IN BASEBALL, the traditions of the game are handed down from generation to generation. Veterans take rookies under their wings, teach them everything from inside tips to how to handle themselves off the field. The expectation is that when the younger players become more established, they will similarly guide those who follow them.
It's not surprising, then, that the lessons Ruben Amaro Sr. tried to impart to his children are pretty much the same ones that he learned from his father.
Santos Amaro was known as the Babe Ruth of the Mexican League. Although he didn't make his debut until he was 31 years old, he played 17 years and also had a long and successful managing career. But he never stressed baseball around the house.
"He only had an elementary education but he told me baseball players have a lot of empty time. He used to read all the time and played with words," recalled Ruben Sr., who now works for the Astros.
"When we were doing our homework, he'd come by and say, 'Fix that. That's not done properly.' There would be no playing baseball until we were ready to face the world otherwise. He would preach to us every day. 'Get prepared. And when you embark on a task, don't look back.' "
One of Santos' sons went on to become a doctor. Ruben Sr. has had a long and distinguished career in baseball in every capacity from player to coach to player development.
It's not surprising, then, that his teachings to his own kids, including Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., echo the same themes that he heard from his father.
"The main thing I preached is, 'I don't want you guys to become non-contributors. Not hoodlums. I don't want you to ever have to visit a jail for anything," Ruben Sr. said.
So, yes, he's proud that Ruben Jr. also played in the big leagues. That he graduated from Stanford, went on to become an assistant general manager after the 1998 season, that he succeeded Pat Gillick in the big chair following the 2008 World Series. That another son, David, is a successful businessman.
That's not the most important part, though.
"The No. 1 thing, and I think what has probably fulfilled my task as a father, is that my children are contributors. They're well-respected. They went to very good schools. They're very respected as human beings. And they love their mother even though after 28 years we had to go our separate ways," he said.
"That's what makes me proud. Sure, they were mischievous when they were young. But I always told them to separate the good people in their group. The magic word is no. There are times when somebody has to say no. And evidently it worked. I'm very proud of all my children because they're honorable citizens."
Said Ruben Jr.: "As a father myself, I think that's what we care about most. That our kids grow up as good people and to respect others. He taught me to respect the game and people in the game. And, overall, to work hard. Those are the best things he taught me."
Santos and Ruben Sr. are the only father and son to both manage in the Mexican League. Ruben Sr. and Ruben Jr. are the only father-son combination to both play for the Phillies. That represents a lot of lessons, taught and learned, through the years.