Getting to play catch and stand side-by-side with his father on the grounds of old Comiskey Park is what Jerry Jr. enjoyed most as a boy. Now a member of the Rangers, Hairston recalls the quality time his father would spend with the entire family despite the demands of a Major Leaguer's schedule.
"I just remember being around with my father, going to the ballpark and watching him play," said Hairston, who started coming to the park at age 2. "Being able to play catch with my father on the field and visit him, it was a thrill."
Hairston's grandfather, Sam Hairston, became the first African-American player to play for the White Sox in 1951. And Hairston Jr.'s father followed in Sam's footsteps, playing most of his 16 seasons in Chicago.
The many fond memories of attending games with his dad at the ballpark helped Hairston Jr. to also fall in love with the game.
"All I ever wanted to do was play baseball," Hairston said. "It was never something that my father or grandfather forced upon me, it was something I always wanted."
As Hairston Jr. did as a wide-eyed boy, he looked up to his father for guidance as his own baseball career prospered.
"He always told me to just have fun and enjoy the game," said Hairston Jr. "As I got older, about 16 or 17, and he realized it was something that I really wanted to do, he told me that if I really want to do this as a job or career, you need to kind of get your butt in gear."
D.C. Reeves is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.