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Baseball’s Best Brother Teammates

The Ferrell brothers battery act, with Wes, left, doing the pitching and Rick the receiving, is ready for a big season with the Boston Red Sox.  Here they are in training camp, March 6, 1936, in Sarasota, Florida.  (AP Photo)

The Ferrell brothers battery act, with Wes, left, doing the pitching and Rick the receiving, is ready for a big season with the Boston Red Sox. Here they are in training camp, March 6, 1936, in Sarasota, Florida. (AP Photo)

As B.J. and Justin Upton prepare for their first season in the Atlanta Braves outfield, a look at the brothers who had the most success playing together in the big leagues:

1. Paul and
Lloyd Waner

Big Poison (Paul) and Little Poison (Lloyd) are the Hall of Fame’s only set of brothers, and they had the longest time together of any siblings. From 1927-40, they played side by side in the Pirates outfield, with Paul hitting over .300 a dozen times and Lloyd doing it 10 times during their remarkable run as Pittsburgh teammates. They weren’t done either, teaming up again with the Boston Braves in 1941 and the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1944. They hold the record for most hits by brothers (5,611), most of them coming while they were in the same uniform. Paul was inducted into Cooperstown in 1952, his brother joined him 15 years later. Together to the end.

2. Dizzy and Paul Dean

Dizzy and his younger brother didn’t last long as a duo because of injuries. But they’re high on the list based on two dynamic seasons with one of baseball’s most famous teams, the St. Louis Cardinals’ Gashouse Gang. In 1934, they actually topped Dizzy’s prediction of 45 wins between them, combining for 49 and leading the Cardinals to a World Series championship. Dizzy went 30-7 — the last NL pitcher to win 30 games — and Paul, a 21-year-old rookie, was 19-11. They each had two more wins in the Series victory over Detroit. The following year was nearly as good, with Dizzy going 28-12 and Paul posting a 19-12 mark, but that would be their last hurrah. Paul hurt his arm and had only 12 more wins in the big leagues. Dizzy’s career also flamed out early, but he still claimed a spot in the Hall of Fame.

3. Mort and
Walker Cooper

Not long after the Deans departed St. Louis, the Cardinals found another pair of productive siblings, Mort and Walker Cooper. They played all or parts of six seasons together during World War II, and led the Redbirds to three straight NL pennants from 1942-44. During that span, Mort was a 20-game winner each season and captured the NL MVP award in ‘42, while Walker twice hit over .300 and handled the catching duties for his brother. A contract dispute in 1945 broke them up, but the Coopers reunited for one last season as teammates with the New York Giants.

4. Rick and Wes Ferrell

Another pitcher-catcher set of brothers, the Ferrells played together with the Boston Red Sox for three highly successful seasons, beginning in 1934. Wes had two 20-win campaigns with Rick behind the plate and was runner-up for AL MVP in 1935. Rick was an all-star each of those three years and went on to be elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984. In an interesting twist, the brothers were traded together, going to Washington in 1937. Their run ended the following year, when Wes was released by the Senators.

5. Joe and Luke Sewell

Joe was a Hall of Fame infielder for the Cleveland Indians who played a full decade with his brother Luke, a catcher. Joe was a consistent .300 hitter (he finished with a career average of .312), and he was joined in the starting lineup by Luke during their last five seasons together. Both were involved in historic events before and after they teamed up. Joe took over as the Indians shortstop after Ray Chapman was killed by a pitch to the head in 1920, the only big league player to die during a game. Luke guided the St. Louis Browns to their lone AL pennant as a manager in 1944.

Honorable Mention

Felipe, Matty and Jesus Alou, a trio of outfielders who all lasted at least 15 years in the big leagues and played together for the San Francisco Giants in 1963. Before Jesus arrived, Felipe and Matty teamed up on the Giants for three seasons. After Felipe was traded away, the other two spent two more years in San Francisco. Late in their careers, Felipe and Matty wound up together again for one last season with the Yankees. Only two other times did three brothers play on the same team: Jose, Hector and Tommy Cruz (1973 Cardinals) and George, Harry and Sam Wright (1876 Boston Red Stockings).

Note: This is a list of brothers who both had success while playing together. For instance, Hank and Tommie Aaron were teammates over seven seasons and hold the record for most homers by brothers. Of course, Hank accounted for 755 of those, while Tommie hit just 13. Roberto and Sandy Alomar were both accomplished players (Roberto is in the Hall of Fame) who spent all or parts of six seasons on the same team. But Sandy played only eight big league games when they were together in San Diego and was largely a backup when they teamed up again in Cleveland. Both were at the end of their careers for their final stint together with the Chicago White Sox.

— The Associated Press