February 2, 2013

Brotherly Love in the World of Sports

By - Keith Smith

Much has been written about the upcoming Super Bowl and the Harbaugh brothers, Jim and John, becoming the only brothers to coach against each other in the big game.

Photo by: Mark Humphrey
This feat got me to thinking about other sports brother combinations who accomplished something that no other brothers had. I've always wondered what holidays in these households were like after these guys pulled off what they accomplished. My brothers and I fought about who could hold their breath the longest.

It would've been nice to have been a fly on the wall and hear a few of these conversations.

I'll start with football, since it is Super Bowl weekend and all. The only brothers to both quarterback Super Bowl winning teams, and both be named MVP of that game, are the Mannings, of course. Peyton won his first, in Super Bowl XLI (2007), while Eli won the first of his two the next year in Super Bowl XLII, then followed that up last year in Super Bowl XLVI.

There have been four other sets of brothers to win Super Bowls, but not as quarterbacks, and not as MVPs. They are Bubba and Tody Smith, Keith and Jim Fahnhorst, Darren and Jamie Sharper, and Matt and Chris Bahr.

Next we move to baseball, which is probably the sport with the most brothers with these kind of special circumstances. Probably because it's a numbers driven game and lends itself to statistics better than any other.

The first set of baseball brothers I happen to have intimate knowledge of, Harry and Dixie Walker. I played college baseball for Harry "The Hat," but was never fortunate enough to meet his brother, Dixie. While they both had respectable careers, they are best known as the only brothers to both win batting titles.

Harry did it in 1947, three years after older brother Dixie. Harry hit .363  when he won, with Dixie hitting .357. Harry holds a few other distinctions, too. He is still the only player to win a batting title in a season when he was traded (he was shipped from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies mid-year). And, although this is unofficial, he may be the only former batting champion to finish his career in the minors. With a desire to manage, he took a demotion to act as a player/manager in the minor leagues before finally becoming strictly a manager.

Sticking with baseball, the Waner brothers, Paul and Lloyd, are the only brothers to both be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Nicknamed "Big Poison" (Paul, a whopping 5'8") and "Little Poison," (Lloyd, standing 5'9"), these brother wreaked havoc on pitchers in the early 20th Century. Paul had a lifetime average of .333, with 3,152 hits, while Lloyd hit .316 for his career with 2,459 hits.

Take that in for a minute. These guys combined for more than 5,500 major league hits!

Of course, they never faced the Forsch brothers, Bob and Ken. They are the only two brothers to pitch no-hitters in the big leagues. Ken threw his in 1979, while Bob threw two, one in 1978, the other in 1983.

Then you have the Molina brothers, Jose, Bengie, and Yadier. They are the only set of three brothers to all win World Series rings. I don't know if these three are wise men, but I believe they have the gold part covered at Christmas. I'm not sure who is responsible for the frankincense and myrrh?

And while this story is about brothers who have accomplished amazing things in the world of sports, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena. I'm not 100% sure, but I think they are the only sisters to both be ranked #1 and both win the U.S. Open and Wimbledon singles titles. They may well be the only siblings, period, to accomplish such a feat.


  1. Im with you. Id love to hear the conversations that go on at family get togethers and things of that nature.

  2. I would hate to be in the situation Jim and John's parents are in. They'll be in the middle of the highest of the highs and lowest of the lows all at the same time. How can you even cheer for either when you'll be cheering against the other at the same time?!?