In a sport with as much of a storied history as baseball has, it is to be expected that many pairs of siblings have taken the field at the pro level. We certainly know of some notable examples, but often times one of the brothers takes precedent above the other in terms of fan appreciation. It's difficult enough for one player to succeed at the Major League level, and having two people in the same family do it is simply not a likely outcome. There are noted scenarios in which a pair of brothers are both at least productive at the pro level, but they're almost never both superstars.
In the same breath, we can also observe brothers of a Major League star who shouldn't even be on the field. One of the perks of having your brother play pro baseball at a high level, is that it almost guarantees you a shot at the big leagues at some point in your career, whether it is deserved or not. Let's take a look at some notable MLB sibling names who fall into both categories.
Ranked below are 8 MLB brothers who were better than their sibling, and 7 who should have never set foot on the diamond.
15 Yadier Molina (Better)
Everyone knows that the Molinas are the greatest family of catchers to have ever graced a Major League field. All three, Jose, Benji and Yadier, have performed at a high level for years now, and they have been some of the best defensive players of their era. However, still going strong with the Cardinals in his 14th season, Yadier takes the cake as the best of the bunch.
An elite defensive catcher, and also handy with the bat, Molina is one of the most recognizable Cardinals of the past 20 years. He's been invaluable to them on numerous playoff runs, and has established a presence behind the plate that has aided just about every pitcher to come through their ranks. He edges out his brothers as the better player, and is simply one of the best players at his position of all-time.
14 Ron Allen (Worse)
Richie (later on Dick) Allen was one of the most popular players of the 1960s for the Phillies, and one of the first modern power hitters, in every way. That skill didn't translate to his brother Ron, however, and he only spent a single season in the majors for the Cardinals, making 14 total plate appearances. That's hardly an example of living up to the family name.
While Richie would go on to cement himself as one of the most feared hitters of his time, and become one of the most underrated players ever, Ron barely even made it to the batter's box at the pro level. It was ultimately a failed effort, and he was never cut out to play at such a high level.
13 Joe DiMaggio (Better)
One of the most notable players of baseball's past, DiMaggio represented an era of the game that has become a piece of American folklore. While it was Joe who gets most of the accolades from the press, and deservedly so, his brother Dom was almost as productive as he was for the Boston Red Sox. He didn't put up quite the earth-shattering production that Joe did, but he was very good all the same, and had a long career.
But Joe was something else entirely. With a 56-game hitting streak to his credit (a record that many believe will never be broken), he cemented himself in Yankees history as one of their best hitters. That's no faint praise, and had he not lost three years of his career due to military service in World War II, the numbers would have been even more impressive.
12 Tommie Aaron (Worse)
It's tough be the brother of the 2nd greatest (and arguably THE greatest) home-run hitter of all-time, but someone had to do it. The issue was, despite ample opportunity at the Major League level, Tommie Aaron just wasn't very good, and that's before you even consider that his brother was Hammerin' Hank.
The home run production obviously wasn't there (as it wouldn't be with just about everyone else), but neither was any other statistical category. Tommie flubbed his was through seven big-league seasons, and never made any kind of an impact in any of them. There's no doubt that Hank likely gave him a leg up, but Tommie wasn't able to do anything with the opportunity. His brother is the only Aaron you need pay attention to. But thankfully, Hank's efforts were enough to carry the entire family.
11 Roberto Alomar (Better)
Simply one of the best second-basemen of the '90s, Alomar defined the position during that era, and was one of the best all-around players we've ever seen. Brother Sandy was a very solid catcher, and a key piece to some very good Indians teams in the '90s, but Roberto was just an elite player for so many years that he gets the edge, ever so slightly.
In his prime, Roberto was a five-tool player who was a threat every time he was on the field. There wasn't a better player at his position in the league, and he made a bevy of All-Star games. Truly one of the most defining players of the '90s, and a massive contributor on just about every team he played on. The Alomar legacy goes back many years, but Roberto was the best of the bunch.
10 Jeremy Giambi (Worse)
It was night and day between the Giambi brothers in terms of the quality of their big-league careers. Jason was one of the best power-hitters of his era, despite his PED use, and Jeremy was nothing more than a JAG player who could barely hold a starting job on any team he was on. He had the odd promising season, but nothing more.
His career fizzled out early, and he retired well before the age of 30. Jeremy just couldn't live up to the level of play that Jason exhibited; with a complete lack of power, and middling skill at every other aspect of the game, he was nothing more than dead weight. When it got to the point where he was on his 3rd team in 3 years, he hung up the cleats as a member of the Red Sox. Jason would have his own difficulties, but on the field he was far and away the better player.
9 Gaylord Perry (Better)
Both Gaylord and Jim Perry were phenomenal MLB pitchers, and some of the best that their era had to offer. It was the former, however, who established himself in the record books with 300-plus wins, and a multiple 20-game winner during his storied career. A practitioner of the outlawed "spitball," Perry was almost un-hittable in his prime, and went on to terrorize hitters for years.
While Jim got over a very impressive 200 wins at the MLB level, it was Gaylord who was truly unstoppable. He spent many seasons on multiple teams, and played at a high level on most of them. The brothers were some of the most exemplary pitchers of their time, but it's Gaylord that gets the edge slightly. Not only for the massive amount of wins, but also because he went almost his entire career without being reprimanded for throwing an illegal pitch.
8 Larry Yount (Worse)
In contrast to his brother Robin, an All-Star with the Brewers for nearly two decades, Larry Yount the definition of a fringe MLB player. He appeared in just a single game in his pro career with the Astros, and made zero impact at the highest level. In his only game appearance, he was injured during his warm-up pitches, so he never actually faced a batter.
Younger brother Robin only went on to be one of the best hitters of his era, and one of the most beloved Brewers of all-time. Unfortunately for Larry, the pro-level talent in the family only translated to his brother, and not to him. Still, most people never get to be active on an MLB roster, so that's something that he can hang his hat on.
7 Greg Maddux (Better)
Nobody painted the corners of the plate in better fashion than Maddux did during his career. The former Brave was simply dominating with his control of the strike zone, and was able to be an elite pitcher, despite the fact that he didn't throw a blazing fastball. There aren't many better pitchers of the 90s, and he was truly a Hall Of Fame-level talent.
Brother Mike Maddux wasn't a bad pitcher in his own right, though he certainly had no chance of reaching the heights that Greg did. Though he was a journeyman pitcher for most of his career, serving time on a plethora of different teams, he was a solid arm to have in the rotation, and definitely wasn't a bust like so many others. Second-place in the family isn't bad, considering it was one of the greatest pitchers of all-time in Greg.
6 Billy Ripken (Worse)
Compared to Cal, Billy Ripken was more of a punch line than anything else. If you took his brother, and removed the longevity, talent and class then you would come up with something that looked like Billy. He was a marginal player at his absolute best, and likely only got his start because of Cal to begin with, considering he joined the Orioles main roster when Cal was already established with the team.
Nothing stood out about his game, and as a result he bounced around the league a ton when Baltimore eventually gave him the axe. Considering that Billy was more renowned for writing an expletive on the knob of his bat for his baseball card picture rather than his ability on the field, it's fair to call him a bust who couldn't live up to the heights that his brother reached.
5 Phil Niekro (Better)
Both Phil and Joe were great MLB pitchers, but Phil's knuckleball is what put his game over the edge, and made him notch 300-plus wins in his career. Considering the fact that he pitched until he was nearly 50-years-old, it was the culmination of a career that was going to go down in history anyway.
His brother Joe was a very accomplished pitcher in his own right. He never hit the 300-win mark, but he had a ton of great seasons for the Astros in the '70s and '80s. Phil gets the nod as the better pitcher for his entire career, but his brother was no slouch, to his credit. Joe also once got thrown out of a game for using a scuff board to doctor the baseball, which is also awesome.
4 Rich Murray (Worse)
The brother of Eddie Murray, and a player that was roughly 100 times less effective than he was. Rich only played in two MLB seasons for the Giants, and never made an impact on the field. At least he wasn't a product of his brother lobbying to get him on an MLB roster, as has been the case with some other players. Eddie was a member of the Orioles at the time.
This is a fair trade-off for the Murray family, considering that Eddie was one of the better hitters of his generation, and in recent times has been somewhat underrated when the discussion of best players from the '80s and '90s arises. Rich may have been a no-name MLB player, but at least he got out of the sport relatively quickly.
3 Pedro Martinez (Better)
Everyone talks so much about Pedro, and for good reason, but his brother Ramon was also an upper-tier pitcher for many years. Still, Pedro reigns supreme in this family, and he was flat-out dynamic when he came onto the scene in the '90s. In his prime, he was almost unhittable, in an era that had some truly astounding pitchers.
At both of their peaks, they were somewhat comparable, but Ramon's prime just lasted for a shorter amount of time. A great pitcher all the same though, and the Dodgers' top arm for a few years. Still, as expected, Pedro was the better of the Martinez brothers, but then again, he was better than 99% of other pitchers in baseball at the time as well.
2 Stephen Larkin (Worse)
Somehow, Barry Larkin was able to get his brother a temporary spot on the Reds' roster. As it turned out, there was a reason that he (likely) had to lobby for him; because Stephen Larkin wasn't 1/100th as good at baseball as Barry was. Larkin played in a single game, and got 3 at-bats during his time when Barry threw him a bone, and somehow got him on his roster.
I guess that's what happens when you're one of the best second-basemen of your era; you can pull some strings. In Barry's case, that's probably exactly what he did, and was able to get his far-less-talented brother on the Cincinnati main roster in order to play in just one game as a novelty. Some players have all the luck.
1 George Brett (Better)
Ken Brett was a very solid pitcher for the better part of 15 years in the majors, but he just couldn't hold a candle to his brother George, and not many could have. George Brett is simply one of the greatest hitters in the history of the league, and a staple of the Royals' roster for 20 years. A genuine Hall Of Fame player without any debate, he's almost unparalleled when it comes to hitters in his era.
So while Ken put in over a decade of generally solid work as an MLB pitcher, that can't hope to compare to his brother's resume. Even though many people have the sole image of him flipping out at umpires for calling him out because he used too much pine tar, the reality is that George was one of the greatest players in history. Of course he beats out his brother Ken, and just about any other player of his generation.
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