A proud week for the McGriff family

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Wed. October 20, 2010 | Eduardo A. Encina

Sometimes the look of a proud father is unmistakable, even when that proud father happens to be former major league baseball player Fred McGriff.

Moments after walking his daughter, Ericka, onto the Tampa Prep volleyball court for Senior Night festivities Tuesday night, McGriff walked into the stands wanting to show a newspaper article on his iPhone.

The story was from the Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, and about his son, former Jesuit wide receiver Erick McGriff, making his first college receptions playing for the Kansas Jayhawks on Thursday.

Fred McGriff, a veteran of 19 major league seasons, five-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger Award winner, has made it most of his son's games this year in his redshirt freshman season.

And in this week's 59-7 loss to Kansas State, Erick McGriff was called into action late in the second quarter when receiver Christian Matthews left the game with an injury.

The 6-foot-3, 209-pound receiver made three catches for 37 yards, including his first collegiate reception in this third quarter.

Fred McGriff has been a regular at Ericka McGriff's volleyball matches, usually watching from the top row of Tampa Prep's gym.  And just like he watched his daughter, a senior outside hitter for the Terps, tally a team-high 15 kills in Tampa Prep's three-game win over Holy Names on Tuesday, Fred McGriff was in the stands in Lawrence halfway across the country to watch his son's big moment last Thursday.

“I couldn’t ask for any better (from him),” Erick told the Journal-World about his father. “He knows what I’ve gone through. He’s been through similar situations and similar stuff. He’s just a great role model.”

Fred McGriff, a Tampa native and Jefferson grad who is 26th on the all-time homer list with 493 career home runs, is equally as proud.

"To me, it's just amazing in a sense," McGriff said during Tuesday volleyball match. "College football is a tough stage to get to. A lot of people wish they could make just one catch in a college game. And the Big 12 is big-time football." 

-- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (eencina@sptimes.com; Twitter: @EddieHometeam)

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