ST. PETERSBURG — Seeing son Prince pull on the Olde English D he once wore proudly in Detroit only brought Cecil Fielder back so far.
Dismissing talk of an "improving" relationship with his son, Cecil Fielder said before Friday's induction into the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame he has no interest in going to see Prince Fielder play and instead delivered a stinging rebuke of the 27-year-old who signed a nine-year, $214 million free agent deal with the Tigers.
"As a father, of course you're proud of what your son's been able to accomplish on the field," Cecil Fielder, 48, said. "But as a father also you worry about how he is growing as a man, how — I want to say this correctly — how he is communicating with everybody that had something to do with how he got to where he is. And that part of my son, I think we're all a little disappointed."
Cecil Fielder said Prince has no relationship with any members of their extended family, including his ill grandparents; he "hides behind" agent Scott Boras' representatives to dodge discussing his family; and he shows no appreciation for those who helped him along the way.
For example, Cecil Fielder said: "We all knew the kid was obese. He had a hard time running to first base without getting tired. You don't transform your body by yourself, you've got to have trainers, you've got to have people cooking for you, there's a lot of things that go into that. …
"There's a lot of people that wish he would get over whatever he's got going on with his self. … And once he gets rid of that, I think those people he needs to reach out to other than me, I think hopefully he will."
Cecil Fielder said he took family to see Prince play in Atlanta a few years ago and when they went into the family waiting area postgame, security made them leave. As a result, he has no plans to see Prince continue the family legacy in Detroit, though he also said Tigers owner Mike Ilitch "is concerned" about their relationship.
"I know what I did for my son, and he knows what I did for him," Cecil Fielder said. "I'm going to take the high road, stay away from it and not cause any friction. … You play for the Tigers, I played for the Tigers, do your thing. … If you want to stay stuck whatever cocoon you're in, stay there, but I'm not going to join you."
Fielder and Tampa's Tino Martinez were inducted into the hall before a crowd of about 750 at Tropicana Field for the event co-hosted by the museum and Rays pitcher David Price's Project 14 Foundation, both saying how special they felt to be in such elite company. Longtime big-league pitcher Mike Flanagan, who committed suicide in August, was also honored, his father, Ed, saying that with inclusion in the pitchers' wing of the museum "his name will not be forgotten."