Connecting Three Generations
Bob Boone held his bat from his 100th home run in his hands and exhaled.
“That was a long time ago,” Boone said. “But I think some of these guys playing today don’t realize about all the history in this game. And when you think about it like that, it wasn’t all that long ago.”
Boone is a keen student of history – for obvious reasons. His dad Ray Boone played for 13 years in the big leagues and was a two-time All-Star, and Bob played for 19 years – winning seven Gold Glove Awards behind the plate and setting a standard (since broken) with 2,225 games caught. His sons Bret and Aaron also played in the majors, making the Boones a three generation big league family.
Bob, Bret and some fourth generation Boones – Bret’s eight-year-old sons Judah and Isaiah – visited the Hall of Fame on Sunday following their appearance on Saturday at the Hall of Fame Classic. Bob carefully pored over his player file in the Museum’s Library – one of more than 18,000 player files maintained by the Museum – and also examined photos of three generations of Boone big leaguers in the photo archive during their behind-the-scenes tour.
But it was in the artifact archive where Bob and Bret really connected with the game’s history and their family, cradling Babe Ruth bats with great care while photographing Judah and Isaiah with the artifacts.
“This was a bat used by (Hall of Famer) Paul Molitor,” said Bret to his sons. “He was my hitting coach.”
A three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove Award winner at second base, Bret Boone described himself as a “bat freak” who loved picking out the perfect piece of lumber.
His sons, meanwhile, have a good jump on their attempt to make the Boones a four-generation big league family. Isaiah spent part of the quiet moments of the tour playing a video baseball game on his iPad when he and Judah weren’t taking photos of the artifacts.
Bob, the assistant general manager and vice president for player development for the Washington Nationals, got to see his bat from his 100th career home run – hit on June 13, 1988 when Bob was member of the California Angels – which he donated to the Museum.
But after the tour, Bob was in no hurry to see the morning end – taking his family into the public areas of the Museum for more history lessons.
“You could spend days here looking at all the history,” Bob said. “One thing after another – you just say ‘Wow.’”
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum