Earlier this week, I took a look at the top 15 NFL players that were better than their siblings. It wasn’t as hard to narrow down as sets of brothers in the NFL aren't as common as you might think. As for baseball, that’s an entirely different breed. According to the Baseball Almanac, there have been more than 350 (!!) pairs of brothers to play in Major League Baseball. Just like the NFL, there have been some impressive brother combinations that include Paul and Lloyd Waner, Phil and Joe Niekro and Jim and Gaylord Perry.
Then there are some guys who had their stats completely blown out of the water by their brothers and a lot of people forget they even made the MLB. Talent isn’t always passed down to the next generation equally (as evidenced by Hank Aaron XXIV in that one episode of Futurama). So who were these forgotten brothers that were overshadowed by some great careers out of their own family?
Let’s take a look at some of the all-time greats, many of whom are in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the brothers that you didn’t know they had. Here are the top 15 MLB players that were much better than their siblings.
15 Jose Canseco
Is he the most likeable person to ever play baseball? Not by a long shot. Was his career helped greatly by performance enhancing drugs? Most likely. Without a doubt, though, Jose Canseco had a much better baseball career than his twin brother, Ozzie. His stats are considered tainted, but Jose Canseco mashed 462 home runs while driving in 1,407 runs over his 17 seasons with seven different teams (most notably Oakland from 1985-1992, 1997).
Ozzie only sniffed the big leagues for a brief period, making his debut alongside his brother on the Athletics roster in 1990. Throughout three MLB seasons, Ozzie played in just 24 games and batted a paltry .200 with no home runs and just four RBIs. Ozzie has mostly been known for being Jose’s little brother and his troubles with the law that include getting into a fight at a nightclub and possessing steroids, showing the apple didn’t fall from the tree.
14 Steve Sax
Steve Sax was more than just one of the softball ringers brought in by Mr. Burns on The Simpsons (with Jose Canseco, no less), he was a pretty solid ballplayer throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. Sax came up with the Dodgers and then spent the final few seasons of his career with the Yankees, White Sox and Athletics. All in all, Sax finished with two World Series titles, a Silver Slugger and made five All-Star Game appearances.
The year after Sax made his debut, he played his first full season in 1982 when he won the National League Rookie of the Year award and his younger brother Dave Sax made the Dodgers roster the same season. Dave’s career would only last until 1987, as he spent much of the middle of his career in lower leagues. Dave played in 37 career MLB games, finishing with one home run and eight RBIs. His 16 hits are 1,933 less than Steve’s.
13 Joe Torre
Most younger baseball fans will likely remember Joe Torre as a manager as compared to a player, especially for his run with the New York Yankees from 1996 to 2007, in which he led the team to four World Series titles. Torre’s playing career was just as impressive as his managing career, as he made nine All-Star rosters, won the 1971 National League MVP award and even added a Gold Glove in there. Torre’s final line was a .297 average with 2,342 hits and 252 home runs.
Joe didn’t make his debut in the MLB until 1960 and his brother Frank had already been in the league for four years. By then, Frank Torre had already established himself as a decent role player with Milwaukee. However, Frank’s numbers would never come close as he was out of the league by 1963 after collecting just 404 hits and 13 home runs. It’s definitely the best lesser career on our list so far, but nothing compared to Joe’s.
12 Bill Dickey
Much like Joe Torre, Bill Dickey was at one time a manager of the New York Yankees, but he is known much more for his playing career (since he only managed 105 games). Dickey was one of the members of some of the greatest Yankees teams of all-time, as he was involved in eight World Series, winning seven. Dickey was named to 11 All-Star teams in his 17 year playing career, finishing with 202 home runs and a solid batting average of .313. Dickey had two brothers that played baseball, one of whom would reach the MLB.
That brother would be George Dickey, who made his debut seven years after his brother. George Dickey played for the Red Sox and White Sox, but had several seasons that were interrupted by World War II. Regardless, he would never play in more than 83 games in a season. George finished his career with a .204 average, hitting four home runs and 54 RBIs. He never made the All-Star Game, either.
11 Greg Maddux
Greg Maddux proved that you didn’t have to be a power pitcher to make it in the MLB, you just had to be deadly accurate and smart with your pitches. Maddux is considered one of the best in the modern era, playing for more than 20 years with the Cubs, Braves, Dodgers and Padres. Maddux would finish his career with eight All-Star appearances in addition to an astonishing four Cy Youngs and 18 Gold Gloves. In 2014, he was voted into the Hall of Fame.
Greg made his MLB debut in the same year as his brother Mike, who is actually five years older than Greg. While Greg has stayed away from baseball for the most part since retiring, Mike is still working as a pitching coach, having spent the last 13 years with the Brewers, Rangers and now Nationals. As for his playing career, Mike Maddux played for nine different teams, finishing with a record of 39-37 and a 4.05 ERA.
10 Vladimir Guerrero
Vladimir Guerrero was always the guy that could smash a baseball out of the park no matter where you pitched it. Guerrero spent 16 seasons in the MLB with the Expos and Angels most notably, ending his career with the Rangers and Orioles. Guerrero’s career numbers are impressive with a .318 batting average, 2,590 hits and 449 home runs. He was also named to nine All-Star Games, won eight Silver Sluggers and was the 2004 AL MVP with Anaheim.
The Guerrero brother that gets lost in the shuffle is Wilton Guerrero, whom a lot of people did not even know was Vladimir’s brother. Wilton played for four MLB teams from 1996 to 2004, never getting any of the accolades that his brother did. Perhaps that has to do with his numbers that would be considered replacement level, as he finished with 11 home runs and an on-base percentage of .308.
9 Trevor Hoffman
You know you made it as a reliever in the MLB when the league names the award after you for best reliever in the NL. That’s what happened to Trevor Hoffman, who spent 18 seasons in the league, with almost all of them coming with the San Diego Padres. Though his win-loss totals aren’t memorable (like most relievers), it was his 2.87 ERA, 1,133 strikeouts and 601 career saves that made him one of the best in the history of the closer position.
You might know Hoffman’s brother Glenn if you have been following the Dodgers or Padres over the past 17 years. Glenn has been on the coaching staff with the Padres since 2006 and was with the Dodgers from 1998 to 2005 before that. His managing career has already extended longer than his playing career, which spanned nine years. Glenn was a shortstop unlike his brother, but finished with 391 fewer runs batted in than his brother had saves.
8 Barry Larkin
If you find yourself at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, you will likely see the retired number 11 jersey honoring Barry Larkin, the long time shortstop for the Reds. Larkin is a 2012 Baseball Hall of Fame member that spent all 19 of his MLB seasons in Cincinnati, making an incredible 12 All-Star Games while winning the 1995 NL MVP Award. You probably already knew that Shane Larkin was Barry’s son, the former basketball player at the University of Miami.
What you might not have known was that Barry had a brother in the MLB named Stephen, who got to play with Barry on the infield in 1998. Unfortunately for Stephen, his MLB career would last just one game on September 27th of that year. Stephen made three plate appearances in that game, striking out once and collecting a base hit. A .333 batting average is nothing to scoff at, but that number is definitely misleading.
7 Tom Glavine
Along with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine was part of possibly the greatest one-two punch in a rotation during the modern era of baseball. Glavine played for the Braves and Mets for more than a total of 20 years, earning 10 All-Star nods and two NL Cy Young Awards. Not only did Maddux and Glavine both win over 300 games and multiple Cy Youngs, but they had something else in common, as they both have brothers named Mike that made the MLB.
Mike Glavine was a late round draft pick in 1995 by the Indians, but made his only appearances in the MLB with the Mets at the same time his brother was on the roster. Mike played in just five more games than Stephen Larkin, making seven career plate appearances. However, he would finish with the same amount of hits as Lark with a total of one, making his career batting average .143.
6 Eddie Murray
“Steady” Eddie Murray was one of the greatest baseball players throughout the 1980s and was in the league for 20 years, playing for five different teams. Murray is a member of the prestigious 500 home run club, finishing with 504 total and he also made the 3,000 hit club, clearing the benchmark by 255. Murray was a 2003 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee after his career saw him win head to eight All-Star teams and a trio of Gold Gloves.
Murray had a big family, with four brothers and five sisters, but only one of his brothers made the MLB. That brother was Rich Murray, who has mainly been forgotten in baseball history. Rich played in just two seasons (1980 and 1983), both with the Giants. In those two seasons, Rich played in 57 games, collecting exactly 500 fewer home runs than his brother, batting just .216.
5 Honus Wagner
Truth be told, none of us actually remember Honus Wagner’s baseball career, but we do know that he is one of the greatest baseball players of all-time thanks to historians. We also know that he is the man that is on the most expensive trading card ever put into circulation. The numbers speak for themselves as Wagner won eight batting titles in his career that spanned from 1897 to 1917 with Louisville and Pittsburgh, collecting 3,420 hits and an average of .328.
Honus’ brother, Butts (go ahead and get your giggles out of the way), is not anywhere close to being one of the most expensive baseball cards ever. Butts played in just one season (1898) with Washington and then Brooklyn. In that season, Butts made 74 appearances with 261 at-bats. It wasn’t an awful year as Butts hit 34 RBIs, but he batted just .226 and hit one home run. His name, though, definitely Hall of Fame worthy.
4 Christy Mathewson
Much like Honus Wagner, we have to depend on the baseball historians to tell us just how great Christy Mathewson was. Mathewson played for 16 seasons with the Giants before ending his career with the Reds in 1916. Mathewson’s numbers were phenomenal as a pitcher as his win-loss record finished at 373-188 and his ERA was 2.13. Mathewson also spent a couple of seasons as a manager before being sent overseas for World War I.
Mathewson was one of the first five Hall of Fame players and his win total has him tied for third all-time. As for his brother, Henry, he is tied for dead last with zero. Matthewson did, however, he did lose 187 fewer games than Christy, but he made just three pitching appearances. Henry’s career never took off,and unfortunately he passed away at the age of 30 after contracting tuberculosis. It was certainly a different era back then.
3 Cal Ripken, Jr.
Even if “The Iron Man’s” only accomplishment was playing in 2,632 consecutive games, it would still be a career for the ages that was probably worthy of the Hall of Fame. Ripken collected 3,184 career base hits and 431 home runs en route to 19 consecutive All-Star appearances and a pair of AL MVP Awards. Ripken finished with an amazing 98.53 percent of the vote when he was enshrined to the Hall of Fame in 2007, the fourth highest of all-time.
Cal’s younger brother, Billy, probably had the best career of any of the siblings on our list that didn’t meet their brother’s expectations. Billy was on an MLB roster every year from 1987 to 1998, playing for the Orioles, Rangers, Indians and Tigers. Billy had a decent career average at .247, but he only mashed 20 home runs and had 229 runs batted in, and he now works as an analyst just like his brother.
2 Tony Gwynn
Thankfully, we got to see the late Tony Gwynn get inducted into the Hall of Fame in the same year as Cal Ripken when they legends of the 1980s and 1990s went in together. Gwynn, like Ripken, spent his entire career with one team (San Diego) from 1982 to 2001. Gwynn’s career batting average of .338 was remarkable and it explains why he won eight batting titles and made 15 All-Star appearances. Gwynn also finished with just 47 fewer hits than Ripken to reach the 3,000 club.
A lot of the players on our list actually got to play with their brother at some point and Chris Gwynn is no exception, but he had to wait until his final season in the MLB. Chris played with the Dodgers (two stints) and the Royals from 1987 to 1995 before finishing his career alongside Tony in 1996. Chris had just 17 home runs and 118 runs batted in, but he did win a World Series and an Olympics silver medal in 1984 in Los Angeles.
1 Hank Aaron
Even though Barry Bonds set the career home run record, the steroid allegations have had a lot of people crediting Hank Aaron as the man who still holds the record with 755. Most assume he was purely a power hitter since Aaron slugged so many home runs, but he was still able to maintain a career batting average of more than .300 and he also knocked 3,771 hits and 2,297 runs batted in with Milwaukee (both the Braves and Brewers) from 1954 to 1976.
Hank and his brother, Tommie, have the career record for most home runs ever hit by brothers at 768. However, if you do the math, you would be able to find out that Tommie had just 13 home runs. He also finished with 3,555 hits less than Hank and was able to stick around baseball rosters between 1962 and 1971. Tommie did join the Braves coaching staff in 1978 until his death in 1984.
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