Saturday, April 11, 2015

Happy (Belated) National Sibling Day!

Yesterday, social media erupted in celebration of something called National Sibling Day.  Honestly, I had no idea that this was a thing.

It's mostly a regional thing; but in today's society tech-driven society, that doesn't mean much of anything anymore.

Even though everyone and their brother (pun!) seemed to post about it on Facebook and such, I still was late to the party and didn't do anything for it.  My siblings know that I love them and they don't need a tweet to know that.

But, then I thought that it could make a nice jumping off for a blog post - but that light bulb didn't light up until this morning.  I'm like the Absent Minded Professor.

Anyway, there have been over 350 sets of brothers to play in the Major Leagues.  Unfortunately, Chicago only got one of the Niekros, Deans, or the Molinas; but, by my count, 11 sets have both spent time on the Cubbies.

 For instance, the dynamic duo of failed prospects.

Well, it might be unfair to say that Corey failed; rather, he just did not live up to pretty unfair expectations from a barren farm system.

The fact that Eric's MLB career was only a few seasons long and never lead to a regular gig is what allowed me to pick up this relic for less than a buck.  I also was gifted a game-used, autographed bat that was handled by the younger Patterson.  Unfortunately, that bat is tucked in storage because I have yet to find room to display it in my humble abode.

These two brothers just missed being teammates - with Corey being traded to Baltimore after the 2006 season and Eric getting his first call-up that summer.  That's too bad, that would have been pretty cool to see.

However, these two were both brothers in the dugout and in the family tree.

"Big Daddy" had a long, All Star career in the Big Leagues; on the other hand, "the Walrus" only spent five mediocre years in the Majors as a reliever (four with the Cubs).

But, both of these cards from a couple of my favorite sets of all-time, they might have the coolest sibling nicknames in baseball history and Paul's got some great Ricky Vaughn glasses there - so they've got all that going for them.

I've spotlighted this set of brothers before and the whole Hairston family, in general, is interwoven into the fabric of Chicago baseball history as well.

The lasting memory I have of Jerry from his two-year stint in Chicago, is when I went to the old ballyard and listened to the extremely inebriated lady behind me (in the third or so inning, at that) try to pronounce every player's last name with a french accent.  Jacque Jones worked; Jerry Hairston did not flow quite as smoothly.

Well, that experience and the fact that he (along with Mike Fontenot) was the man traded for Sammy Sosa.  Say what you will about Sammy's legacy, but as a kid in the late 90s/early 00s, it was a sad end to an era to this fan.

Scott was barely here, so the only lasting memory I have of him was his half-season in Chicago is his Mendoza-shaming batting average of .172 - ick!

Going back much further in time, I obviously have no memories of these two bros, although my grandfather might have seen them play.

This pitcher/catcher duo had the joy of playing for the Cardinals during one of their runs of dominance in the 30's and 40's.  It must have been a hoot to have a brother battery on the team; I'm sure it felt like they were kids back on the sandlot.

Both players eventually found their way to the Cubs, at different times, as their careers dwindled to an end, as many fading stars often did in the franchise's Wrigley-owned days.

Interestingly, though Mort is listed as having played for the Cubs by both the MLB and Baseball Reference, he is listed as a infielder having played 0.0 innings.  I guess he was announced as part of a double-switch or something and was swapped out before actually taking the field.  Bizarre.

We're going even further back in time for this pair.  Obviously, these are both reprints because if they weren't, I would have to be reprinting Benjamin's to afford these tobacco cards.

Hell, Fred Pfeffer is shown wearing a Louisville uniform - that team didn't even survive into the 20th century for cryin' out loud!

Fred was the starting second baseman for Cap Anson's Chicago White Stockings and their dynasty of the 1880's until they were slowly broken up due to their hard-partying ways.  This 1895 Mayo Cut Plug piece lists Fred as having retired as a member of the Colonels, but he actually came back to Chicago for two more seasons to wrap up his career.

"Big Jeff" was actually the little brother in this relationship and his career was much more brief.  Alternating time with the Boston Beaneaters and the Cubs, the pitcher never really found a groove at the top level.

Now, there are a few other sets of brothers in Cubs history, but I only have one of a few of them:

This well-loved 1954 Topps Sauer was the oldest card in my collection for many years.  That is baseball card beauty right there!

Obviously, the "Mayor of Wrigley Field" was the much more successful brother; but, Ed saw some time in the outfield for both the Braves and the Cardinals, in addition to his time as the Deputy Mayor of Wrigley.

It's going to be a challenge to obtain Ed's card because I am only aware on one - and it's a Puerto Rican oddball that is currently sitting well out of my price range.  Some day...

Jim and Wayne's baseball careers were both quite brief in the mid-70's, but there was one key difference - Jim was issued a couple of baseball cards and Wayne was not.

At least, I think that's Jim under there; it's kinda hard to tell since Topps decided that facial recognition wasn't necessary when selecting pictures.

The "card" you see of Wayne on the right was created with the Rookies card-generator app that I've spotlighted in the past.  I'd like to get this printed when I have some extra coin; but, for now it resides in my virtual photo album.

Also, after hours of exhausting research, that seems to be the only photo I can locate of good ol' #22.  By exhausting research, I actually mean a cursory Google search.  *Shrug*

Solly Drake and his brother Sammy both spent some time on the Cubs roster in the 50's and 60's.  In fact, though their careers only lasted two or three years each, these two were the first set of brothers to both play in the Major Leagues.  You don't hear that bit of trivia very often.

Now of the brother sets that remain uncompleted in my collection, this is the only one that will be fairly easy to complete.

Sammy Drake has a couple of cards on the market, including this 1962 Topps card - it's not even a high number.  So, though I haven't come across it yet, it shouldn't be nearly as hard to track down as a foreign oddball nor should I have to create my own.

The only issue for me will be is if I should label it as an official Cubs card:  it lists him as a Met, but obviously depicts him in a hat-less Cubs getup.  I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. #FirstWorldProblems.

The last two sets of brothers in Cubs history, Larry & Mike Corcoran and Jiggs & Tom Parrott, go back to when the Reconstruction era and none of them are represented in my collection yet, so I'll skip on spotlighting them for now.  Sorry guys!

Jiggs                                   Tom

                                                      Larry                                  Mike

So there you have it - a complete (but late) study into all of the literal brothers who have played for the Chicago National League franchise. I'm actually kind of surprised that there haven't been more, for as long as this dinosaur of a club has been around.

This was so much more entertaining and fulfilling than Instagramming an old picture of me and my actual siblings.  I mean, I'd actually have to get an Instagram to do that.

But in all seriousness, if you have any siblings, make sure you show them some love every now and then.  After all, you just never know what's going to happen in life.

Happy (belated) National Sibling Day to all and to all a good night!

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