Now a Mariner, Boone makes family, baseball history


The Orioles have one of the greatest families in major-league baseball with the Ripkens -- Cal Sr., Cal Jr. and Bill.

But yesterday, with the help of the Seattle Mariners, a family named the Boones rallied to within Ripken-like status.

The Mariners purchased the contract of 23-year-old second baseman Bret Boone from their Triple-A team, the Calgary Cannons, making the Boones the first third-generation family in major-league history.

"I haven't gotten too much sleep in the last 24 hours," said the youngest Boone with major-league experience.

Bret's father, Bob Boone, caught 2,225 games in 19 years with Philadelphia, California, and Kansas City -- more games than anyone in major-league history.

Bret's grandfather, Ray, was an infielder for six teams from 1948-1960, finishing his career with a .275 batting average, 151 home runs and 737 RBI.

"It's a thrill, definitely a thrill," said Bret Boone, standing in the Seattle clubhouse between packed bags he had brought with him from Calgary. "It's a thrill just being told you're going to the big leagues. It's a dream from when I was young, and it's come true."

Although Boone said it was exciting to be the first third-generation player, he said that was not the most important thing on his mind.

"The third generation thing is a nice extra, but it's not even close to being my main focus," said Boone, who traveled all day to make it to the Mariners' game against the Orioles last night.

In his first at-bat, against Arthur Rhodes in the second inning, Boone got a hit to center field, driving in Jay Buhner to put the Mariners within one run of the Orioles. Then Boone coasted home, along with Tino Martinez, on Henry Cotto's double, giving Seattle a 3-2 lead.

Boone, 5 feet 10, 180 pounds, played at Calgary for two years and was hitting .314 with 13 home runs and 73 RBI in 118 games. He wasleading Calgary with 73 runs, 138 hits and 26 doubles.

"He's been an aggressive player," said Seattle manager Bill Plummer. "He's probably one of our best young prospects. He has pop on the bat and a lot of power."

Bob Boone is coaching Oakland's Triple-A Tacoma affiliate.

"He's a low-key guy, but I've talked to him enough to know when he's excited," Bret Boone said. "He's real excited and real happy for me."

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