Crosby feels lucky to have baseball dad

Crosby feels lucky to have baseball dad

OAKLAND -- A's shortstop Bobby Crosby is one of many big-league baseball players with a father who also played at the game's highest level.

But Ed Crosby's career as a player -- he was with the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians at various times -- ended in 1976, and Bobby wasn't born until 1980. So unlike current stars Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr. and Prince Fielder -- among other active stars -- Bobby didn't get to spend the summers of his youth hanging out with dad in big-league ballparks.

He didn't get to shag fly balls hit by some of the biggest names in the game. He didn't get to ask All-Stars for advice.

"That would have been nice," Crosby says. "I can only imagine how valuable that kind of experience must have been for those kids lucky enough to tag along with their dads. But it's not like I feel cheated or anything. For one thing, even though there are a lot of players out there who have fathers who played in the big leagues, it's still a small number compared to the number of guys who don't.

"In that sense, I'm still really lucky. I wasn't there to see my dad play, but I still have a dad who played at this level and was able to help me prepare to get to this level. I've still been able to benefit from his experience in a huge way."

By the time Crosby started playing baseball at age 6, Ed had moved on to a career as a baseball scout, evaluating high school and college players for the A's. Bobby didn't even know his Dad had played in the big leagues until he was 8 years old, and it wasn't until he was 10 years old that the subject was of any interest to him.

"To be honest with you, it wasn't that big of a deal to me," Crosby says. "My dad never really talked about it when I was little. If he talked about it, it was because I started the conversation, and I know I didn't do that very often when I was little. He's just not the kind of guy to go around bragging about what he did, and not once did he ever push me to play baseball.

"If I wanted to go do something else, he said, 'Fine. Go do it. Have fun.' There was no pressure at all from him to play baseball. But when my friends, my teammates in Little League, found out that my dad played in the Majors, they thought it was the coolest thing in the world. They'd ask me all kind of questions about it, and I didn't know the answers, so I'd go home and ask the same questions: 'Who did you face? Who did you get hits off? Who struck you out?' That's when it sort of sunk in that, hey, this really is pretty cool."

Also pretty cool, Crosby quickly learned, was being the son of a baseball scout. It didn't come with quite the same perks of having a father still playing the game, but there were still perks. Among them was having one of the best seats in the house at Anaheim Stadium, where the California Angels played their home games.

It wasn't far from the Crosby family's home, and Bobby remembers going there with Ed on a regular basis.

"We got to sit right behind home plate, right there in the front rows," Crosby says. "And for a kid, that's heaven. You can hear everything, you can see everything. The best players in the world are right in front of you. That's one of the reasons I say I don't feel cheated. I mean, I might not have gotten to run around on the field like I would have if my dad had still been playing, but I had a free season ticket to watch Major League Baseball from the front row, and that's not too bad.

"The only time it was bad was when I was 10 or 11 and my team went there as part of Little League Day at the park or something like that. We all had our jerseys on and everything, so I was pretty excited about it. But then they took us to our seats, and they were way up in the top deck. And I mean way, way up there. I looked down and the players looked like ants. I was used to being down behind the plate, where the players look huge.

"I remember thinking, 'This stinks.' That was the day I realized how lucky I was to have a scout for a dad."

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.