Baseball fandom is often shared across a family, and sometimes prowess at the sport is, too. We’ve covered the best father-son duos in baseball history, but what about players across the same generation? Oh, brother.
There have been more than 400 combinations of siblings who played in MLB — that’s more than 400 players who also had at least one brother, if not more, make it to The Show.
Having two Major Leaguers in the family is quite an accomplishment, but even more notable is when those two experience noteworthy careers as well. With no disrespect toward any of the great families in baseball history, here’s a look at some of the best sibling combos ever.
Baseball-Reference.com’s Wins Above Replacement (WAR) was used as a rough guideline, with preference given to pairs in which both players achieved significant success and remained at the big league level for a while. That’s why each combo on the list has at least two brothers with at least 20 career WAR, while some other combos that include a Hall of Famer (Henry and Tommie Aaron, for example) were not included. If a third brother was below that threshold, he is still included if the first two brothers had at least 20 WAR.
All combos are listed in order of career WAR, which is in parenthesis.
1. Paul Waner (74.7) and Lloyd Waner (29.6)
This duo leads off the list for a simple reason: The Waners are the only brothers in the Hall of Fame as players. Paul played from 1926-45, amassing 3,152 hits with a .333 career average for the Pirates, Dodgers, Braves and Yankees. His younger brother Lloyd played in 18 MLB seasons from 1927-45, with 2,459 hits and a .316 average. Paul’s nickname was ‘Big Poison,’ while Lloyd was ‘Little Poison.’ Paul was inducted in 1952 by the BBWAA, Lloyd in 1967 by the Veterans Committee. The two were teammates on the Pirates (1927-40), Braves (1941) and Dodgers (1944).
2. Joe DiMaggio (79.2), Dom DiMaggio (33.6) and Vince DiMaggio (17.8)
Vince was the eldest brother, but actually debuted second, with Joe reaching the Majors a season prior, in 1936. It was the middle brother who had the Hall of Fame career, as Joe hit .325 for his career, which spanned 1936-51, minus three seasons of military service. Dom, the youngest, debuted in 1940 and was a seven-time All-Star, also missing three years while serving in the military. Joe was a career Yankee, while Dom’s entire career was as a member of the Red Sox. How’s that for sibling rivalry?
3. Pedro Martínez (83.9) and Ramón Martínez (25.9)
Pedro had the Hall of Fame career, but his older brother Ramón’s career was of note, too. Debuting at 20 years old in 1988, he pitched 14 seasons for the Dodgers, Red Sox and Pirates. In 1990 for the Dodgers, he led the Majors in complete games and was an All-Star, finishing second in Cy Young voting in the NL to Doug Drabek. Pedro debuted as a 20-year-old in ’92 for the Dodgers, then was traded to the Expos, where he began to shine. An 18-year career with the Dodgers, Expos, Red Sox, Mets and Phillies yielded three Cy Youngs and a World Series title, among other numerous accolades and accomplishments. The two were teammates on the Dodgers (1992-93) and Red Sox (1999-2000).
4. Phil Niekro (95.9) and Joe Niekro (29.7)
Phil, known as Knucksie, had remarkable staying power in the Majors thanks to that signature knuckleball. He pitched 24 seasons from 1964-87, throwing 5,404 regular-season innings, including 300-plus in three straight years as a 38, 39 and 40-year-old. Joe pitched 22 seasons, from 1967-88, winning a World Series in 1987 with the Twins. They were teammates on the Braves (1973-74) and Yankees (1985).
5. Gaylord Perry (90) and Jim Perry (41.6)
Gaylord won an AL Cy Young Award in 1972 with Cleveland and an NL Cy Young Award in 1978 with the Padres. His older brother Jim won an AL Cy Young Award in 1970 with the Twins. They’re the only sibling combo to both win Cy Young Awards in their careers. Gaylord had the 22-year Hall of Fame career from 1962-83, while Jim had a strong resume with 17 big league seasons and three All-Star selections, plus that aforementioned Cy Young. They were teammates in Cleveland in 1974-75.
6. Felipe Alou (42.2), Matty Alou (23.1) and Jesús Alou (0.8)
Felipe was the first of the three brothers to reach the Majors, in 1958, with Matty debuting in 1960 and Jesús in 1963. They were teammates together in San Francisco in 1963, and are the only trio of brothers to appear in the same outfield in a game. Each had at least a 15-year career, with Felipe playing 17 years before a 14-year managerial career. In addition to their time in ’63, Felipe and Matty were teammates on the Giants (1960-62) and Yankees (1973), and Jesús and Matty were together on the Giants in 1964-65.
7. Ken Boyer (62.8), Clete Boyer (27.6) and Cloyd Boyer (0.6)
Cloyd played 111 MLB games between 1949-55, but his younger brothers each experienced far longer careers. Ken was an 11-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner over a 15-year career, primarily with the Cardinals. He was the 1964 NL MVP with St. Louis, and won a World Series that year, too. Clete played 16 seasons with the A’s, Yankees and Braves. Clete and Cloyd were both on the A’s in 1955.
8. Wes Ferrell (60.1) and Rick Ferrell (30.8)
Older brother Rick was a Hall of Fame catcher and eight-time All-Star, hitting .281 for his career. His younger brother Wes was a pitcher who appeared across 15 seasons. The fun part: they were teammates on the Red Sox from 1934-37 and Senators from 1937-38, when they were traded over together. The two comprised a battery numerous times, and are one of nine brother pairs since 1900 to do so. Just like in the backyard as kids.
9. Deacon White (45.5) and Will White (34.9)
Early baseball had a number of brother combos, so at least one had to make the list here. Deacon debuted before MLB even existed, playing five years in the National Association before the National League’s inaugural year in 1876. His 14 NL seasons, which are his official MLB years, included a .307 batting average, and he even slugged .545 in 1877. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013. His younger brother Will pitched five MLB seasons and 10 total professional seasons, throwing a casual 680 innings in 1879.
10. Mort Cooper (32.7) and Walker Cooper (27.3)
Pitcher Mort and catcher Walker were teammates on the 1940-45 Cardinals and the 1947 Giants. They won two World Series together, in 1942 and ‘44. They, like the Ferrells, are another of the nine modern-era pitcher-catcher batteries to appear together in at least a game for the same team. Mort won the 1942 NL MVP Award in a year during which he threw the majority of his innings to his brother, to the tune of a 1.61 ERA with Walker behind the dish. Walker was an eight-time All-Star.
Some other notable combos (min. 10 WAR for at least 2 brothers):
• Yadier, Bengie and José Molina
• Roberto and Sandy Alomar Jr.
• Orlando and Liván Hernández (half brothers)
• Harry and Stan Coveleski