A Colorado Rockies pitcher and his family’s presidential lore
By Kevin Henry
Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Tyler Kinley has a connection to the Oval Office. Well, maybe not the current President of the United States, but rather one of his predecessors.
Take a look at Tyler Kinley‘s last name. According to stories that have been passed down through the years within his family, Kinley’s last name became Kinley not long after the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901.
So what’s the connection? Let’s try to connect the dots.
On September 6, 1901, McKinley, the 25th president of the United States, was shot at close range by self-described anarchist Leon Czolgosz, despite extra security being added to the meet-and-greet event that the president attended in conjunction with the Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo, N.Y. McKinley would die from the wounds eight days later.
Fearing that anarchists might target the rest of the family, a way to keep the president’s loved ones out of the spotlight was reportedly devised.
“We were told that his son was advised from Secret Service and protective companies that were protecting him after his father was assassinated that he needed to do something to protect the family line,” Kinley told me in a recent interview. “And the best recommendation was to alter the name a little bit and that’s where that new Kinley line started.”
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Now, like all great family stories, there is a bit of mystery surrounding the tale. The story went public when the PR team for the Minnesota Twins asked Kinley if he had any interesting factoids to share about himself before his Major League debut against the Seattle Mariners on April 7, 2018.
“We were always told that as kids that we were related to President McKinley,” said Kinley, who was claimed by Colorado in December off waivers from the Miami Marlins. “When I was with Minnesota, their PR guy was looking for some interesting facts. When we asked me, I was like, ‘Maybe this is interesting, I don’t know. It’s kind of kind of something we were always told but never really fact-checked it.’
“So then my brother and I, we kind of laughed. We’re like, well, you know if that was an old wives’ tale from the family line, eventually somebody will be able to prove us wrong. But, you know, since then, nobody has said otherwise so we’re continuing the story that we’ve been told.”
Stories passed down through generations are often the fabric that ties families together. In a season unlike any other, Kinley has a story (courtesy of his family) to share unlike any other.