So Jose Canseco got caught trying to pull a fast one on a boxing promoter. Like many identical twins have done before, he and his brother, Ozzie, attempted to pull the ‘ol switcheroo. This time, it involved Ozzie fighting in Jose’s place in a boxing match. Just one problem … Jose has a tattoo on his right arm and Ozzie doesn’t. (Oops!) The Brothers Canseco are of the most successful brother home run duos in Major League history with 462 home runs – however 462 of those belong to Jose. So I got thinking of some of the less heralded brothers in Major League history:
Tommie Aaron – Everyone knows his older brother, Hank, whose 755 home runs puts him on top of the Non-Performance-Enhancing Career Home Run List. But few know of the additional 13 home runs Tommie added to the family total, making them the highest home run hitting brother combo in Major League history. The brothers actually played together during 7 seasons with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves between 1962 and 1971. Tommie, primarily a first baseman and left fielder, saw significant time only really during his rookie season, where he played 141 games, but only mustered 8 home runs, 38 RBIs, and a .231 batting average. But Tommie did make a name for himself in the minor leagues as the 1967 International League MVP, while playing for the Braves’ Richmond farm team (who also now gives the Tommie Aaron Memorial Award each year to its team MVP). He also saw time in the Braves organization as a minor league manager and a Major League coach in the ’70s and ’80s right up until his death, in 1984, from leukemia.
Chris Gwynn – Chris’ brother, Tony, is one of the most accomplished hitters in history, gathering 3,141 hits and 8 batting titles in his career. But Chris’ career was a relative blip on the radar with only 263 career hits in 10 seasons patrolling the outfield for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City Royals, and San Diego Padres (where he and his brother were teammates in 1996). In the final at bat of his career, while playing for San Diego, Chris got the game-winning RBI on a pinch-hit double to complete a three-game of the Dodgers, and propel the Padres to a National League West Division title. Today, he works for San Diego as the Director of Player Personnel.
Dave Sax – Dave’s brother, Steve, was the 1982 National League Rookie of the Year, enjoyed a solid career, and was part of two Dodger championship teams. Dave enjoyed a couple cups of coffee in the Majors in the mid-’80s catching for Little Brother’s Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox. In only 37 career games, over 5 seasons, Dave hit only 1 home run, drove in only 8 RBIs, and batted .267.
Ken Brett – The older brother of George, who amassed 3,154 career hits and 3 batting titles, Ken was actually a pitcher of 14 seasons with the Red Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, California Angels, Minnesota Twins, Dodgers, and Royals (where the brothers were teammates in 1980 and 1981). And while Ken accumulated quite a jersey collection, he only collected 83 careers wins, but had a respectable 3.93 career ERA. His post-career included stints as a broadcaster with the Seattle Mariners and the Angels. But sadly, Ken died in 2003 from brain cancer.
Glenn Hoffman – His brother, Trevor, is the current career saves leader and most likely a lock for the Hall of Fame in a few years. Glenn played shortstop for 9 seasons with the Red Sox, Dodgers, and Angels. But this light-hitting shortstop only managed a .242 career batting average, primarily as a backup. Speaking of managing, Glenn was at the helm of the Dodgers for the final 88 games of the 1998 season, going 47-41 in his only managerial stint. He is currently a coach with Padres, where Trevor works in the front office.
Rich Murray – (Who? Yeah, exactly. I had to look him up myself.) In two seasons with the San Francisco Giants (1980 and 1983), Rich compiled a .216 career batting average, with 4 home runs, and 25 RBIs. Outside of genes, and the fact that both played first base, he and Big Brother Eddie seem to have very little in common. Eddie’s career batting average was 71 points higher (.276), he had 500 more home runs (504), and 1,892 more RBIs (1,917). Not much else to say.
Billy Ripken – Billy and his big brother, Cal, were teammates when managed by their father, Cal Sr., as members of the Baltimore Orioles in 1987 and 1988. Cal Jr.’s Major League record of 2,632 consecutive games played will probably never be touched … obviously, Billy’s 912 total games played falls a little short. But he did still put together a 12-year career with the Orioles, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians, and Detroit Tigers. As an analyst for the MLB Network, Mr. Ripken now goes by “Bill.” But among those who collected baseball cards, Billy might be better known as “F**k Face,” because the photo on his 1989 Fleer card revealed that phrase written on the knob of his bat.
But that’s just a sampling of some of the Major League’s elite, and their lesser-known siblings. And even though Ozzie Canseco, Tommie Aaron, Chris Gwynn, Dave Sax, Ken Brett, Glenn Hoffman, Rich Murray, Billy Ripken (and all the rest) could never stack up to their brothers’ accomplishments, let’s face it, they still had more success in baseball than most of us.
So put one in the win column for the Baseball Brothers. But just be careful if you ever hire the Cansecos for an event … and make sure you know which one you’re getting.