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Brothers In Baseball

Brothers In Baseball

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Brothers In Baseball

Länge:
484 Seiten
7 Stunden
Freigegeben:
Jun 17, 2019
ISBN:
9781940773971
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

The nepotism pipeline in major league baseball has been in operation since the first pitch was thrown in a professional baseball game, and it shows no sign of closing. For example, early in 2019 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio, the sons of former major leaguers and Hall of Famers Vladimir Guerrero and Craig Biggio, were recalled from the minors by the Toronto Blue Jays. So were Zach Plesac, the nephew of former big league pitcher Dan Plesac (Cleveland Indians), and Mike Yastrzemski, the grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yasztremski (San Francisco Giants).

Sons, nephews, grandsons: the list of major league baseball players related to one another is lengthy. But it can be extended to cousins, in-laws, step-brothers…They can all loosely be called "brothers"—even though the one mother-son pairing in this book is hard to fit into that category. There is another group not related by blood that can fall into the "brothers" category, e.g. umpires who were also players and two-way players who starred in other professional sports or in show business.

Regardless of their relationships these "brothers" have played a significant role in the history of major league baseball and created a rich collection of anecdotes ranging from humorous to tragic that have often gone unnoticed and unreported until now. The stories in this book bring to life the significant contributions those "brothers" have made to the history of major league baseball and suggest that there are more to come as the "Brothers" pipeline continues to operate.      

Freigegeben:
Jun 17, 2019
ISBN:
9781940773971
Format:
Buch

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Brothers In Baseball - Arthur G. Sharp

-Z-

Arthur G. Sharp

Copyright © 2018 Arthur G. Sharp

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ISBN: 9781940773964 (Paperback)

USBN:9781940773971 (E-Book)

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This book is a work of non-fiction. Unless otherwise noted, the author and the publisher make no explicit guarantees as to the accuracy of the information contained in this book. .

Due to the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for chem.

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Printed in the United States of America by History Publishing Company LLC, Palisades, NY

The son of a pro ballplayer is eight hundred times more likely to make the Majors than some other random kid. Jack Reacher, p. 57, The Affair (by Lee Child)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

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INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER

Crossing Paths

Why family relationships help—or don’t

Oh, Brother: The strange things that happen to families

Player and umpire

Two-sport (or more) stars

Two-Dimensional Players and umpires

Odd couples

Miscellaneous

Hanging up the uniform

APPENDICES:  THE LISTS

● Brothers

● Cousins

● Fathers and sons

● Grandfathers and grandsons

● Great Grandfathers and grandsons

● Uncles and nephews

● Three generations

● Pitchers and catchers

● In-laws

● Same teams, same time

● Sources and websites of interest

DEDICATION

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I dedicate this book to my three brothers, Terry, Duane, and Brian. Terry, Duane, and I played baseball in some form, e.g., Wiffle Ball® or softball, together for countless hours when we were younger, despite our age, physical and mental differences. Brian, sadly, was born with Down syndrome, but we played ball with him in spirit, if not in actuality.

Eventually, the ball playing stopped and life intervened. We all went to bat for our country. I spent four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. Terry and Duane both served in Vietnam with the U.S. Army. After they returned, we rarely got the opportunity to play baseball—or anything else—together.

Now, Terry and Brian are playing baseball on the big Diamond in the Sky. Duane and I are in the on-deck circle waiting to get into the game with them. But, for a brief period many years ago we were brothers on the base paths. This book is a tribute to those days when life was simpler—and to them.

Introduction

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I visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame for the first time in June 2007. My visit brought back some pleasant memories, especially those pertaining to my baseball playing days with my brothers and son. After all, one of the greatest thrills a boy—or a father, for that matter—can have is to play baseball (or softball) on the same team as his brother or son. I have had that pleasure. Granted, I did not play major league baseball with any of them. That did not diminish the elation.

No doubt fathers, brothers, uncles, nephews, and other relatives get a thrill at playing together or against one another in the major leagues, or making it to the bigs with or without their help. They have done so over the years in large numbers—and made themselves better players in the process.

Kyle Drabek acknowledged that he learned from the experiences of his father, Doug. According to a June 7, 2006 article in the Houston [TX] Chronicle regarding the influence his father had on his career, I think it's going to give me a little bit more of an advantage because he's been through everything. I know what to look out for because of him. 

Similarly, he described life with his father to an MLB.com reporter in an article published on September 13, 2010 as having a pitching coach who lives with you ... He taught me so much, not only about the physical part of the game but the mental part too.

Howard Johnson, who retired in 1995 after a 14-year major league career, signed a contract to play for the Rockland [NY] Boulders of the Independent Can-Am League in early September 2011 so he could have a catch with his son Glen in a professional baseball game.

As the fifty-year-old Johnson put it, This may be my last go 'round so it's a great opportunity to play in a professional game with my son, he said. How many fathers can do that?

The Boulders were scheduled to play the Newark Bears, for whom the Canseco twins had played years earlier, over the Labor Day weekend that year. This time the Bears did not have the Cansecos, but they had their own former major leaguers father-son duo. Tim Raines, Sr. was the manager and Tim Raines, Jr. was a player. 

The fact that two relatively obscure professional baseball teams had father-son teams, three of the four of whom had major league experience but still wanted to play with their fathers, epitomizes the importance of fraternal relationships in the sport—and life. That has not changed for eons.

When I was a kid back in the 1940s and 1950s, I lived and breathed baseball. So did just about every kid in our large neighborhood. That was before televisions became commonplace in every home and the Internet made information about everything that’s fit—or unfit—to print accessible instantly. (Well, it helped immeasurably as I did the research for this book). We didn’t have much to do then other than play baseball, in fact.

Our parents pushed us out the door when the sun came up and welcomed us home when it set. Of course, we were allowed—even encouraged—to stop in for lunch and supper with the family. (We only ate dinner on Sundays back then. We had supper the other six days.) Once the meal ended and the family scattered, we went back out.

Whoa! I can hear what some people are thinking: Your parents let you go out unsupervised? Few parents worried then about drugs, guns, gangs, or any of the other dangers that afflict contemporary youths so dramatically. And, we were hardly unsupervised.

Every parent on the block was effectively the parent of every kid on the block. We couldn’t make a move without someone seeing us. If that move in any way violated the norms of society—and we all knew what the norms were—someone would report it to our parents. We figured that as long as we kept playing baseball we couldn’t violate any norms, e.g., thou shalt not kill, covet, or steal—and stealing bases did not count. So, that is what we did, especially in the summer.

We used every vacant lot in the neighborhood for a ball field. That sometimes upset the neighbors whose houses became part of right field or whose windows became targets for errant (and sometimes intentional) line drives. There were kids who tried deliberately to hit those houses and windows. It was sort of like the old Abe Stark sign at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn that was a target for major league hitters.

The wording informed players if they hit it with a batted ball—and it was a considerable distance from the plate—they would win a free suit from Abe Stark’s clothing store. Hit Sign, Win Suit. Abe Stark. Brooklyn's Leading Clothier, the wording went. Hitting the sign was not easy. It was near the ground, and the batter had to hit it with a fly ball. Stark did not give away many free suits.

Well, there were no free suits for us if we hit a house or a window—not even a law suit. Neighbors understood that we were kids playing a game, and people were not lawsuit happy back then. If one of us hit a ball into a neighbor’s yard or house, we would summon our courage, approach the owner timidly, apologize, and try to repair any damage. That was the unwritten deal, and everyone lived up to it. Besides, it wasn’t like the baseballs we were using could crack a pane of glass most of the time.

We were ‘blue collar" kids. We didn’t have money to buy a new ball every time one went into a neighbor’s yard or a new bat every time one cracked. Every once in a while we chipped in and bought a new ball, only because there was nothing left but the air in the cork center of the old one. When the ball lost its shape, we used tape to keep it as close to round as we could. We used enough tape to keep Johnson & Johnson in business for years.

And bats? We could all be carpenters based on our experiences at driving nails into old bats to keep the splinters from becoming shards. The combination of taped baseballs and nailed bats was one of the reasons the neighbors’ houses and windows were safe. Even a solidly hit ball generally would not travel from the plate to second base without a hurricane-force tailwind to help it on its journey. That did not matter to us. As long as we had a field, a mound of tape that resembled a baseball, a piece of wood we could call a bat, and a modicum of daylight, we would play baseball.

Gradually, though, we grew older. A few of us grew distracted by other things...girls,

paper routes, girls, jobs, girls...the list expanded as we aged. Some of us graduated to actual leagues of one type or another. One of our friends, Terry Tata, the stepson of National League umpire Augie Guglielmo (brothers on the base paths exemplified), became a major league umpire. I played in every league I could. And, when I wasn’t playing on a real diamond somewhere, I was teaching my younger brothers to play.

Terry was only five years younger than me. The next one after him, Brian, was seven years younger. Unfortunately, Brian had Down syndrome and did not grasp the finer points of the game. We included him nonetheless. Then came the youngest, Duane, who was nine years younger than me. But, we did not let the age differences stop us.

I was determined to make baseball players out of them. That did not always set well with our mother, who seldom showed her displeasure with me—except when it came to the baseball teaching methods I employed.

I started playing "minor league’ Little League baseball when I was seven years old. The experience was a real eye opener for me. I developed my skills nicely, and I could not wait to share what I had learned with my brothers. I could not let them play in our sandlot games, but I could play Wiffle Ball® with them. As far as I was concerned, that ball with holes in it and the yellow bat designed to hit it were greater inventions than television.

We played for hours in the back yard as soon as they were able to hold a bat or throw a ball. First, it was Terry and me. I beat him game after game. I showed him no mercy. I was still five years older than him, and I intended to take advantage of my size, ability, and maturity to beat him—and Duane as well when he got old enough to take a beating. That drove Mom crazy. I remember one time in particular...well, I’ll let Duane tell it:

The time I remember you getting yelled at by Mom was when Terry and I played on the same team in the East End Community Club league. Terry was 12 and I was 8. He was the regular catcher and I was the tag-a-long."

"One night the regular pitcher was going to miss the game, and it had been decided beforehand that Terry would pitch and I would catch. You and he decided to give me a crash course in the backyard in the basics of catching. You were throwing fastballs to me. Being 17 years old—and 9 years older than me—you were throwing them pretty hard.

"One pitch caught me in the throat and Mom went off on you. It may not have made an impression on you, but it sure did on Terry. We played that night (and won)—and Terry didn't throw a single fastball. I guess that was because of fear of retribution. 

From that night on, I was always a catcher, and I never got out of the way of pitches or runners. That was also the night that Mom told me that if I got hurt catching that I couldn't come to her for sympathy, but she lied. I sprained my ankle and was crying like crazy later that night from the pain. (I had finished the game, though). She iced it down and held my hand, which was a better painkiller than anything available by prescription or over the counter today.

As Terry and I played Wiffle® Ball, I threw him fastballs, curve balls, knuckle balls...whatever pitch was possible with a Wiffle® Ball...as hard as I could. I knew he would have difficulty hitting it. It was a different story when I was up. I was not going to let a nine-year old strike me out. He tried. That was one thing about Terry. He could take a beating and come back for more. That was part of my grand design.

I figured that if I could beat him often enough and badly enough, he would learn to play

harder. That is what I tried to explain to my mother when she would yell at me for beating him so badly all the time.

It’s the only way he’s going to learn how to win and to develop his skills, I told her.

But he’s only a kid, she replied.

Kids have to learn the hard way, I said. Watch. Some day he will beat me.

That day came. I never kept track of how many games we played in that back yard (but I bet he did). The scores kept getting closer and closer. Terry finally beat me, fair and square. It was hard to tell who was the happiest, him or me. (It was me.) My mother didn’t seem to care. But she started caring when I used his victory as a graduation.   

I added Terry to the roster of a couple teams I played for. The plan was to use him only

when we needed a ninth player. That happened frequently. He ended up playing quite often with kids a few years older than him. Terry learned a lot about the game and how to compete.

Terry’s confidence level grew the more he played—and so did mine. We learned more than how to play baseball, however. We developed a closeness that eventually extended to Duane, as Terry employed the same tactics with him that I had used with Terry. The brother building had to end sometime.

Eventually, we went our separate ways. We were still brothers, and we shared brotherly things. But baseball was not among them. We often discussed our happy times playing baseball together. And, since we were all baseball fans, we fantasized what it would have been like to play in the major leagues together. We never found out—but almost 400 sets of brothers, 185 father-and son combinations, 15 grandfathers and grandsons, 74 uncles and nephews, 78 cousins, and other miscellaneous pairings listed at the back of this book have.

Chapter 1

Crossing Paths

When something offbeat happens in a major league baseball game, the chances are good that a brother is involved it.

On May 6, 2012, the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles played a marathon game that the Orioles won 9-6 when Adam Jones hit a three-run homer in the top of the seventeenth inning. It was the first time since 1925 that both teams used a position player as a pitcher.

The winning pitcher was Chris Davis, a first baseman by trade. The losing pitcher was Darnell McDonald, an outfielder. Strangely enough, his brother Donzell and his cousin James were both major leaguers—and pitchers! (We will identify brothers names throughout this book in bold print the first time they are mentioned. Similarly, we will identify Hall of Fame players with HOF.)

A year earlier, Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano won the 2011 Home Run Derby prior to the All-Star game at Phoenix, AZ. The pitcher was his father and former major league pitcher Jose Cano, who fed Robinson a steady stream of fast balls.

Stories like these abound. Nepotism? Favoritism? Or just family fun? Whatever it was, it was not unusual. Fathers and sons, brothers, uncles and nephews...all sorts of family relationships...have been a part of major league baseball since its inception, and they probably will be for a long time to come. It is astonishing to learn about the involvement of brothers on the base paths in some of the most historic events in major league history.

Professional baseball and family relationships go hand in hand—or glove in glove. Look through the player profiles at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York and you will see hundreds of family names. They include brothers, fathers and sons (and brothers), uncles and nephews (and brothers), step-sons, step-brothers, in-laws...the number of relationships on and off the field is amazing, considering the number of players who have made it to the major league.

Some relatives played against one another. Others played on the same team for at least parts of their careers. In a few cases, fathers managed their sons. In any case, it is eerie to note the numbers of times brothers on the base paths paths crossed in their careers.

The relationship among Johnnie B. Dusty Baker, Bobby and Barry Bonds, and Hank Aaron (HOF) demonstrates the circular nature of the game and highlights the brothers on the base paths phenomenon. Dusty Baker’s father coached Bonds' late father, Bobby, in little league baseball in Riverside, California, where Baker and Barry Bonds were born. When Baker broke into the major leagues with the Atlanta Braves in 1968, he already had a mentor, Hank Aaron, whose brother was also on the Atlanta roster.

Aaron mentored Baker closely for several years as they played side by side in the Atlanta outfield. Baker, who had a habit of packing entire good games into one inning, amassed some strange accomplishments. In a Braves vs. Astros game on September 20, 1972, he went two for three with a double, a three-run home run, and a ground-out—all in the second inning. The Braves scored thirteen runs in that inning en route to a 13-6 victory.

Just about five years later, on September 13, 1977, when Baker was with the Dodgers, he set a team record with five RBIs in one inning. Ironically, it was the second inning. A couple weeks later, On October 2, 1977, he set a distinction of another kind: he was involved in what is believed to be the first high five in baseball history.

In his final bat of the season, again against the Astros, Baker hit his 30th home run of the year. He became the fourth Dodger to hit 30 home runs that year, which made them the first team in major league history to feature 4 players with 30 or more home runs. The others were catcher Steve Garvey (33), outfielder Reggie Smith (32), and third baseman Ron Cey (30). As Baker crossed the plate after hitting his milestone home run, on-deck hitter Glenn Burke raised his hands. Baker did the same, and they slapped one another’s hands. Allegedly, that was the first high five ever.

One other game packed into an inning event involving Baker occurred on June 27, 1984, when Baker stole three bases in the third inning. This time, he was playing for the Giants. He stole second base innocuously. Then, after the next batter walked, he got caught in a run-down. He reached third base safely, which accounted for steal number two—and kept right on running. He was safe at home plate—steal number three. Remarkably, he stole only one more base all year! 

Once his playing days were over, Baker became a manager. One of the players he took under his proverbial wing was an already established star, Barry Bonds, who he managed for ten years with the San Francisco Giants. Hank Aaron held the major league record for most home runs in a career with 755, until Barry Bonds broke it on August 7, 2007, off Mike Bacsik of the Washington Nationals. That was just one example of a circle that remains unbroken, albeit it with a caveat.

Only 17,000 or so players have participated in major league baseball since its inception. So, it is not surprising that they crossed each other’s paths sometimes. But, as you read this book you may be amazed at how often a member (or more) of one group of brothers was on the field when another was involved in a strange or historic moment. That is the beauty of this narrative. It shows just how significant a role family relationships have played in the game throughout the years, and why it is likely to continue to do so.

Some of the brothers’ names in this book are familiar to baseball fans. Alou, Boyer, Cooper, Dean... Others may not be as well known. How many people will remember the Sauers or the Shantzes, for example? Or the Eliases, who were not players, but who have still made significant contributions to the game.

Al and Walter Elias established their Bureau of Statistics in 1913, and to this day professional baseball relies on The Elias Sports Bureau for statistics about even the most insignificant events in the game.

Concerning the players, some people may remember one member of a relationship, but not the other(s). That is because more often than not one was a more productive player. In a few instances, one member of the family was an outstanding player, e.g., an All-Star or a Hall of Famer, while another appeared just long enough for a cup of coffee and was gone, as in the case of Jimmy Westlake or Elvio Jimenez, both of whom played in one game in their careers—all that was needed to qualify them for this book. Occasionally, more than one member of a family would earn some distinction and endure for a real career.

Career: the word has no real meaning in major league baseball. As you thumb through the different categories in this book you will note that some people’s careers lasted for decades. Jim Kaat, for instance, pitched in the major leagues for parts of four decades. (He is not included in any of the categories, though, since he did not have any brothers in the major leagues—at least none that we can find.) Other players, by contrast, did not play four innings! Yet, their career statistics are listed in various baseball databases. Therefore, for purposes of this book, career is defined as an appearance in a database.

Career is not the only definition we are playing fast and loose with in this book. We are applying whole new meanings to the word brother. We are stepping outside the traditional primary definition of brother as a male having the same parents in common with one another. In fact, we are edging away from the secondary definition of One who shares a common ancestry, allegiance, character, or purpose with another or others.... That is because some of the categories are not strictly brothers—or sisters, for that matter.

What drives the contents of this book is the idea that brothers is an all-inclusive word that can mean so many things. Perhaps Sandy Amoros, the former Negro League and Brooklyn Dodgers’ outfielder, who is best known for his miracle catch in a 1955 World Series game that deprived Yogi Berra (HOF) of a three-run home run—and may have won the Series for the Dodgers—summed up the word best as it applies to baseball.

Amoros was talking about the Dodgers with author Peter Golenbock for the book BUMS: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Remember, now, that this was less than a decade after the Dodgers broke the color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson. Amoros said, We were brothers. We got along together. We always had this to help us win, playing together in friendship, united. Those words pretty much sum up the whole concept of Brothers on the base paths.

One final caveat: even though some of the comments included in the various sections of this book are sometimes presented in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, they are not intended to be snide, derogatory, insulting, condescending...or in any other way negative.

I am well aware of one fact that sometimes escapes fans of baseball or any other sport. The players who make it to the professional level have put a lot of time and effort into getting there. Fans do not have to work hard to enter a ball park and lambaste or laud the players for their performances. All they have to do is buy tickets and attend the game.

I salute the 17,000 or so players who have made it to the major league level, regardless of whether it was for one pitch or a Hall of Fame career. In either case, they made it to the top. The highest level I ever made it to was a regimental baseball team in a Marine Corps Base league.

In truth, I did not possess their skills, physical prowess—or dedication. I respect their signal accomplishments, and make my comments out of respect for their efforts.

And that is a positive thing.

Chapter 2

Why family relationships work—or don’t

Family relationships provide young players with several distinct advantages as they struggle to reach the major leagues and stay there. Among them are opportunity, exposure, and environment.

The odds against one player in a family making it to the major leagues are astronomical. The worldwide expansion of baseball has made them even higher as more players from different places across the globe are provided exposure to scouts via the Olympics, television, etc. Conversely, the odds grow better when a player has a connection, such as a father, brother, uncle, or other relative who has played in the major leagues.

As you peruse these pages you will notice how often brothers or fathers and sons played the same or complementary positions, such as shortstop and second base or pitcher and catcher. That is often because brother combinations were close enough in age to play together, but in slightly different positions, e.g., Cal Ripken, Jr. (HOF) at shortstop and brother Billy at second base—with their father as a manager—or Mort and Walker Cooper as a pitcher-catcher combination.

Or, fathers excelled at a particular position and taught their sons to play them as well, e.g., Fred Kendall and his son Jason as standout catchers. That is family influence in action, and baseball has benefited tremendously from the phenomena.

Another contributing factor to family influence is kids’ access to the major league environment. Many of them, such as Danilo Danny Tartabull and Shelley Duncan, followed their fathers, brothers, uncles, and other connections around practices, games, and clubhouses as soon as they could walk.

Ruben Amaro, Jr. was the Phillies batboy in 1980, the year they beat the Kansas City A’s in six games in the World Series. He was fifteen years old at the time, and on the verge of going to Stanford University. His father, who had played in the major leagues for eleven seasons, was a coach for the Phillies that year. The team included future Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton. (Schmidt was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1995; Carlton was elected in 1994.) That environment can be a great boon to a youngster aspiring for a baseball career of his own. And, for the most part, being a part of it is only a dream for most kids.

But, the opportunities kids like Danny Tartabull and Ruben Amaro had are helpful only if they take advantage of it. When they finally reach the major leagues (and not all of them do, or some do for a cup of coffee as a sort of courtesy and then fade in history), they are prepared for whatever happens.

Look at Duncan. He earned his way on to the Yankees 2007 post-season roster after a productive last half of the year following his mid-season call-up from Scranton of the Triple A International League (IL). Duncan knew something about what he was getting into. He was at the 1988 World Series between the A’s and the Cardinals, in which Kirk Gibson hit one of the most famous momentum-changing home runs in World Series history. That taught him what pressure is all about. At the time, his father, Dave, a former major league catcher and World Series veteran, was the A’s pitching coach.

Eight years after Gibson hit his memorable home run, Shelley Duncan attended the World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers, which the Cardinals won. Why? His brother Chris was playing in the Cardinals outfield.

Likewise, Jose Tartabull had a significant influence on his son Danny's career. Cuban-born Jose played 749 games in the major leagues between 1962 and 1970. He played in all seven games of the 1967 World Series with the Red Sox. Even though Danny was only five years old at the time, the experience had to be positive, as it was for other youngsters who had the chance to soak up the major league environment. It gave them a chance to take in the atmosphere and develop their own talents. Certainly, it did for Danny. He played in almost twice as many games as his father had (1,406), in thirteen different seasons, and outdid him in every major statistic.

A comparison of their lifetime records is revealing. Batting wise, Danny hit .273 vs. Jose’s .261. Danny hit 262 career home runs and drove in 925 runs, compared to Jose’s 2 and 107 respectively. In fact, Danny hit 2 home runs in his first 10 games in the majors, which was as many as Jose hit in his entire career. But, statistics do not tell the whole story.

Danny learned a great deal from his father and from being around major league baseball players for so many years. Such exposure can only be helpful to young players, and it gives them an advantage—however slight—over their counterparts who are struggling for one of only 750 positions available in the major leagues at any one time (30 teams at 25 players per team).

Now, let's get to the brothers.

Chapter 3

Oh, Brother: the strange things that happen to families

-A-

Hank and Tommy Aaron once held the major league record for most home runs by brothers, 768. Hank had 755; Tommy had thirteen. Hank was the last Negro League player to hold a regular position in major league baseball. He had played originally for the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro American League.

Hank should have been credited with 756 homers. He lost one in an August 18, 1965 game between the Braves and the Cardinals when he drove a pitch over the wall against Curt Simmons. Umpire Chris Pelekoudas decreed that Aaron had stepped out of the batter’s box when he hit the ball. No matter: the Braves won the game, 5-3. What’s one more home run in a career in which you hit 755?

Pelekoudas must have had something against brothers. He was the first umpire to eject Gaylord Perry (HOF) for using an illegal substance on the ball. To add insult to injury, after Pelekoudas retired he sent Perry a three-pound jar of Vaseline.

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Roberto (HOF) and Sandy Alomar Jr. were the brothers who have played together on the most different teams: the Padres, White Sox, and Indians.

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Merito Acosta was one of the players involved in a once in major league baseball history event. On August 22, 1915 the Senators scored a run without an official at bat. It happened in the second inning of a game versus the Tigers.

Lead-off hitter Chick Gandil (the same Chick Gandil suspended for life after the Chicago Black Sox affair in 1919) walked. So did the next batter, Acosta. Buff Williams sacrificed the runners to second and third, and Gandil scored on George McBride’s sacrifice fly.

Acosta fell asleep at second base, and the Tigers picked him off. That ended the inning. It was the first—and only—time that sequence of events has occurred in major league baseball history. The Senators won the game, 9-1.

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The Alous were the first brother trio to bat consecutively in one game. Jesus, Matty, and Felipe followed one another to the plate in the top of the eighth inning in a September 10, 1963 game between the Giants and the Mets, which the Mets won 4-2. All three made outs. The Alous went a combined 0 for 6 on the day.

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The Aragons are a great example of how misleading family records can be. Angel appeared in 32 games with the Yankees in 1914, 1916, and 1917. He hit .118 with no home runs and 5 RBIs. His son Jack got into one game with the Giants as a pinch-runner on August 13, 1941. A 28-year span, 33 games combined...but they are in the book.

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At the time of his retirement in 1971, Bob Aspromonte was the last active ex-Brooklyn Dodger. He had made only one appearance for them. As an 18-year-old in 1956, he struck out in his only at-bat. He was also the last original Houston Colt .45 when he left the team in 1968.

His brother Ken had three hits in a game five times in one season for the Washington Senators. Despite their mundane careers, Bob was involved in one of the strangest doubleheaders in baseball history.

April 27, 1974 must have been an unusual day in astrology. That is when many of the stars of the brothers group aligned and became involved in a weird doubleheader between the Royals and the Indians. We will put it in the Aspromonte write-up only because he is first alphabetically.

The first bizarre event occurred in game one when George Brett (HOF) struck out—or didn’t. Brett had two strikes on him when he fouled a pitch off his foot. Indians catcher Dave Duncan picked the ball up and threw to first. Umpire Jim Odom called Brett out.

Brett demurred—so violently that the umpires ejected him. Anybody who remembers the Pine Tar incident knows that Brett would not go quietly. He didn’t, but he received some vindication. (If you don’t remember the Pine Tar incident, you can read about it in Brett’s story.)

The umpires got together and decided that they had blown the call—but not the ejection. They overruled the third strike call and declared that Brett had indeed fouled the pitch off. But, they said, the ejection stands. Brett was banished to the clubhouse, where he joined Kansas City coach Bob Aspromonte.

Odom had banished Aspromonte earlier for protesting his call that Hal McRae had interfered with Duncan on a throw to the plate. On that same play, Umpire Dave Phillips had tossed Indians coach Larry Doby for arguing. Somebody had to be right, if coaches for both teams were ejected. About the only person in all the brothers who was right that day was Hal McRae.

McRae had six extra base hits in the doubleheader: 5 doubles and 1 home run. That tied a major league record. He drove in six runs in the two games, which the teams split. Rico Carty had four hits for the Indians in the first game. And what did Brett’s pinch-hitter do after he was tossed?

The pinch-hitter, John Mayberry, struck out. If the umpires had listened to Odom in the first place, the bizarre turn of events could have been avoided, and the stars would not have been out of alignment—that day, at least.

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-B-

Jim Bailey pitched 11.2 innings with the Cincinnati Reds in 1959, with an 0-1 record. That was his total major league career. His

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