About ten years ago I was at a party in Florida visiting my college roommate, who was working for a prestigious law firm in South Florida. One day while visiting my friend at work I met Cecil Fielder. I was like a kid in a candy store as the man I referred to as Heavy “C” shook my hand, signed a hat for me, and just gleamed from ear to ear the whole time he was in the room.
What I didn’t know at the time was that Cecil was going through financial problems. He was working through a divorce, and his life was crumbling right before everyone’s eyes. One thing about it though - you would have never known it talking to Cecil. He wasn’t asking for anything, and all he talked about was how proud he was of his son who was making his way into baseball. I hadn’t heard much about the young Prince Fielder, but Cecil was sure to let everyone know that his son was legit and that he would soon break into the major leagues.
Sure enough Cecil was right. The next year, Prince Fielder broke through and never looked back. It just happens that I saw an interview from Cecil again in 2007. The reporter giving the interview asked him, “Cecil, you have to be very proud of yours son?” He looked distraught. Cecil said that he and his son weren’t on speaking terms anymore, but he wished him well. This bothered me. How can a man who loved his child as much as Cecil did become such a villain to his son in such a short time?
In my mind, two years ago Cecil was bragging about how he was paying for trainers to come visit his son five to six days a week to help him fight his obese figure. What I didn’t know is that the rift in the Fielder family came when Cecil and his wife were arguing about Cecil taking ten percent of his son’s signing bonus when he was drafted in 2002. Cecil claims that he was owed that money since he was acting as his son’s agent.
Money is a funny thing. It has no relatives. Money makes people do things that they regret and can divide a family like no other.
This is what I do know. In 2008, Prince started breaking out as a player and it was a good time to open up dialogue about his father. Instead he took the route of saying that I no longer want to be in his shadow; I want to shape my own identity. Then in 2009, when he won the home run derby, there was no mention of his father. Then there was the MVP of the 2011 all star game and still no mention of his father.
From what I have been told, he will not do any interviews now if his father is going to be mentioned. That is sad. Didn’t he learn anything from Robinson Cano, who had his dad throwing out pitches for his home run performances? Doesn’t he know how much better they could market themselves as the Fielder package?
The Detroit Tigers coveted young Prince since the days when he was twelve years old and hitting bombs for the Tigers. The Tigers recognize the impact that Cecil had on the ball club, and now they have added Prince to produce similar numbers. The Tigers paid handsomely to get Prince in a market that he wasn't really that in demand. Now that things have gone full circle, it's ironic that Prince is now the king of the city that his father dominated. As much as he tries to escape his father's shadow, the more he gets swallowed up in it. If they do finally reunite, they win as a family, and the Tigers will win financially. Father and son day at the ball park takes on a whole new meaning in this situation.
My dad was a deadbeat, but I never once declined him the opportunity to be a part of my life. He just chose not to be there. There is no way in hell though if he wanted to that I wouldn’t have let him. There is also no way in hell that I would deny my children the chance to know their grandfather. TO EACH HIS OWN, but what I do know is that nobody wins in this situation.
Stay Breezy ~ I’m Out!
Other pages you may enjoy:
Cecil came and had dinner with us in Maryland, broke bread with us, and told us that our son needed to be in Georgia. We moved here, and played with his old team the Knockhouse. He was dismissed from the team...nowhere to be found. He said that he would meet our son at the airport, and that he could stay with him, not true that never happened. I wrote a book call "Not Just A Game" on Amazon.com and my publicist called to see if he wanted to say something, Cecil told her that he didn't know the boy. Wow! He came to dinner at our house in Maryland, Perez went to his camp for the weekend, we went to his hotel, he signed a ball & a picture of himself for him, took pictures with my son, his friends, and the entire family. Say what? I find it all hard to believe, we do not want anything to do with him, we cannot blame poor Prince. Cecil I have only one thing to say to you, until you do right by your son and others, nothing good will ever come to you.
The truth is that none of us really know what happened between the two, so to speculate and place blame on either is WRONG. But think about some of the points made in the article. Cecil was bragging about how he paid for trainers to come and help his obese son slim down? If you are Prince, why would you want anyone to know you were obese as a child? And if you are Cecil, if you are truly in it for Prince, you wouldn't brag about that. It's like you are taking all the credit for him becoming a stud. Also, if you are Prince, would you really want to talk about your father when you are not on good terms? He is doing the honorable thing by refusing interviews that discuss him.
JOE..Now that was a GOOD ONE! VERY GOOD! Young Prince will realize when he gets older. That 10% of Money..it wasn't worth the time missed. Only when he gets Older though.
My bad for all the typos my phone won't let me be great.
Auto-correct messes with me on a daily basis. I feel your pain.
Dope post, I wonder what Cecil did or didn't do but Prince has to understand that his father gave up opportunities that most of us didn't get as a child. My pop.was there but we wasn't ballin but he gave me life lessons I didn't have to learn in the street that weds priceless. He should work it out because life is too short , if anything bad happened to Cecil he would live with the I wish.this and I wish that thing.
Really powerful piece. As someone who grew up with a great father, a father I am still really close with, I can't relate to the fielders. I do agree to each their own, as joe pointed out, but I can't help but feel sad at the same time. Not only would he fielders coming together be great for baseball, it would be great for a talented baseball family. At the end of they day, we're all nothing without our friends & family
I agree, Joe. This is very sad. Prince is lucky to have had a father be there for him and to teach him everything he knew. It's very unfortunate that he let money come between him and his father. I don't know how things went down in their family. Did Cecil just take the money without him knowing and he found out later? If so, I could understand Prince being mad about that but to cause the rift that it's caused is just unthinkable to me.
I too grew up without a father and he died before there could be any type of reconciliation. And while I've made peace with the whole situation, part of me will always wish that there could've been some type of reconciliation. I sincerely hope this doesn't happen to Prince. It's not the way it's supposed to be.
Great piece, Joe.
Thanks KT. This reunion could have so much magic. A real feel good story. I hope it works out before either side regrets not making it right.
This is sad. Money will divide any group of people regardless of the amount. As much as Cecil invested in his son, he should be happy that his father blessed him with the things he needed to get his success.
I hope things work out before they are too late.
I think there's plenty that we just don't know. What's crazy is that Prince is now in Detroit, of all places, where pops is a legend. Cecil's been beloved, and I think we want to love Prince. We've seen him since he was the little homie, it "feels like" we know him.
Yeah man.. it's like he grew up with us.
Players must be 21 years of age or older or reach the minimum age for gambling in their respective state and located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. Please play responsibly. Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, and wants help, call or visit: (a) the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey at 1-800-Gambler or www.800gambler.org; or (b) Gamblers Anonymous at 855-2-CALL-GA or www.gamblersanonymous.org.
This site is using Cloudflare and adheres to the Google Safe Browsing Program. We adapted Google's Privacy Guidelines to keep your data safe at all times.