together as teammates growing up in Little League," Jerry Hairston said. "We saw each other maybe someday in the big leagues and maybe playing together. Playing against each other is still great. As an older brother, I know how hard he worked. Having him tag along with me and steal my bats and everything, at least it was for something." Their parents, including former White Sox player Jerry Hairston Sr., will be at the games. Jerry Sr., now an organizational hitting instructor for his former team, was given a few days off. Jerry Hairston Sr. played for the White Sox and Pirates from 1973-89. His brother, John, had a brief cup of coffee with the Cubs in 1969. Their father was Sammy Hairston, a Negro League star and the first African-American to play for White Sox. He appeared in a handful of games for Chicago in 1951. "My grandfather used to tell stories all the time about Jackie [Robinson] and other players like Cool Papa Bell," Hairston Jr. said. "I grew up in Chicago with Double Duty Radcliffe. My family was really good friends with him. Now that I'm older and look back on it and think about those stories, it really was a neat time period and my grandfather was a part of it." Hairstons aren't limited to professional baseball. A distant relative, Happy Hairston, played in the NBA from 1964-75 -- including for the Cincinnati Royals. While Scott Hairston started in left field for San Diego Thursday, Jerry was not in the Reds' lineup. He was still recovering from a bout of illness that left him dehydrated and dizzy during Wednesday's game at Los Angeles. Rookie Paul Janish started at shortstop for the Reds in the series opener vs. the Padres. Jerry Hairston entered the game at third base in the bottom of the seventh after Edwin Encarnacion was ejected. Hairston, who thought he was feeling better earlier in the day on Wednesday, struggled to get through batting practice. "I started feeling woozy, left batting practice early and went into the clubhouse," Hairston said. "I was feeling awful. I was throwing up and felt really weak." "I've seen a lot of guys vomit and get four hits," said Reds manager Dusty Baker, who still started Hairston in the game. Hairston couldn't get beyond one at-bat. Feeling disoriented, he exited after grounding out in the first inning and could barely run out of the batter's box. He was taken to the trainer's room for IV fluids. Another IV treatment was scheduled before Thursday's game. "During that at-bat, I was in outer space," Hairston said. "I felt like I had been drugged. I thought I was going to pass out." When he does return, Hairston is looking forward to the chance to being on the same field in a game with his brother. "It's definitely a neat experience," said Hairston Jr., who entered the day batting .309 with one home run and six RBIs. "Hopefully I'll take today to get myself together and be ready [Friday]."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.