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Why Lucas Giolito might be most interesting man on Red Sox

Why Lucas Giolito might be most interesting man on Red Sox originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Lucas Giolito grew up in Santa Monica, and the kids who rang his doorbell one Halloween received an unexpected treat from the future big-leaguer: the latest Madden game.

Young Lucas had raided a supply closet at Electronic Arts, where his father was a producer. "It was a pretty good Halloween," he recalled. "I made a lot of friends that night."

If it sounds like Giolito had a fascinating childhood, the dad who made video games isn't even the half of it. His family, with roots in New England, has extensive ties to the entertainment industry that include a grandfather who played a recurring role on Seinfeld, a mother who starred on Broadway, in soap operas, and in movies, an uncle who co-wrote Twin Peaks, and a brother who's an actor today.

Lucas is the only baseball player of the bunch, but as he embarks on his first season with the Red Sox, perhaps it's fitting that a Netflix documentary crew will be chronicling the season.

"It's a fun connection," the 6-foot-6 right-hander said. "There should be some cool stuff in store with that. I'm a fan of what those guys have done. I've watched Drive to Survive and some of the other series. So when I heard about it, I was definitely excited at the opportunity, maybe flex that muscle a little bit. I might get some pointers from my mom and my brother, too."

Giolito is the rare pro athlete whose parents were actors. The Hollywood link traces to his grandfather, Warren Frost, who was born in Newburyport, grew up in Vermont, and spent most of his career serving as an acting coach and artistic director in Minnesota before he retired. His son, Mark, then sparked a second career by casting him as Dr. Will Hayward in Twin Peaks, the cult classic TV series co-created by Oscar-nominated filmmaker David Lynch.

Frost parlayed that stint into a lengthy run on the legal drama Matlock, which in turn led to his most famous role, as Henry Ross, the father of George's doomed fiancé on Seinfeld. Frost only appeared in five episodes, but they were memorable for his confrontations with Jason Alexander's misanthropic son-in-law-that-wasn't.

"He had a few cool storylines during the course of the show," Giolito said.

FT. MYERS, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 15: Lucas Giolito #54 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during live batting practice during a spring training team workout on February 15, 2024 at jetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
FT. MYERS, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 15: Lucas Giolito #54 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during live batting practice during a spring training team workout on February 15, 2024 at jetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Frost's daughter and Giolito's mom, Lindsay, followed her dad into acting, making her debut in a 1983 episode of Hill Street Blues. She went on to star in As the World Turns for five years, appearing in over 130 episodes. She worked steadily through the 1990s and early 2000s with credits in shows and movies ranging from The Ring to Frasier to Lost, before retiring and becoming a full-time artist in Southern California, where many of her paintings have a baseball theme.

"My mom was on Broadway," Giolito said. "She was on a soap opera for a long time and then did movies and television for a while. I remember going to soundstages and stuff when I was a kid with her. It was sick. I was living in LA, kind of getting that full Hollywood experience when I was just a little kid, but I was actually more interested in what my dad was doing."

That's because Rick Giolito lived every boy's dream job as a videogame producer and designer. Among his most notable titles were 1999's Knockout Kings, a boxing game for the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 that let players fight as all-time greats like Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Oscar De La Hoya, and the award-winning Medal of Honor series set in World War II and created by legendary director Steven Spielberg.

"I would go in and play builds early on, that was always cool for me," Giolito said. "The art's not even on, just placeholder polygons, stuff like that. I would go in with the testers in the testing room. That's a hard job. I don't know how they do it. You play the same level for like eight hours straight, just looking for bugs and things like that. But as a kid I was fascinated by it all. I still am."

Giolito never caught the acting bug, but he found another path to the spotlight as a pitcher at powerhouse Harvard-Westlake, where his high school rotation included future big leaguers Jack Flaherty and Max Fried.

A first-round pick of the Nationals in 2012, Giolito was eventually shipped to the White Sox, making an All-Star team in 2019. After a couple of down years, he's hoping to resurrect his career with the Red Sox – who just happened to be his late grandfather's favorite team.

"I'm the first player in my family, but it's really cool, actually kind of a full-circle moment, being in this organization," Giolito said. "My mom's side of the family is all from the New England area. And my grandfather Warren was like the biggest Red Sox fan ever. Even though he's not with us anymore, he's probably looking down like, yeah, this is pretty cool."