David Eckstein didn't bother asking his family if he should come home.

His father, Whitey, had a kidney transplant yesterday morning, the fourth family member to have one since 1988. David Eckstein's two sisters and one of his brothers already have had transplants, and two of David's nephews have signs of kidney disease.

"If I used it as any type of crutch, [my father] would be very disappointed," the Cardinals shortstop said. "That's why I'm not even flying home for the surgery. I have a job to do and he expects me to do that job."

The transplant surgery went well, and the new kidney began working as soon as it was hooked up, said Christine Eckstein, David's sister and a transplant recipient in 1991. The donor, family friend Lori Vaughan, could be released from the hospital as early as Sunday. Whitey might be home in a week.

Christine and Ken Eckstein had their transplants in July 1991, within four days of each other.

Whitey, 60, who has been undergoing dialysis since April 2003, ran for mayor of Sanford, Fla., earlier this year, narrowly losing in a March runoff.

"You don't tell us what we can't do," said Whitey's wife, Pat. "We just do it."

Look at David. At 5 feet 7, he's shorter than most clubhouse kids and already has been part of a World Series champion, the 2002 Angels.

-- From News Services

Whitey Eckstein, with sons Rick, left, and David, is the fourth family member to have kidney transplant surgery.