Baseball Runs in the Springer family
Baseball runs in the Springer family. George Springer Sr. was born on November 9, 1932 in Balboa, Panama. His parents had come to the area from Barbados and St. Lucia. He was one of ten kids, with four brothers and five sisters. George Springer Sr. emigrated from Panama to Connecticut when he was just 17. He pitched for Teacher’s College of Connecticut (now Central Connecticut State University) for four years. His son, George Springer Jr., was born in Bristol but later settled in New Britain. He also grew up playing baseball and competed in the 1976 Little League World Series.
As a part of our upcoming exhibition, ¡Pleibol! In the Barrios and the Big Leagues / En los barrios y las grandes ligas, organized by the Smithsonian Instutution, the Connecticut Museum of Culture and History team interviewed George Springer Jr. He discussed his experiences with baseball and the huge part it played in his family’s life, both in Panama and Connecticut. He recalled his time in Little League and the support he felt from his father,
“And we had bases loaded at this point, and I think the score was 10 to 10. And I was up and I was facing one of the fastest, most dominant pitchers in the league. And it was one of the games where my father was able to come…The runs scored, I touched first base, we won the game and my father jumped over the fence in jubilation, picked me up, and the two of us kind of celebrated together…And I never forgot it. Throughout my entire life, he was my biggest fan, my biggest supporter.”
George Springer Jr. coached his three kids: George, Nicole, and Lena, on little league teams. His daughters both went on to play college softball. Nicole played for the Puerto Rico Women’s National Team and Lena played for the Puerto Rico Women’s Junior National Team. His son, George Springer III played college baseball for the University of Connecticut where he was the Big East Conference Baseball player of the year and a First Team All-American. Today, George Springer III is a professional baseball player for a Major League Baseball team, the Toronto Blue Jays.
Originally, George Springer III started his professional baseball career with the Houston Astros, who selected him in the first round of the 2011 MLB draft, making him the highest selection in the University of Connecticut’s history. He played for the Astros from 2014 to 2020. In 2017 he was named an MLB All-Star, a World Series Champion, and the 2017 World Series Most Valuable Player. In 2021 he signed a six-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.
George Springer III also has had a stutter since he was a kid. He does charity work and is a spokesperson for the Stuttering Association for the Young and his father said, “He still stutters today, but he wanted to make an impact by connecting with young people. And that’s a difficult thing to do, to be able to come out of your comfort zone. But he was always very poised and very resilient as a young man trying to overcome some of those difficulties and challenges.”
You can learn more about the Springer family’s story in our upcoming exhibition, ¡Pleibol! In the Barrios and the Big Leagues / En los barrios y las grandes ligas, opening Saturday, August 12.
Image courtesy of Bristol Sports Hall of Fame.
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