As The City of Brotherly Love thankfully begins its winter hibernation, I decided to do a little historical exercise on MLB brothers. Using this list of brothers*, I went back and found every time one brother pitched to another in the Retrosheet Era, roughly the last 100 years, not including 2023, which won’t be published until December or so. As I wait for the fraternal recriminations in Philly, here’s what I found. (Note, the painting above depicts Cain’s only at-bat against Abel. Baseball was considerably different back then, and Abel never got to hit against Cain.)
Cain and Abel
No brother has ever hit his brother with a pitch.
Three MLB players have hit homers off their brothers. Having no brothers myself, I can’t really imagine the intrafamily bragging rights these blows caused.
July 19, 1933: Rick Ferrell off Wes Ferrell. The Ferrells were both pretty good players with long careers and hold the current record for brother-on-brother at-bats: 42. Hall of Famer Rick, who OPSed 0.742 for his career, OPSed 0.857 off his brother Wes in those 42 at bats, including the homer. Wes isn’t anywhere near the Hall of Fame despite having substantially out-WARed his brother 60-31.
May 29th, 1976: Joe Niekro off Phil Niekro. Phil had 19 at bats against Joe and Joe had 18 against Phil, including the only homer of his career, a 7th inning game-tying dinger. Despite this blast Phil OPSed much better against Joe, with a 0.737 OPS to Joe’s fairly putrid 0.444.
None of these matchups have a lot of data, but I’m sure that doesn’t matter at Thanksgiving. The Bradley-Kyle 2.667 OPS leads the list, [No it doesn’t! Jon S. in the comments adds the Rasmus Brothers, who weren’t on the list above. And the double Colby hit off Cory in his only at bat is the OPS record!] but we also have:
While some of the matchups were one-way (the Ferrells, George and Ken Brett, Johnny and Jimmy Cooney) most were pitchers who had the chance to get bragging rights but failed. Ramon Martinez never managed a hit off Pedro, and Pedro never got a hit off Ramon either, although Pedro did walk once off Ramon. Greg Maddux and Mike Maddux each had one single off the other, although it took Greg six tries compared to Mike’s three.
Here’s the complete list, sorted by OPS.
|Colby Rasmus||Cory Rasmus||1||1||2||0||0||1.0000||2.0000||1.0000||3.0000|
|Kyle Zimmer||Bradley Zimmer||2||1||4||1||1||0.5000||2.0000||0.6667||2.6667|
|Alan Benes||Andy Benes||2||2||2||0||0||1.0000||1.0000||1.0000||2.0000|
|Phil Maton||Nick Maton||1||1||1||0||0||1.0000||1.0000||1.0000||2.0000|
|Milt Gaston||Alex Gaston||3||1||3||0||0||0.3333||1.0000||0.3333||1.3333|
|Wes Ferrell||Rick Ferrell||42||12||19||1||5||0.2857||0.4524||0.3617||0.8141|
|Virgil Barnes||Jesse Barnes||8||3||3||0||0||0.3750||0.3750||0.3750||0.7500|
|Mort Cooper||Walker Cooper||4||1||2||0||0||0.2500||0.5000||0.2500||0.7500|
|Joe Niekro||Phil Niekro||19||6||8||0||0||0.3158||0.4211||0.3158||0.7368|
|Ken Brett||George Brett||20||6||8||0||0||0.3000||0.4000||0.3000||0.7000|
|Greg Maddux||Mike Maddux||3||1||1||0||0||0.3333||0.3333||0.3333||0.6667|
|Aaron Nola||Austin Nola||7||2||2||0||1||0.2857||0.2857||0.3750||0.6607|
|Johnny Cooney||Jimmy Cooney||21||5||7||0||0||0.2381||0.3333||0.2381||0.5714|
|Larry Sherry||Norm Sherry||1||0||0||0||1||0.0000||0.0000||0.5000||0.5000|
|Ruddy Lugo||Julio Lugo||1||0||0||0||1||0.0000||0.0000||0.5000||0.5000|
|Phil Niekro||Joe Niekro||18||2||6||1||0||0.1111||0.3333||0.1111||0.4444|
|Mike Maddux||Greg Maddux||6||1||1||0||0||0.1667||0.1667||0.1667||0.3333|
|Ramon Martinez||Pedro Martinez||2||0||0||0||1||0.0000||0.0000||0.3333||0.3333|
|Claude Jonnard||Bubber Jonnard||1||0||0||0||0||0.0000||0.0000||0.0000||0.0000|
|Pedro Martinez||Ramon Martinez||3||0||0||0||0||0.0000||0.0000||0.0000||0.0000|
|Ken Forsch||Bob Forsch||2||0||0||0||0||0.0000||0.0000||0.0000||0.0000|
|Brian Moran||Colin Moran||1||0||0||0||0||0.0000||0.0000||0.0000||0.0000|
|Bob Forsch||Ken Forsch||1||0||0||0||0||0.0000||0.0000||0.0000||0.0000|
|Chet Falk||Bibb Falk||1||0||0||0||0||0.0000||0.0000||0.0000||0.0000|
|Andy Benes||Alan Benes||1||0||0||0||0||0.0000||0.0000||0.0000||0.0000|
|Jered Weaver||Jeff Weaver||1||0||0||0||0||0.0000||0.0000||0.0000||0.0000|
|Jeff Weaver||Jered Weaver||1||0||0||0||0||0.0000||0.0000||0.0000||0.0000|
|Jesse Barnes||Virgil Barnes||4||0||0||0||0||0.0000||0.0000||0.0000||0.0000|
* Shoutout to Baseball Almanac, who provided the list of brothers. When I emailed them to point out the absence of the Rasmus Brothers, they updated the website within a day and sent me a nice note of apology.