Big Leaguer’s Sons Matchup In Brainerd

By: Tim Beasley

Sunday afternoon in Brainerd was a perfect afternoon to watch a baseball game; sunny, blue skies, not too warm and a little breeze. The Minnesota Twins were playing at the same time as the Lunkers just two hours south of Brainerd; but they were stuck inside the Metrodome. I was considering going to that game but I made a great decision to stay outdoors!

The pitching matchup between the Duluth Huskies and Brainerd Lakes Area Lunkers featured the sons of two former solid Major League players. Drew Benes (Arkansas St.), the son and nephew of former pitchers Andy and Alan Benes, started for Duluth. Michael Gedman (UMASS), the son of former catcher Rich Gedman, started for Brainerd. While neither pitcher figured into the decision they both gave their teams a chance to win, departing with the game tied at 3. Benes was victimized by two misplayed balls in the outfield that led to a couple of runs. Brainerd came out with a 6-3 victory, scoring three times in the seventh inning against the Duluth bullpen.

Benes’ father Andy pitched for 14 years in the major leagues after being the first overall selection in the 1988 MLB draft. Andy’s brother Alan also pitched in the Big Leagues for eight seasons, including four as a teammate of Andy’s.

Rich Gedman caught for 12 years in the Major Leagues, including 10 with the Boston Red Sox from 1980-1990. In 1986 he set the American League record for putouts by a catcher with 20, as Roger Clemens set the major league record for strikeouts in a nine-innings game against the Seattle Mariners.

I will be putting together a future story for on the sons of former Major League players in the NWL. There are several others besides Benes and Gedman in the NWL this year, including two who pitched Sunday. Jordan Hershiser (USC), the son of Orel Hershiser, pitched for the Madison Mallards. Also pitching Sunday, and pitching quite well, was Craig Gullickson (Clemson). He tossed a one-hitter against the Alexandria Beetles to earn the NWL Pitcher Of The Night Award. His father Bill spent 13 years in the Major Leagues and two years in Japan.

I had the fortune of meeting and playing with the sons of Frank Viola and Bret Saberhagen while I was in Alexandria. Frank and Bret both were Cy Young Award winners and World Series MVP’s in the 1980’s. Frank III pitched in 2004 and Drew Saberhagen spent four years in Alexandria from 2005-2008.

For the teammates and the members of the NWL organizations it is a special experience to hear stories and get advice from the former greats.

Keep an eye on the NWL home page as the feature story should be up sometime over the next week or two as I continue to gain information and interviews!