Don Money says his name and right away people know he comes from a baseball family.
The Vineland High School baseball standout is the grandson of Don Money, who lives in Vineland and played 16 years in the major leagues. The elder Money made his debut for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1968 but was four-time All Star for the Milwaukee Brewers.
And though he retired in 1983, many local fans still remember Money, who hit the first home run in Veterans Stadium history on April 10, 1971.
"I get it all the time," the younger Money said. "People ask me if it was my dad (that played for the Phillies and Brewers), but I'm like, 'No, it was my grandfather.' It's cool to have the name recognized and just having the last name Money is pretty cool."
The younger Money is carrying on the family's baseball tradition. The pitcher/shortstop has sparked the Fighting Clan to a 14-4 record and a spot in this weekend's prestigious Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic, which features 16 of South Jersey's top teams.
Vineland will play Northern Burlington in a first round game at 1 p.m. Saturday at Deptford. The tournament is named after Hartmann, the former coach of Eastern and a fixture on the South Jersey baseball scene. This is Vineland's first Classic appearance since 2008.
Money describes himself as a pitcher who plays shortstop. The senior is 5-0 with a 1.91 ERA. Money hits third in the Fighting Clan lineup and is batting .393 with 16 RBIs.
Money's father also is named Don. Money's grandfather attends his games and gives him pointers.
Money, 18, plans to continue his baseball career at Cumberland County Community College. He also played sweeper for the Vineland soccer team last fall.
In a telephone interview Tuesday, Money spoke about a number of topics, including meeting major-league players and why he likes to play soccer.
On how he started playing baseball: I probably started when I was 3 years old. I (was so little) I couldn't run the bases by myself. I just didn't want to run by myself.
On his grandfather's major-league career: I was very aware of it growing up. It's kind of a little bit of pressure because you want to live up to it. But its nice having him around because he can show you things other people can't because of his experience.
On his grandfather's access to major-league players: When the Phillies played the Brewers (in the 2008 playoffs), he took me into the clubhouse to meet the players. I met Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. It was pretty cool.
On getting to play in the Diamond Classic: We're happy. We set making the tournament as a goal before the season started. We're going to try to do our best to try and win it.
On the relationships and chemistry he and his teammates have developed: It's the biggest part of our success. We've been playing baseball together since T-ball. We're best friends.
On playing soccer: It's nice to get away from baseball and go play a different sport. There's definitely less pressure. It's not like you're up to bat and you have to drive in runs.
On what it's like to attend Vineland: It's a great experience. You meet new kids every day. There are tons of classes you can take. Vineland gives you opportunities.
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