Tony Rasmus wanted his children to dream big. He wouldn't allow the naysayers who told him he was filling their heads with false hopes to deter them.
Now, two of his children, Colby and Cory, have reached their goal of playing in baseball's major leagues, and a third, Case, is in the St. Louis Cardinals' spring training camp.
"To be told by people from Little League on up that I was giving my kids false hopes always frustrated me," said Tony, the former Russell County High baseball coach. "To sit here today reassures me that you can still dream big, and if you set your mind to making those dreams come true, sometimes they will.
"So many parents try and squash their kid's dreams these days."
Never miss a local story.
Tony, who is now the head baseball coach at Florence (Ala.) High, had his dream of reaching professional baseball's highest level cut short by injury. He coached his two oldest sons, Colby and Cory, in Little League, guiding the Phenix City team to the 1999 United States championship at the Little League World Series.
He also coached those two as well as his other two sons, Cyle and Case in high school, where the Warriors won a state championship and were named national champion by Baseball America in 2005.
Colby, Cory and Case are at different stages of their careers.
Colby is heading into his fourth season with the Toronto Blue Jays after being traded during the 2011 season by the Cardinals.
Last month, he agreed to a one-year contract worth $7 million. He was having his best season yet in 2013 before a pair of injuries forced him to miss much of the last two months. Still, he finished with 22 homers.
Cory, who made his major league debut last season with the Atlanta Braves before being traded to the Los Angeles Angels, is fighting for a place in the Angels' bullpen.
He split time with the Angels and their Triple-A team last season. But he did pick up his first major league victory.
Meanwhile, this is Case's first invitation to a major league training camp. While he is not expected to make the Cardinals' opening-day roster, he is likely to start the season in Triple-A.
So there is a chance sometime this season that all three could be in the major leagues at the same time.
If that happens, it would be just the 16th trio of brothers to play in the major leagues, according to baseballalmanac.com. There was one family that had five, one that four and 13 that have had three.
The Rasmus family could have had four in the major leagues. Tony is convinced that Cyle could have made it as well.
"I expected that Colby, Cory, and Cyle would be there," Tony said. "Case really didn't care much about being great until he was a 10th-grade kid. Now since that time, Cyle has had some injuries that derailed his dreams of playing in the big leagues and Case has worked his tail off to be great.
"I'll tell you what, Case Rasmus has surprised me at every step of his journey in sports, so I'm not going to be the one to say he can't make it at this point. Obviously, he has had to overcome a bunch of obstacles, but each obstacle that arises he has kicked it down and just keeps on keeping on.
"I am definitely proud of all four of my kids. All four are super people first, but every one of them is a success story in their own right."
Kevin Price, 706-320-4493, Follow Kevin on Twitter@lesports and on Facebook at facebook.com/ledgerenquirersports