178.1 Our third baseman’s name is monumentally appropriate since of the 3 baseball family trees I tackled this week, I was able to come up with a definite finding on none of them…so yeah, I don’t know. I’d like to think maybe somebody will read this and clue me in. You might wonder why I simply don’t try asking those relevant relatives who are still living. 3 reasons: first, everybody is privacy crazy these days, so I’d just as soon not intrude. Second, even family members sometimes don’t know what’s what in their own family. And third, one’s mother’s maiden name is often used as a password or similar internet security check…so I try to do it all with “independent sources.”
178.2 This website Baseball’s Largest Families proved a useful starting point…especially since they don’t limit it to just major leaguers, but include all pro ballplayers, majors and minors. They list 8 in the Aaron/Lucas family dynasty…it should be 9, and the one they miss is one I knew about even before the internet, since I was following baseball quite closely at the time, the early 1980s.
178.3 As you can see in Chart 627, only Hank Aaron and his brother Tommie played major league ball…I couldn’t put my finger on years of birth for the youngest 3 siblings. 2 of Hank’s brothers-in-law (by his first wife) are cited for their contributions to baseball off the playing field…Bill Lucas is noted as the first black General Manager…with the Atlanta Braves from 1976 until his untimely death in 1979. But both he and his brother Robert played as well…Bill was in the Braves farm system for 6 seasons…Robert for 9 seasons, mostly with the Angels, reaching AAA in 1963 but batting just .048 in 9 games. Son Bill Jr. is the one they leave out…he and his 1st cousin, Hank’s son Lary, were teammates in the low minors in 1981-82…and yes, that’s Lary with one L, presumably to go along with Gary, his twin brother who died soon after birth.
178.4 So that’s 6 of the 9…the other 3 pose something of a dilemma. Wilmer Aaron, his brother Melvin, and Melvin’s son “Ging” all had undistinguished careers in the minors. They are universally said to be related to Hank, and I have no doubt of that…how is the question. (A) and (B) below are from baseball-reference.com…and together they say that Wilmer and Melvin were Hank’s “cousins” and Melvin’s son Oginga was Hank’s 3rd cousin. Press coverage when Ging made is minor league debut in 1999 also said 3rd cousin…but as the genealogically savvy among you understand, the father of your 3rd cousin is your father’s 2nd cousin…so he’s your father’s “cousin,” not your “cousin.”
178.5 Still, further digging shows that when Wilmer was drafted in 1971 he was called Hank’s 2nd cousin…and today as a successful high school baseball coach the media routinely calls him 2nd cousin.Taken all together, it’s obvious not everybody is using their kinship terminology collectedly…perhaps nobody is! Hooking up Wilmer and Melvin’s branch of the family with Hank’s would have solved it, but I was unable to do so. My best guess as to what’s happening is shown in Chart 629…
178.6 …which is to say, I’m assuming they’re right about 2nd cousins and wrong about 3rd cousins. There are other scenarios…unfortunately, the relative ages don’t make any of them more likely than the others. To me, putting Melvin and Wilbur in the same generation as Hank just seems the most sensible thing to do…but not by much. And without question it is totally inconsistent to correctly say your father’s 1st cousin’s son is your 2nd cousin, then incorrectly say your 2nd cousin’s son is your 3rd cousin, when in reality it’s your father’s 2nd cousin’s son who is your 3rd cousin…that’s why I call it a “hybrid”…half right, half wrong, as per Chart 630.
178.7 But then that’s typical…there are a hundred ways to be wrong and only one way to be right. At any event, we know Hank Aaron was named after his grandfather “Papa Henry”…who was actually a Jr., his father being Henry Sr. Thus Chart 631 ties it together as best I can for now…I can find no evidence of any siblings in Gerald and Henry Jr.’s generation…but it would have to look like this for Henry to be 2nd cousins with Melvin and Wilmer.
178.8 OK, one more thing…humor me…I thought it would be fun to sketch out one of those other scenarios, that of Melvin being Hank’s 2nd cousin, while Melvin’s son is literally Hank’s 3rd cousin. As you can see in Chart 632, all it would take is for Melvin to marry his father’s 2nd cousin…and yes, that would also make Melvin a 3rd cousin to his own son, but when you marry your 2nd cousin once removed ascending, you have to expect things like that…see why it’s important to get this stuff right in the first place?
178.9 Research topic #2 was the Reggie Jackson/Barry Bonds connection and I ultimately got stuck on that one too. People on the web say they are “distant cousins”…you have to chuckle when they add “I think maybe twice removed”…duh…WHAT twice removed? Since they never say Reggie is related to Barry’s father Bobby Bonds, it must be thru Barry’s mother’s side. That’s something pretty basic that sometimes catches people…assuming that if you’re related to the son, you must be related to the father…forgetting the mother!
178.10 Now both Reggie’s father and grandfather married Puerto Rican women, which is where the “Martinez” comes from…there is no mention of Hispanic blood in Barry’s family so the connection is likely thru the Jacksons. But as you can see in Chart 633, Jacksons aren’t showing up in Barry’s mother’s family. It’s frustrating…his grandmother Floydia’s maiden name remains elusive, as does Reggie’s grandfather’s first name. Now you’d think an unusual name like that would be easy to trace…I found a handful of Floydias that were possible geographical and chronological matches, but couldn’t nail any down. Were she the sister of Reggie’s grandfather, Reggie and Barry would be 2nd cousins…hence the “twice removed”?…or if Barry’s 2G grandmother Louisella were a Jackson, something like 4th cousins, but at this point I simply don’t know. The connection could even be thru Reggie’s grandfather’s mother’s side…help?
178.11 Finally, we have the Mo Vaughn/Greg Vaughn connection…Uncle Wiki and many others say simply “cousins”…some say “2nd cousins” or “distant cousins.” This stands as a good exercise in net-trolling…and an initial google came up with Mo’s parents’ first names and Greg’s mother’s maiden name. So far, so good. A connection came from a third party, who said that Mo’s uncle is Greg’s grandfather. We’ll call this relative “Unc”…and he’s either a Vaughn or a Reynolds…
178.12 …making Greg and Mo 1st cousins once removed…Mo is Greg’s father’s…or mother’s…1st cousin.
What’s interesting is this connection came from an interview with Leon Brown, who played one season with the NY Mets in 1976…his older brother Curtis Brown Jr. played one game with the Montreal Expos in 1973. The reason it came up at all is that Leon says Unc is also his uncle…trouble is, Leon’s parents are Curtis Brown Sr. and Ruby Banks. This raises the possibility of halfs instead of fulls. For example, did you notice anything strange about Chart 627? Hank Aaron’s mother’s maiden name is definitely Pritchett…in fact, he played with an amateur team in Mobile AL called Pritchett Athletics…while her brother, his uncle, is Bubba Underwood, who taught Hank the game, and was himself a ballplayer with a Negro League semi-pro team in Mobile. The different last names could mean step-siblings, but I’m guessing half-siblings, sharing a mother and with different fathers.
178.13 So…Unc could be the half-brother of either Curtis Brown Sr. or Ruby Banks…making him Leon’s half-uncle. He could also just be married to a sister of either of Leon’s parents, making him an uncle in that sense. Or he could be an approximate uncle, being the 1st cousin instead of the sibling of one of the parents. Then of course, Unc could be a Brown or a Banks, and still related to the 2 Vaughns. For the record, Brown also says he is the cousin of James Mouton, an outfielder with several teams from 1994-2001…Brown was born in 1948 and is from Sacramento, as is Greg Vaughn…Mouton was born in Denver in 1968 but went to high school in Sacramento.
178.14 But pending the exact identity of Unc, we do have another key piece of evidence: numerous sources say Greg Vaughn and former baseball star Jeron Kennis “Jerry” Royster are “cousins”…Royster is also a “cousin” to former NFL defensive back Derrick Scott “Ricky” Reynolds…and Reynolds is a “cousin” to Greg Vaughn. Royster was born in 1952, Reynolds in 1965, both in Sacramento…notice we’re getting a grouping of relatives in Sacramento, with Mo Vaughn the odd man out in Connecticut. And tantalizingly, another Leroy Vaughn married a Deborah Ann Reynolds in Sacramento in 1965…Greg’s parents?…just dunno.
178.15 But let’s try working it out and see where it leaves us…we have 3 cousin relationships which we will assume are 1st cousins, full not half…Greg to Jerry…Jerry to Ricky…and Ricky to Greg. Good mental exercise, to limber up the gray cells, sez me. And of these 3, we only know one mother’s maiden name…Greg’s mother is a Reynolds.
178.16 So one of the cousin relationships is set…Ricky’s father and Greg’s mother are siblings. That leaves Jerry, who, to be a 1st cousin of Greg, has a mother who is either a Vaughn or a Reynolds. If it’s a Vaughn, Ricky’s mother would have to be a Royster, right? So while the 3 would be cousins, they wouldn’t be all cousins together as a group…2 would attend the Vaughn Christmas party (Greg and Jerry)…2 the Royster party (Jerry and Ricky)…and 2 the Reynolds party (Greg and Ricky)…in a sort of tag-team fashion.
178.17 On the other hand, if Jerry’s mother is a Reynolds, then Ricky’s mother could be a Smith or anything…the 3 cousins would be related thru one family, the Reynolds…2 sisters and a brother. And how does this help us with Greg and Mo’s relationship? Well, the fact they Greg is always mentioned as a “cousin” of Jerry Royster, but Mo isn’t, suggests 3 things: Jerry’s mother isn’t a Vaughn…hence Jerry, Ricky, and Greg are related thru the Reynolds…hence Mo isn’t related to Greg thru the Reynolds, but thru the Vaughns, the left side of Chart 634.
178.18 And when you think about it, for Mo and Greg to be related thru the Reynolds (the right side of Chart 634), it would mean a woman (Mo’s mother) and her niece (Greg’s mother) married unrelated men named Vaughn…possible in theory, but seemingly ruled out by the Greg/Jerry/Ricky cousin connection.
178.19 At any rate, that’s as much as the net is telling us so far…their real family tree could be completely different…and nothing would give me more pleasure than to revise this whole scenario and get it right! Next week, less wear and tear on the old cerebrum with bunches of baseball brothers…see yez in 7…
Copyright © 2014 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved