The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
Hey brother, let's play ball

Playing wiffle ball in the backyard with a brother was an experience familiar to a lot of us. Playing on the same team with a brother in Little League, Babe Ruth, or high school baseball is something we might have also experienced. But what about brothers playing with or against each other in the major leagues? Not too many can say they know what that’s like.


But it happens every once in a while. Some of the occurrences go relatively unnoticed. Others like the Alou brothers (Felipe, Matty, and Jesus) attracted significant attention in September 1963 when the trio of Dominican players started in the outfield together in a game for the San Francisco Giants. Their improbable feat is often the subject of baseball trivia questions.


This year’s major-league season saw several instances of brothers playing on opposite sides of the diamond and one in which the brothers teamed up as batterymates.


Brothers Jordan and Justus Sheffield pitched in the same game during Spring Training in March. Justus started for the Seattle Mariners, while Jordan entered the game in the fourth inning in relief for the Colorado Rockies. It was the second time they had crossed paths in a professional game as opponents, the first in a minor-league series in 2019. The brothers roomed together during spring training camp.


Brothers Corey (Dodgers) and Kyle Seager (Mariners) have opposed each other as major leaguers several times. On April 19 this season, Corey homered in a 4-3 loss to the Mariners. On May 11, Kyle homered in a 6-4 loss to the Dodgers. Even though Kyle is the older of the two, his nickname is “Corey’s Brother.”


Yuli and Lourdes Gurriel are Cuban-born major-leaguers whose father Lourdes Sr. was a baseball star for the Cuban National team in the 1980s and 1990s. The brothers played against each other in a series between Houston and Toronto on May 7-9. Houston’s Yuli outshined his brother with a 4-for-4 performance in one of the games. Yuli wound up leading the National League in batting this season with a .319 average.


Veteran major-league brothers Andrew and Austin Romine became the first brother batterymates since brother Norm (catcher) and Larry Sherry (pitcher) played together on June 28, 1962. Andrew, normally an infielder, was brought in to pitch for the Chicago Cubs in a blowout game against the Milwaukee Brewers on August 12. His catcher was his brother Austin. With the Brewers already holding a 16-3 lead   Andrew pitched the final inning of the game, yielding a home run and a single and striking out one batter.


On August 21, Aaron Nola and his brother Austin played against each for the first time since both were playing in a spring practice game as teammates at LSU. Aaron, who pitches for the Philadelphia Phillies, faced Austin with the San Diego Padres in three at-bats. Austin struck out, flied out, and walked against his brother, who had a perfect game through the first 6 1/3 innings. The Padres wound up inning, 4-3, in 10 innings.


On September 27, Cleveland’s Bradley Zimmer got bragging rights when he a 408-foot home run off his brother Kyle who was pitching in relief for the Kansas City Royals. The Indians won, 8-3. The brothers, who were both first-round draft picks, had faced each other three times previously this season. It was the first time a brother homered against his brother since 1976. (See Niekro brothers below.)


Below is a sampling of other games in baseball’s long history where MLB brothers played with or against each other.


Alex Gaston of the Boston Red Sox broke up his brother Milt’s no-hitter in 1926, hitting the first pitch of the ninth inning for a single.


The St. Louis Browns’ Rick Ferrell almost broke up kid brother Wes’s no-hitter on April 29, 1931; but the official scorer ruled Rick’s 8th inning at-bat an error and Wes claimed his no-hitter. On July 19, 1933, the brothers homered in the same inning for opposing teams. Rick hit his off Wes, only one of 28 total home runs in an 18-year career.


Mort and Walker Cooper were the pitcher-catcher combo for six seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and one with the New York Giants. During 1942 through 1944 with the Cardinals, each of the brothers made the all-star team and helped their team win three National League pennants and two World Series championships.


Clete and Ken Boyer played against each for the first time in Game 1 of the 1964 World Series between the Yankees and Cardinals. In Game 7, Clete (Yankees) and Ken (Yankees) each hit home runs in the Cardinals’ win.


Brothers George and Ken Brett played against each other for the first time in an exhibition game on March 27, 1976. George, playing for the Kansas City Royals, hit a home run off Ken of the New York Yankees. In 20 regular-season plate appearances against his brother, George never homered once.


Joe Niekro (Astros) hit the only major-league home run of his 22-year career against his brother Phil on May 29, 1976. Joe’s seventh-inning home run against his older brother tied the game, with the Astros ultimately defeating the Braves, 4-3. Joe got the winning decision, giving up only four hits and one earned run in eight innings. Phil recorded the loss.

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