SweetSpot: Joe Niekro

On Tuesday night, B.J. Upton and little brother Justin Upton became just the second brother combo to hit back-to-back home runs, joining Hall of Famers Lloyd and Paul Waner, who did it on Sept. 15, 1938. Here are some notes about major league brothers ...
  • The fact that the Waners went back-to-back is pretty remarkable since Lloyd only hit five homers that year and Paul six (he actually hit two in the game). It was also that last home run of Lloyd's career (he hit 27 in his career). Lloyd is one of the weakest members of the Hall of Fame, with the old story being he only got in because the Veterans Committee must have been looking at Paul's stats. The only other family to produce two Hall of Famers are brothers Harry and George Wright, early pioneers of the professional game.
  • Gaylord Perry and Jim Perry had identical career records of 215-174 for a few days in 1976.
  • Pitcher Joe Niekro hit one home run in his long career -- it came off brother Phil.
  • In the late '50s and early '60s, the Giants came with Felipe, Matty and Jesus Alou. Felipe was easily the best, as Matty and Jesus didn't have much power. Jesus was the last to reach the majors, late in 1963, and Felipe was traded to the Braves after the season, so the brothers only played together a few weeks. With Willie Mays in center and Willie McCovey playing left that year, the three never started a game together. They did, however, play a few innings together in three separate games. In 1966, Matty and Felipe -- both no longer with the Giants -- finished 1-2 in the NL batting race, Matty at .342 and Felipe at .327.
  • Five Delahanty brothers reached the majors -- Ed was the eldest and the best, a Hall of Famer and one of the biggest stars of the 1890s. You may be familiar with his unfortunate death, when he drunkenly fell (or jumped) off a bridge over Niagara Falls after being kicked off a train.
  • Ken and Bob Forsch are the only brothers to each pitch a no-hitter (Bob threw two), but there's an asterisk of sorts here. Melido and Pascual Perez each threw a shortened no-hitter (six and five innings, respectively) and then there's Ramon and Pedro Martinez. Ramon threw one for the Dodgers and while Pedro never threw an offical no-hitter, he did throw nine perfect innings against the Padres in 1995, only to give up a hit in the 10th.
  • The only two brothers to win batting titles were Dixie (.357 with Brooklyn in 1944) and Harry Walker (.363 with the Cardinals and Phillies in 1947). Harry was only a regular for three seasons (1943, 1947 and 1949), but he didn't stick in the majors until he was 24, had his career interrupted by World War II, played poorly in 1947, got traded early in '47 and had a big year, didn't play as well in '48 and by 1950 was 33 years old and hit .207.

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