1/15 Fathers & sons
Shawon Dunston and son, Shawon Dunston Jr., Bob Brenly and son Michael, and Keith Lockhart and son Daniel took part in an entertaining session on Sunday to close the 27th Cubs Convention at the Chicago Hilton. Dunston Jr. and Daniel Lockhart were selected in last June’s First-Year Player Draft in the 11th and 10th rounds, respectively, while Brenly was a 36th round pick in 2008 and helped Daytona win the Florida State League championship last season.
Both Lockhart and Dunston Jr. are going from high school to pro ball. Lockhart’s Hebron Christian Academy in Georgia is coming off a state championship. Shawon Jr. said it was a tough decision to choose between school and baseball; he wanted to go to Vanderbilt University. The Cubs’ signing bonus included money for school, which helped convince the outfielder.
“I want him to be a better player than me, to have a better career than me,” said Dunston Sr., who was the Cubs’ first-round pick in 1982.
Keith Lockhart, a former Major League infielder who is now a scout with the Cubs, said Daniel developed an early love for the game. When he was 3 years old, Daniel would stand on a seat at ballgames to watch, rather than go play with the other kids. Bob Brenly said Michael was determined to be a catcher and would dig out dad’s old gear to wear. What will happen if Michael does make it to the big leagues and dad is broadcasting the game?
“That sound you hear in the background will be me throwing up [out of nervousness],” said Bob Brenly, the analyst for Cubs TV broadcasts.
All of the fathers and sons did give credit to the moms for taking them to games and supporting them. Michael said his mother often sounded just like his dad in giving advice.
Shawon Sr., who works in the Giants organization with Minor Leaguers, made sure his son put school first. Shawon Jr. had to maintain a 3.55 GPA. If it was lower, he couldn’t play baseball.
“My job is to hate me now but you’ll love me later,” Shawon Sr. said.
Someone suggested Cubs fans would be eager to dust off the “Shawon-O-Meter” sign popular during Dunston’s days with the Cubs from 1985-95.
“I have a t-shirt at home with that on it,” Shawon Jr. said.
Shawon Sr. is doing his best to keep his son on track. The latest argument in the Dunston house is about what car young Shawon will get. Dad will probably win this one.
“Best advice, always listen to your father,” Shawon Sr. said.
Dunston wears a 20-year-old gold chain with charms for each of his children on it.
“I always keep my kids with me,” he said.
— Carrie Muskat