25 Best Brother Pitching Acts in MLB History

Doug Mead@@Sports_A_HolicCorrespondent IMay 7, 2012

25 Best Brother Pitching Acts in MLB History

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    This past week, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jered Weaver spun a masterpiece, picking up the first no-hitter of his career in a 9-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

    Jered can now boast of his accomplishment and hold it over the head of his older brother, former major league starting pitcher Jeff Weaver, who had some pretty good days of his own, but can't count a no-hitter among his feats.

    In the history of MLB, there have been over 60 sets of brothers who have pitched in the majors, so sibling rivalry has long been in force.

    Just where do Jered and his older brother Jeff fit in the record books about brother pitching combinations in MLB history?

    Let's take a look.

25. Dennis and Dave Bennett: 43 Wins

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    Dennis Bennett was a prized young left-hander when he was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1958. Bennett made his debut four years later, posting a 9-9 record and 3.81 ERA in his rookie year in 1962.

    That winter, Bennett was involved in horrific automobile accident during which he was thrown through the windshield of his car, suffering a shattered ankle, a broken pelvis and face lacerations. While Bennett would fully recover, he never quite gained dominance on the mound, finishing his career with a 43-47 mark and 3.69 ERA.

    Bennett's brother, Dave, appeared in one game for the Phillies in 1964 at the tender age of 18. However, he never made it back to the big leagues, winning 92 games in the minors before retiring in 1974.

24. Enrique and Vicente Romo: 76 Wins

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    In Mexico, brothers Vicente and Enrique Romo are revered for their exploits on the baseball diamond, with older brother Vicente being inducted into the Mexican baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.

    Vicente starred as mainly a reliever in the majors for seven seasons, returning to his homeland to play in 1975. Vicente was 32-33 with a 3.36 ERA during his career.

    His younger brother Enrique had already established himself as a star in Mexico before he made his MLB debut with the Seattle Mariners in 1977 at the age of 29. Enrique saved 16 games for the Mariners that year, posting a stellar 2.88 ERA.

    Enrique was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates the following season, and in 1979 was the primary setup man for reliever Kent Tekulve on a team that captured the World Series championship.

    Enrique retired in 1982 with a 44-33 record and 3.45 ERA. Combined, the brothers picked up 76 wins.

23. Ted and Homer Blankenship: 78 Wins

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    In the 1920s, pitcher Ted Blankenship was the Chicago White Sox version of "Mr. Everything."

    Blankenship was used in just about every situation imaginable—as a spot starter, in long and middle relief, and even finished 53 games during his career, along with 53 complete games.

    Blankenship ended his career in 1930 with a 77-79 record and 4.29 ERA.

    His brother Homer wasn't quite so successful, pitching parts of two seasons with the Pale Hose in 1922 and 1923, and making a brief appearance for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1928, adding just one win to the family total of 78.

22. Vean and Dave Gregg: 92 Wins

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    For a brief three-year period in the early 1910s, southpaw pitcher Vean Gregg established himself as a dominant pitcher in the American League with the Cleveland Naps.

    After throwing 14 shutouts and compiling a 32-18 record for the Portland Beavers in the Pacific Coast League, Gregg debuted with the Naps in 1911, and posted three consecutive 20-win seasons.

    Gregg certainly appeared destined for greatness, however, he blew out his arm in mid-1914, and was traded by the Naps to the Boston Red Sox. Gregg never fully regained his form, retiring in 1918 with the Philadelphia A's. Gregg attempted a comeback at the age of 40 with the Washington Senators in 1925, winning two more games mainly in relief.

    His brother Dave appeared briefly for the Naps in 1913, giving up two runs in one inning, never to be heard from again.

21. Rick and Mickey Mahler: 100 Wins

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    Rick Mahler was a consistent presence on Atlanta Braves teams throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, making five Opening Day starts during his 11 years in Atlanta.

    Mahler won 17 games in 1985, and later in his career was a key contributor out of the bullpen for the Cincinnati Reds, who captured the World Series title in 1990. Overall, Mahler posted a 96-111 record and 3.99 ERA.

    Older brother Mickey also saw time in the majors, posting a mediocre 14-32 record and 4.68 ERA in an eight-year career, giving the Mahler family 100 wins combined.

20. Tom and Pat Underwood: 99 Wins

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    Over an 11-year career in Major League Baseball, Tom Underwood fashioned a nice career, and was in the right place at the right time for several teams.

    Debuting with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1974, Underwood was on a squad that won the NL East Division title in 1976 and 1977. Underwood later moved to the Yankees where he helped Dick Howser's squad win the AL East Division title, and the following year was traded to the Oakland A's, helping them in their postseason quest as well.

    Overall, Tom was 86-87 with a 3.89 ERA. His younger brother Pat also saw time in the majors, spending parts of four seasons with the Detroit Tigers, adding 13 more wins to the Underwood coffers.

19. Alex and Walt Kellner: 101 Wins

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    When Alex Kellner embarked on his first full season with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1949, he opened eyes across baseball, posting a 20-12 record and 3.75 ERA.

    Kellner would put together a 12-year career, 11 of them with the Philadelphia/Kansas City A's, but being on a perennial cellar-dwelling certainly didn't help his cause. Kellner retired in 1959 with a 101-112 record and 4.41 ERA.

    Kellner's younger brother Walt tried his hand pitching for the A's as well, and had no success at all, appearing in just three games between 1952-1953 with no decisions.

18. Johnny and Phil Morrison: 103 Wins

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    The man they called Jughandle Johnny, Johnny Morrison, was an effective pitcher during the 1920s with the Pittsburgh Pirates, winning 25 games in 1923.

    Morrison finished his career with the Brooklyn Robins in 1930, posting a career mark of 103-80 with a 3.65 ERA.

    Older brother Phil had baseball in the genes as well, however, he only made one appearance with the Pirates in 1921, pitching 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.

17. Howie and Harry Camnitz: 134 Wins

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    Early in the 20th century, the Pittsburgh Pirates were a constant presence at the top of the National League standings, and starting pitcher Howie Camnitz was a key contributor.

    Camnitz had three 20-game seasons during his time in the Steel City, posting a 25-6 record in 1909 for a team that went on to win the World Series in seven games over the Detroit Tigers.

    Camnitz finished his career with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1915, posting a lifetime record of 133-106 and a 2.75 ERA.

    Unlike a couple of other brother combinations on this list who had siblings that contributed nothing to the family's win coffer, younger brother Harry at least contributed something, winning one game with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1911.

16. Lindy and Von McDaniel: 148 Wins

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    Not many players in Major League Baseball amass a career spanning over 20 years, but reliever Lindy McDaniel not only achieved that goal, he was effective throughout his career.

    Pitching mainly as a reliever, McDaniel led the league in saves three times, earning The Sporting News Reliever of the Year award in 1960 with the St. Louis Cardinals and in 1963 with the Chicago Cubs. McDaniel ended his career in 1975 with a 141-119 record and 3.45 ERA.

    Lindy's younger brother Von joined him on the Cardinals' staff, winning seven games in 1957 mostly in relief. However, in 1958, Von suffered from what is now known as the Rick Ankiel syndrome—he simply couldn't put the ball over the plate. After trying to regain command in the minors, Von finally gave up and attempted to recreate himself as a third baseman, but was unable to make it back to the majors.

15. Andy and Alan Benes: 184 Wins

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    Over a 14-year career, right-hander Andy Benes posted 10 seasons of at least 10 wins, posting an 18-10 record and a fifth-place finish in Cy Young Award balloting in 1996 with the St. Louis Cardinals.

    Andy finished his career with a 155-139 record and 3.97 ERA in 2002.

    Younger brother Alan got his career off to a solid start, posting a 13-win season alongside brother Andy in the Cardinals' rotation in 1996. That would prove to be little bro's apex—injuries curtailed and then ended what could have been a promising career.

    Together, the two notched 184 victories.

14. Jeff and Jered Weaver: 200 Wins

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    On May 2, Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jered Weaver picked up his 86th career victory, giving the Weaver family 200 victories altogether.

    Jered did it in grand fashion, throwing the first no-hitter of his career.

    Brother Jeff is still leading the family competition, notching 104 victories in his 11-year career. However, little brother Jered will no doubt surpass that number and continue piling up Weaver wins.

13. Dizzy and Paul Dean: 200 Wins

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    The 1930s were a fun time in St. Louis. The Cardinals, well known around baseball as the Gashouse Gang, were the toast of the National League, and they were led by the brother combination of Dizzy and Paul (Daffy) Dean.

    Dizzy was a flame throwing right-hander who was bold and brash, but more than capably backed up his words on the mound. In 1934, he and younger brother Paul combined for 49 victories and picked up all four of the victories in the Cardinals' seven-game victory over the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.

    Combined, the Dean brothers racked up 200 wins, and Cardinals' fans still fondly remember the siblings that lit up the town in the height of the Great Depression.

12. Al and Mark Leiter: 227 Wins

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    Early in his career, it appeared that southpaw pitcher Al Leiter would forever be doomed to suffering from a history of injuries, undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder and a rash of other nagging ailments.

    However, he recovered in 1993, and would go to pick up 162 victories over a 19-year career, including throwing a no-hitter for the Florida Marlins in 1996 and three World Series rings along the way (1992, 1993, 1997).

    Brother Mark was also a highly regarded prospect, drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the fourth round of the 1983 MLB Draft. However, Mark never quite achieved the success of his brother, notching 65 wins with eight different teams during his 11-year career.

11. Rick and Paul Reuschel: 230 Wins

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    Over a 19-year career, 12 of them spent with the Chicago Cubs, Rick Reuschel proved to be an effective starter, notching a career record of 214-191 with a 3.37 ERA.

    Reuschel became a 20-game winner in 1977 with the Cubs, finishing third in Cy Young Award balloting. He proved effective later in his career as well, winning 19 games in 1988 and following up with another 17 in 1989 at the age of 40.

    Brother Paul was primarily a reliever during his career, notching 16 wins in a five-year career with the Cubs and Cleveland Indians.

10. Jesse and Virgil Barnes: 213 Wins

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    From 1915-1927, right-handed pitcher Jesse Barnes featured a career that at times looked like a dominating presence on the mound and at other times looked like a train wreck.

    Barnes twice led the National League in losses, suffering 21 defeats in 1917 with the Boston Braves and 20 setbacks in 1924 with the Braves once again. However, he led the National League with 25 wins in 1919 with the New York Giants. Barnes ended his career in 1927 after posting a 152-150 record and 3.22 ERA.

    Brother Virgil had his own measure of success in the 1920s, posting a 61-59 record and 3.66 ERA, with half of those victories coming in 1924-1925 with the Giants.

9. Livan and Orlando Hernandez: 264 Wins

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    Cuban-born right-handed pitcher Livan Hernandez certainly made a splash after defecting from his impoverished island nation.

    Hernandez rose to national prominence in capturing both the NLCS and World Series Most Valuable Player awards for his performance in the postseason for the Florida Marlins in 1997.

    Hernandez is still toiling away as a reliever for the Atlanta Braves, now in his 17th season with a current record of 174-176.

    Older brother Orlando made his mark at the age of 32 in his debut with the New York Yankees. El Duque notched 51 wins in his first three seasons, retiring in 2007 with a lifetime mark of 90-65.

8. Bob and Ken Forsch: 282 Wins

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    While brothers Bob and Ken Forsch certainly achieved success in their individual careers, they are also the only brother combo to have pitched no-hitters during their careers—Bob with two (1978, 1983) and Ken with one in 1979.

    Brother Bob made his mark with the St. Louis Cardinals, becoming a 20-game winner in 1977 and finishing up his career with the Houston Astros in 1989 with a career mark of 168-136.

    Brother Ken fashioned together a 16-year career, first with the Astros and finishing with the California Angels. Ken had six straight ten-win seasons, posting a career mark of 114-113.

7. Stan and Harry Coveleski: 296 Wins

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    For several years in the late 1910s and early 1920s, Stan Coveleski was one of the more effective pitchers in the American League, posting four straight 20-win seasons for the Cleveland Indians and one more for the Washington Senators in 1925.

    Stan finished his career in 1928 with a career mark of 215-142, earning induction into baseball's Hall of Fame in 1969.

    Brother Harry joined Stan in the 20-win club, posting three consecutive 20-win seasons of his own with the Detroit Tigers from 1914-1916. Harry retired with a record of 81-55, giving the brothers a combined 296 wins.

6. Pedro and Ramon Martinez: 352 Wins

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    Signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1984, Ramon Martinez was a hard-throwing right-hander who made his debut in 1988 at the age of 20.

    Ramon's career with the Dodgers was impressive, posting a 20-win season in 1990 and hurling a no-hitter against the Florida Marlins in 1995. However, he suffered a torn rotator cuff in 1998 and never regained his velocity, retiring in 2001 with a record of 135-88 and 3.67 ERA.

    Not to be outdone, little brother Pedro, also signed by the Dodgers, will likely be a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee when eligible in 2014. Pedro is a three-time Cy Young Award winner, posting one of the most spectacular seasons of any pitcher in recent memory in 1999, and retired with a 219-100 record and 2.93 ERA.

5. Christy and Henry Mathewson: 373 Wins

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    The resume of Hall of Fame great Christy Mathewson really needs no further embellishment—a 13-time 20-game winner, four-time 30-game winner and five-time NL ERA champ, Mathewson's 373 wins rank third all-time.

    Mathewson's brother Henry didn't quite have the cache of his brother. Given a shot to pitch by New York Giants manager John McGraw, Henry was unable to notch a single victory, pitching in three games between 1906-1907.

4. John, Dad and Walter Clarkson: 386 Wins

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    In the early days of the National League, no one in baseball was as fierce on the mound as right-hander John Clarkson.

    Clarkson's feats on the mound are legendary—a 53-16 record in 1885, a year in which Clarkson started 70 games and completed a remarkable 68 of them. Clarkson won another 49 games in 1889 for the Boston Beaneaters, completing 68 of 72 starts. Clarkson would end his 12-year career with 328 total victories.

    Brother Dad wasn't quite as durable as brother John, compiling 39 wins over six seasons, and brother Walter added another 18 wins in five seasons in the early 20th century.

    Brother John was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1963.

3. Greg and Mike Maddux: 394 Wins

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    In 1982, the Philadelphia Phillies selected pitcher Mike Maddux with their fifth-round selection in the MLB Draft. Just two years later, the Chicago Cubs selected little brother Greg with their second-round pick.

    Brother Mike's career never quite took off, posting a 39-37 career record with nine different teams over 15 season. Little brother Greg will soon be headed to the Hall of Fame, with 355 career wins and four Cy Young awards.

    At least Mike can say he's a better pitching coach.

2. Gaylord and Jim Perry: 529 Wins

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    One brother threw everything but the kitchen sink at batters. The other fashioned a steady career with a consistent, no-nonsense approach. Together, they won 529 games.

    Gaylord Perry was a five-time 20-game winner who was well-known for adding a little extra to the ball on the way to the plate. Whether it was spit, hair gel, a puff of rosin or whatever else he could find, Perry gathered 314 wins during his Hall of Fame career.

    Brother Jim was a two-time 20-game winner himself, winning the Cy Young Award in 1970 with the Minnesota Twins. Brother Jim added another 215 wins over his 17-year career, giving the Perry family a total of 529 wins, good for second all-time among brother combos in MLB history.

1. Phil and Joe Niekro: 539 Wins

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    Both of them made their living with one of the toughest pitches to throw and to hit—the knuckleball.

    Phil Niekro was a three-time 20-game winner, spending 21 of his 24 seasons with the Atlanta Braves. Brother Joe notched two 20-win seasons of his own, spending 22 years in the majors with seven teams, half of them with the Houston Astros.

    Phil's 318 wins gained him entry into baseball's Hall of Fame in 1997, while brother Joe's 221 wins give the Niekro family 539 wins, making them the most successful brother tandem in MLB history.

    Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.