On Tuesday 23rd, 2013 B. J. and Justin Upton hit back-to-back home runs and led the Atlanta Braves to a 10-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies. Naturally the brothers’ feat led to all kinds of facts and stats about brothers that have played baseball together and reach some sort of feat together. All of this talk of baseball brothers has to beg the question. Who is the greatest brother duo in Major League Baseball history?
The Upton brothers already have to rank pretty high. B. J. Upton has already had a nice nine year career and shown the ability to run the bases and also provide a little power offensively. The older Upton has yet to reach any All-Star games but if he ends up being the weaker of the two Upton brothers then they’ll be a formidable duo. Justin Upton is in his seventh season and has been to two All-Star games. In 2011 Upton was fourth in Most Valuable Player voting. Both of the Upton brothers started playing at the Major League level at the age of 19 years old so both are still very young at 28 years old and 25 years old. Justin is also having a breakout season and seems like the early favorite for National League MVP.
When you think about most of the brother tandems that have played in Major League Baseball they tend to have one great player and a player that was not the same caliber as their brother. Hank Aaron is one of the greatest ever but his brother Tommie was pretty average. Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn and Roberto Alomar are all Hall of Fame players but none of their brothers reached the same heights. Even if you look past the steroid use and give Jose Canseco and Jason Giambi a pass their brothers-Ozzie and Jeremy-don’t match up with the lesser Upton brother. Are the Uptons the second best brother duo in Major League Baseball history already? Will they end up number one? In order for the Uptons to be the greatest Major League Baseball brother tandem of all-time you have to ask yourself one question.
Will both Upton brothers be Hall of Fame players?
Right now that’s the lofty goal they would have to reach in order to be the best brother duo in Major League Baseball history. When B. J. and Justin hit back-to-back home runs against the Rockies they became the second brother duo ever to reach the feat and the first since 1938. On September 15th, 1938 New York Giants pitcher Cliff Melton gave up back-to-back home runs against Paul and Lloyd Waner of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Paul and Lloyd were affectionately known by their fans as “Big Poison” and “Little Poison”. Paul was “Big Poison” which could have been attributed to the fact that he was older or it could be that he was better, although Lloyd was actually the taller of the two. The Waners were an unstoppable duo in the Pirates lineup. Paul collected over 200 hits eight times in his career, leading the league in hits twice and batting average three times. For his career Paul recorded 3,152 hits. Lloyd wasn’t quite as good as his brother but still had some impressive seasons. Lloyd topped 200 hits four times in his career.
Possibly the most devastating season of the Waners career was in Lloyd’s rookie season. Paul had a career high of 237 hits and a batting average of .380. Lloyd batted in front of him and added another 223 hits. Paul led the league in RBI with 131 and Lloyd led the league in runs with 133. Paul won the National League Player of the Year and Lloyd also finished sixth in the voting. The Waner brothers have more career hits than any brother tandems in the Major League Baseball history. The two of them collected so many hits that they actually totaled more than all three Alou brothers and all three DiMaggio brothers.
Both of the Waner brothers are now in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Paul was a no doubter that was voted into the elusive club in 1952. Lloyd’s membership is a little bit more questionable. Lloyd was voted in by the Veteran’s Committee in 1967. The Veteran’s Committee tends to vote in players that maybe weren’t quite good enough for the Hall of Fame but Lloyd did end his career with a .313 batting average. Despite the questionable choice to put Lloyd in the Hall of Fame it’s hard to imagine B. J. tallying anywhere close to that many hits and Justin is a long way from topping 3,000 hits like Paul did. It seems that the Waner brothers will likely continue to be the best brother duo in Major League Baseball history.
All stats were found at Baseball-Reference.com