Family man: Francona's dad throws out first pitch

Family man: Francona's dad throws out first pitch

CLEVELAND -- Three years after throwing an Opening Day ceremonial first pitch for his son's first game managing the Indians, Tito Francona did the honors again before Terry Francona's first postseason game after winning the division.

With his big left-handed windup, Tito Francona, who played outfield and first base for the Indians from 1959 to 1964, threw to bench coach Brad Mills with his son by his side before Game 1 of the American League Division Series vs. the Red Sox. Francona made sure to be well prepared before his first pitch.

"Yesterday, how many times did I throw the ball yesterday?" Francona said. "Probably about 30.

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"Last one was too short. Before I go out there, I'm going to get down here and throw a couple."

Terry Francona was all smiles as his father threw the first pitch and is enjoying his best season in four years managing the Indians, at 94-67.

"Yeah, I talk all the time about being here in Cleveland, it's about as close to a family feel you can get in a professional setting," Terry Francona said Wednesday. "And so it will be family. He's going to -- I'm going to walk him out to the mound, or he'll walk me out, and he's going to throw the pitch to Brad Mills, who is as close to family as you can get. So it will be a very special moment."

Tito Francona, who lives two hours away in New Brighton, Penn., was excited to be back at Progressive Field. He said he watches nearly every game on television and encouraged his son to join the Indians after his tenure managing the Red Sox from 2004-2011.

"I wanted him to come here," Francona said. "When he was done in Boston, he had a few offers before and called me. He said, 'What do you think?' I said, 'Terry, I'm going to tell you: Cleveland.' I always stay by the organization. From Day 1, they never change. I don't care who the owners are. Cleveland is the same team. If I were going to sign, I'd go there. I think he's happier here."

Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.