Fielder's memories reciprocated by famed dad

Prince, father Cecil fondly remember favorite moments of watching each other play

Fielder's memories reciprocated by famed dad

CHICAGO -- The common denominator was they could both hit the ball far, though Dad did it from the right side and his son is left-handed. But they both led the league in home runs and played in the All-Star Game.

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The surname suggests defense, but Cecil and Prince Fielder are much more about power. Cecil Fielder hit 319 home runs in his 13-year Major League career, and Prince is right behind him. Prince, now in his 12th season, has 299 and has many more years to go.

Prince also has two sons -- Jadyn and Haven -- tagging along behind him at the ballpark, just like he did so many years ago when Cecil was playing for the Tigers and then the Yankees.

Cecil and Prince Fielder have had their difficult moments, but things are much better now, and with the approach of Father's Day, they were willing to share some of their favorite memories of watching each other play.

For Prince, it was seeing his dad hit his 50th home run while with the Tigers in 1990 and winning a World Series with the Yankees in 1996.

"Watching him in the playoffs, it was his first time in the playoffs, and he did really well," Prince said. "He was locked in. I was proud to see that. This was a guy who had gone 10-11 years not being in the playoffs. It was fun to watch."

The 50th home run came on the last day of the season against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Cecil Fielder hit it in the fourth inning off of Steve Adkins and added another one off Alan Mills in the top of the eighth to give him 51 for the year.

"It was just a big deal," Prince said. "I didn't know it was a big deal, I just thought it was another home run. But in New York, they put it on the board, and people were applauding. It's not like it was Detroit. I thought that was really cool and realized how big it was."

Cecil has one favorite memory of Prince, and that was when he was taken in the first round of the 2002 Draft.

"When he was picked seventh overall by the Milwaukee Brewers," Fielder said. "For a father, it doesn't get any better than that. "

There have been other great memories. But this year may top them all. Cecil Fielder was in New York on Saturday night for Old-Timers Day, but he is enjoying the way his son has come back strong after missing most of last year with a neck injury.

"Well, he's come back and is doing real well," Cecil said. "I mean, he had a serious injury, he came back, and I think that gave him a little fuel to the fire, being away from the game, and he's doing excellent."

Fielder, through Saturday, is hitting .338 with 11 home runs, 47 RBIs and a .517 slugging percentage. Right now, he is a good bet to be the Rangers' All-Star representative.

"I think it's the most fun I've seen him have in a while," Cecil said. "When a guy like Prince or any other great athlete, if they're enjoying themselves, they're always going to do better. Right now, that's what you're seeing right now. He's enjoying baseball again, he's having fun.

"When he was going through his injury last year, he was really on the down. He wasn't feeling good. He's always talking about trying to play through injuries, but that was one of those injuries. And I told him, 'If you're hurting that bad, you have to go get it done. You aren't going to be able to make it, because the longer you wait, the more it's gonna hurt.' So I think it was a good choice."

So when did Dad realize his son was going to be a great Major League player?

"When he had a diaper on," Cecil said. "He was a baseball player from Day 1. He was around the ballpark, and he loved the game, and you know when you have a kid that has that much enthusiasm in something, he's gonna be special. I always knew he was going to be a special player. 

"Hey, if I ain't proud, nobody can be proud."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.