The father wanted Alex to play baseball, softball or basketball, not really soccer, he told Grant Magazine, the school magazine of Grant High School in Portland, Ore. But his daughter soon took to it, and Hairston did, too.
"After the first game, I brought her back to the house and I said, 'OK, this is what you need to do. It's all about scoring goals,'" Hairston told Grant Magazine. "So I set up a little net and all I did was teach her how to get the ball and kick it in the net."
If Hairston was partial to baseball and softball, that could be understood. Baseball, pro baseball especially, has been a part of his family for decades, from his grandfather to his cousins.
Hairston, while he played, never followed his other family members to the bigs. Hairston played four seasons, all in the minors.
Hairston's career began in 1989, signing with the White Sox as a free agent out of college. He graduated from Portland, Ore.'s Grant High School himself in 1985.
Hairston started with the White Sox in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He hit .213 over 22 games, stealing seven bases.
He moved to single-A South Bend for 1990. He hit .238 in 98 games that season. He went 0 for 1 in an August pinch-hitting appearance. He returned to South Bend and played at high-A Sarasota for 1991. He hit .201 over 75 games between them, ending his White Sox career.
Hairston then is recorded as returning five years later, in 1996, with the Yankees at single-A Greensboro. He hit .216 over 59 games, ending his playing career.
Hairston then soon returned to Oregon and raised four daughters with his wife Paige. Another soccer-playing daughter, Mady Hairston, has gone on to play at the University of Tennessee, where she continues in 2017.
The Hairston baseball family: Hairston's father, John Hairston, Sr., grandfather Sam Hairston (who coached at AA Birmingham in 1990), uncle Jerry Hairston, two cousins, Jerry Hairston, Jr., and Scott Hairston. All made the majors. Hairston's brother Jason Hairston also played, but never made the bigs.
- Grant Magazine, November 2015: Family First
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,605
Made the Majors:1,023-39.3%
Never Made Majors:1,582-60.7%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 424
10+ Seasons in the Minors:261