Lowell influenced by Dad most of all
Father's discipline, work ethic, left lasting imprint on slugger
BOSTON -- Ask Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell about baseball and you will get analytical and insightful responses. Ask him about beating a teammate like Dustin Pedroia in cribbage or ping pong, and you'll get some good-natured trash talk.
But when you ask Mike Lowell about his father Carl, it's a safe bet that emotion will take over at some point in the conversation.
The truth is, Lowell gets flooded with happy emotions when he thinks about the type of example his father set for him, and how much of an impact he's made on his life.
Carl Lowell -- like son Mike -- was a baseball player as well. Having moved from Cuba to Puerto Rico at the age of 11, the elder Lowell would develop into a pitching star. In fact, he would go on to defeat Cuba in national showcase events. Not that Mike Lowell's dad ever bragged about such heroics to his children.
"I think as I got to pro ball, I met a lot of Puerto Rican coaches who were either third-base coaches or managers from teams. When they saw my last name, they'd always ask me if I was Carlos Lowell's son or related to him," said Lowell. "I said, 'Yeah, he's my dad.' I'd hear, 'He was a really, really good pitcher, he could have signed pro, but he decided to go to dental school.' Even that sacrifice speaks a lot about what he was about."
What Carl Lowell was about -- more than seeking glory as a professional baseball player -- was supporting his family and, even more than that, being a constant presence in their lives.
"He always had to work for what he had to attain," Lowell said. "He told me, when he was even in dental school in Puerto Rico, he [delivered] the newspaper in the morning because he had to get some cash. At that time he's married to my mom, and my brother is already born and so was I, so it's not the easiest thing in the world. I just think he's always been very disciplined.
"I think when you have to work hard, people take it as this major catastrophe. He took it as, 'Hey, that's what you've got to be able to do to be able to enjoy your family time.' I'd definitely say I've taken that into account."
It shows on the baseball field, where Mike Lowell is known just as much for being a grinder as he is for his prolific run production that propelled him to be the Most Valuable Player of the 2007 World Series.
It speaks volumes of Lowell's relationship with his family that one of his lasting memories from that championship season is that his parents got to come to Boston for the parade.
And in Lowell's recently published autobiography -- "Deep Drive" -- he spends pages and chapters talking about the influence of his father.
Sure, Lowell is the one who has gone on to great success in Major League Baseball, playing big roles in championship runs for two different franchises. But what means the world to him is that Carl Lowell is equally proud of all four of his kids.
"When they ask him, 'Are you proud of your son and all that,' I think he always says, 'Which son?'. I get choked up on that," said Lowell, tears welling up in his eyes. "He says, I'm the public son but he's got four kids. He loves us the same, so that's huge."
If not for Carl Lowell's balanced parenting, perhaps Mike Lowell wouldn't be so close to his siblings. Yet, no type of resentment or jealousy has ever set in for the Lowell family.
Mike and Bertica Lowell have two kids of their own -- daughter Alexis and son Anthony.
Parenting is something that Mike Lowell takes even more pride in than playing baseball.
"You do what you learn at home," said Lowell. "For me, I try to put the family first. I know with my job, that's hard to do. I don't really like to travel in the offseason. I get invited to do 8,000 different things. I just enjoy taking my kids to school and seeing them develop and accomplish things. I think [my dad and I] are very similar in that sense."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.