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Fisher Cats: Like fathers, like sons

New Hampshire Union Leader

June 17. 2018 2:05AM

Fisher Cats infielder Cavan Biggio and his father, Baseball Hall of Famer Craig Biggio. (COURTESY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE FISHER CATS)

Father's Day often means baseball - not barbecues - in the Biggio and Bichette families.

Cavan Biggio recalls going to a Major League Baseball stadium one Father's Day where his dad was playing and finding the blue-colored arm and headbands that players were wearing that day to promote prostate cancer awareness.

"Me and my brother, we'd put 'em all up and down our arms and legs and put the eye black (under their eyes) that was in the color of light blue and we'd put it all on," Biggio said during a phone interview from Akron, Ohio, where he was playing for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

For years, Biggio's father, Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, missed many Father's Day celebrations - and youth baseball games - until after he retired from pro baseball in 2007 when Cavan was 12.

"Through my Little League career, he'd come around when he could," the younger Biggio said last week. "It started to be pretty cool when he retired and he started to able to come to most of the games."

A Dante Bichette baseball card from 1993 and a card of his son, Fisher Cats shortstop Bo Bichette, from this season. The Bichettes are one of three Fisher Cats father-son tandems where the father is a former major-leaguer.

"It's just nice to have my dad there in general as a father and not as an ex-baseball player," Biggio, 23, said. "I never really saw my dad as a superstar or Hall of Famer. I always just knew him as dad, so none of that has changed when I'm here in Double-A."

The Fisher Cats actually have three players with famous baseball fathers. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who plays third base, is the son of former Montreal Expos player Vladimir Guerrero, who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame next month.

Bo Bichette's dad, Dante, retired from the major leagues when Bo was 3 after playing for several teams, including the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies.

"Most of the Father's Days we've had together is him watching me at the ballpark," Fisher Cats shortstop Bo Bichette said in a separate interview.

The elder Bichette also played for the independent team Nashua Pride in 2004 before serving as hitting coach for the Rockies in 2013, when Bo Bichette spent much of spring training and nearly the entire season with his dad.

"I learned a lot about how to work, how to prepare," said the 20-year-old Bichette, who leads the Fisher Cats in stolen bases.

The Florida native said his father isn't into all the hoopla surrounding Father's Day.

"He's always about just coming to watch me play," he said. "That's what he loves to do."

Second baseman Cavan Biggio, tops on the team in home runs, said his father is more into birthdays than a day for dads.

"Father's Day, I think for everybody, it just reminds us for what people's fathers in their lives have meant for them," said the younger Biggio, a Texas native.

"For me, it means a way where I'm doing what he did his whole life, and he's one of the main reasons why I fell in love with this game in the first place," he said.

Both sons say their fathers monitor their progress daily by following the Fisher Cats games online, but neither father delivers nightly critiques.

"He doesn't worry about me too much - just kind of tells me good job or keep working, or something like that," Bo Bichette said.

"Sometimes, we'll talk to each other every day for weeks, and then sometimes it will be a couple times a week," Bichette said.

"Everything I know is from him, so he's been everything," he said.

Bichette's dad wanted him to pursue tennis.

"I loved tennis," Bo Bichette said. "It really boiled down that I didn't want to work as hard at tennis as I wanted to work at baseball, so that was the decision."

Over the Memorial Day weekend, Biggio's mom, dad and sister watched him play in Manchester. The Bichette family also has spent time in Manchester this season with Dante Bichette seeing his son play last month in Hartford, Conn.

Bo Bichette said Father's Day is "just realizing what my dad's done for me, what he's kind of sacrificed to follow me around following my journey."

He said he appreciates his family year-round.

"Every day, we have a great relationship, my family, so it's not like one day is going to change anything," Bichette said.

Despite their baseball pedigrees, the sons of famous ballplayers know they will make the big leagues based on their own talent, not shared last names.

"What we're doing and what we have done to get us here is what we've been able to do on our own. Whether it's been with a lot of help from our fathers, whether it's basically none, it doesn't matter," Biggio said. "It's who we are as players, and it's a lot of fun to be around."

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