Right Name, Wrong Genes: The Top 50 Less Talented Relatives of Superstars
In a year in which Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter have struggled to live up to their own standards, Robinson Cano has become the star of the New York Yankees offense, combining excellent hitting and solid defense at second base and establishing himself as one of the elite players in the American League.
Not bad for a guy whose dad, former Astros pitcher Jose Cano, posted an ERA over 5.00 during his only major league season.
Jose Cano is just one in a long list of professional athletes who have been significantly over-shadowed by a son, brother, or father during their careers. Indeed, it seems that the greatest athletes of all time always have a lesser known relative who also played a sport, but not so well.
Here's a look at 50 such athletes.
50. Harvey Grant
Harvey's career was dictated more by luck than anything else. He and his identical twin brother Horace weren't all that different, and it's not Harvey's fault that he got drafted by the hapless Washington Bullets, while Horace got drafted by the Chicago Bulls.
To this day, I fantasize about a scenario in which Horace and Harvey switched identities before Game Six of the 1993 NBA Finals–during which "Horace" scored one point and had seven rebounds in 33 minutes–so that Harvey could get a chance to know what it felt like to win a championship.
49. Jeremy Giambi
The first of several brothers on this list that will force us to consider whether one brother chose to use performance enhancing drugs while the other did not, and whether that made all the difference.
48. Edgar Gonzalez
While Adrian has emerged as one of the finest young hitters in baseball, Edgar has been a merely-decent career minor leaguer.
Despite the averments of this Padres Magazine cover, they have done very little playing together.
47. Marc Gasol
It may be too soon to call this one, actually.
But Pau Gasol has now been to three NBA Finals and won two of them. Marc won't be going to the Finals anytime soon unless he gets traded.
46. Chris and Shelley Duncan
Dave Duncan is one of the great baseball geniuses of the last fifty years, having coaxed great season from pitchers the likes of Vida Blue, Catfish Hunter, Jim Palmer, LaMarr Hoyt, Dave Stewart, Bob Welch, Dennis Eckersley, Chris Carpenter, and Adam Wainwright, amongst many many others, during his time as a player and pitching coach.
His sons, Chris and Shelley, have had little success in major league baseball, however, demonstrating that it was probably smarts, and not genes, that got Dave as far as he has gotten.
45. Brent Price
Is it weird that, apparently, for several years in the late 1980's and early 1990's one of the main front office strategies of the Washington Bullets was drafted brothers of famous players?
Brent Price was no Mark Price.
44. Tim Hasselbeck
Not only is former Redskins backup quarterback Tim Hasselbeck better known as "Matt's brother," but he is also better known as "Elizabeth's husband."
43. Tim Raines, Jr.
Letting Tims Sr. and Jr. play together one time before the elder Raines retired was nothing more than a parting gift from the Orioles to the Raines family. Tim Jr. was never major league ready.
42. Drew Barry
Drew's dad Rick Barry is one of the all time greats in the history of the NBA. Drew's brothers had long, serviceable careers as NBA role players.
Drew played three seasons for four teams and called it a career.
41. Akbar Gbaja-Biamilla
During Kabeer Gabaja-Biamilla's brief career, he was one of the scariest players on the field, three times registering 12 or more sacks and ending his career with 74.5 sacks.
His brother, Akbar, played 31 games in four NFL seasons and had two sacks.
40. Gerald Wilkins
Gerald Wilkins had a serviceable NBA career, though at one point he was acquired by the Cleveland Cavaliers for the specific, and laughable, purpose of "stopping Michael Jordan."
In an era dominated by Jordan and Dominique Wilkins, Gerald paled in comparison to both.
39. Sandy Alomar, Jr.
It wasn't so much a lack of talent that did Sandy Jr. in; no one questions Sandy's talent. In his first full season he won the AL Rookie of the Year and looked to be the Next Great Catcher.
It was injuries, though, that kept Sandy from realizing his full potential. Though he played for 20 years, Sandy Sr.'s son and Roberto's brother played in only 1377 games, and only played over 100 games four times.
Roberto will soon be in the Hall of Fame, and Sandy sadly missed his chance.
38. Sinorice Moss
As much as I would never have drafted the 5-10 Santana Moss, I definitely never would have drafted the 5-8 Sinorice Moss.
Santana would have made me pay; Sinorice, not so much.
37. Chris Simms
Chris's dad took the New York Giants to two Super Bowls and came away with two rings (though Jeff Hostetler ended up playing in the second one).
Chris, meanwhile, has had trouble getting consistent playing time in the NFL due to inconsistent play and, in 2006, a career and life-threatening ruptured spleen suffered in a game against the Carolina Panthers.
36. Fedor Federov
Sergei Federov is the all-time leading goal scorer in the NHL amongst Russian born players, and was considered to be one of the greatest players in the world for a time.
His brother, Fedor Fedorov (which must be the Russian version of being named Willie Williams) managed eight whole NHL games in his career.
35. Juan Bell
The younger brother of 1987 AL MVP George Bell, Juan Bell was a highly touted prospect in the Baltimore Orioles system, but he never came around.
34. Eduardo Perez
The son of Hall of Famer Tony Perez, Eduardo Perez managed to hang around major league baseball for 13 seasons with no apparent marketable skills.
33. Mike Golic
Bob Golic played for 14 years, made three Pro Bowls, and started 160 of the 187 games he played.
His younger brother Mike lasted just eight years, and made only 49 starts.
In the post-playing career department, however, Mike clearly has the lead. Mike and Mike in the Morning is a national morning sports radio show carried by ESPN Radio affiliates for the last eleven years. Bob, meanwhile, had a starring role in Saved By The Bell: The College Years.
32. Dan McGwire
It is like looking at Mark McGwire in a Seahawks uniform.
31. Bill Gramatica
Martin and Bill Gramatica were both excellent kickers.
Bill basically ended his career during his rookie season, however, when he accidentally tore his ACL while exuberantly celebrating a field goal.
I'm sorry, did I say "field goal"? I meant, 42 yard field goal.
30. Patrick McEnroe
It's a real "cup half empty" thing for Patrick McEnroe.
On the one hand, his brother John got all the tennis genes.
On the other hand, his brother John also got the jackass genes.
29. Terrance Holt
Terrance Holt was a six pro in the NFL, and a starter for two and a half years.
His brother Torry is tenth on the all time receiving yards list.
28. Chris Gwynn
The Gwynn family has sent three of its members to Major League Baseball: Tony Sr., Tony Jr., and Chris.
In 599 games over 10 seasons, Chris was a .261 hitter. In five seasons through 2010, Tony Jr. has been a light hitting defensive specialist.
And Tony Sr. is considered one of the greatest hitters of all time.
27. Brian Griese
In his 14 year career Bob Griese was an eight time Pro Bowler and a two time first team All-Pro. He has since been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
His son, Brian, started 83 games in 11 seasons and is now an analyst for ESPN.
26. Ozzie Canseco
For those who might want to write off Jose Canseco's athletic accomplishments, realize that Jose and identical twin brother Ozzie had the same body and, apparently, used the same substances, and Ozzie was never one fifth of the player Jose was.
25. Darren Flutie
Doug and Darren Flutie.
A couple of CFL superstars.
Doug had NFL talent, while Darren had an NFL mullet.
24. Chris Bourque
The son of NHL legend and Hall of Famer Ray Bourque, Chris Bourque has spent his career in the AHL, playing in only 33 NHL games during his career.
23. Ervin Randle
You know, this picture actually makes Ervin Randle look pretty scary.
Don't be fooled.
Ervin was only a starter in the NFL for two of his eight seasons, and he recorded only 8.0 sacks.
Meanwhile, his brother John Randle is in the NFL Hall of Fame.
22. Jose Cano
Could they have at least let Jose Cano rub his eyes a little before his picture? He looks like he either literally just woke up, or he's on drugs.
Jose played only one season in the majors, going 1-0 with a 5.09 ERA in 23 innings with the 1989 Houston Astros.
His son, Robinson, has become on the elite players in baseball in 2010.
21. Marcus Vick
Michael Vick has been busted for running an illicit dog-fighting ring, spent two years in jail, squandered a fortune, ruined a career, and become synonymous with trouble.
And compared to Marcus, he is still "the good guy".
20. Dale Berra
Yogi was one of the most celebrated icons in the history of professional sports.
Dale was a utility infielder who somehow, against all odds and reason, led the league in intentional walks in 1983.
19. Marvin Upshaw
Before he was a not-so-great union leader, Gene Upshaw was a seven time Pro Bowler, a five time first team All Pro, and an NFL Hall of Famer at left guard.
His brother, Marvin, had an eight year career at defensive end during which he did not start a single game.
18. Orrin Olsen
Merlin Olsen was one of the most feared defensive players in football during his NFL career, and was voted to the Pro Bowl 14 times in 15 years. He is a member of the college and pro football Halls of Fame.
His brother Orrin played 14 games for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1976, his only year of NFL football.
17. Brett Lindros
Were the New York Islanders crazy to draft Eric Lindros' brother with the ninth pick in the 1994 entry draft?
Just because Eric was all-world, that didn't mean Brett was going to be, right?
Brett spent two seasons in the NHL and was out of the league before he played his 52nd game. Truth be told, he had to retire after suffering a series of concussions, but still.
He was no Eric Lindros.
16. Craig Bradshaw
This is not a picture of Craig Bradshaw. Rather, it is a picture of Terry.
While Terry Bradshaw was an incredibly well photographed man, and has never had any problem getting people to take his picture or put a microphone in front of him, his brother Craig, who played two games for the Houston Oilers in 1980, has been erased from existence.
15. Derrick Gervin
George Gervin was one of the great mythical players of the ABA, and later of the NBA.
His little brother–who was almost 11 years his junior–played for the New Jersey Nets from 1989 to 1991, amassing only 72 games.
14. Pete Rose, Jr.
Not too many father-son combinations can say that they had a combined 4,258 hits.
13. Cooper Manning
How would you like to be Cooper Manning?
His father is a New Orleans icon and beloved part of New Orleans Saints history. His two brothers have both been Super Bowl MVP's, and one of them may one day be considered the greatest NFL quarterback of all time.
And then there's you, a partner at an energy investment firm in New Orleans. Must suck, right?
Actually, life is pretty good for Cooper, who's own NFL dreams were cut short during his time as a wide receiver for Ole Miss when he was diagnosed with a spinal condition.
He is still part of New Orleans' First Family, which can't be bad for business, and this past season he got to watch a no-lose Super Bowl between his brother's team and his hometown team.
12. Billy Ripken
Cal Ripken, Sr. was a lifelong baseball man. Cal Ripken, Jr. was an Orioles legend, a baseball Hall of Famer, and the patron saint of the state of Maryland.
All Billy Ripken is known for is this baseball card, with a not-so-nice inscription on the bottom of his bat handle.
11. Vic Howe
Vic Howe was the son of NHL legend Gordie Howe.
Vic played 33 games over parts of three seasons with the New York Rangers, which means Vic had one more game played than Gordie did seasons played.
10. Vince DiMaggio
Joe DiMaggio was one of the greatest hitters of all time. Dom DiMaggio was an All Star center fielder and a defensive specialist who twice led the AL in runs scored.
Meanwhile, Vince DiMaggio, the oldest of the three, led the NL in strikeouts in six of his eight full seasons.
9. Alain Lemieux
Alain Lemieux scored 28 career goals in 119 career games in the NHL during a professional hockey career that ran from 1978 to 1998.
His brother Mario, meanwhile, is a hockey legend.
8. Mike Maddux
Of all the beefs that the Phillies may have had with the Cubs in the mid-to-late 1980's, do you think drafting the wrong Maddux was one of them?
Mike Maddux, who wasn't even somewhat as talented as his brother, has had a very successful career as a pitching coach.
7. Press Maravich
Press Maravich played professional basketball with the National Basketball League and the Basketball Association of America from 1945 to 1947. He then became a coach, and beget one of the most talented basketball players of all time.
6. Craig Griffey
Imagine being Craig Griffey, circa 1989.
Growing up in Donora, Pennsylvania, the town in which your father was born and raised his family during his time with the Big Red Machine, everyone knows you.
Then, when you've just turned 16 and just starting to feel your way around high school, your older brother is the number one overall draft pick in the major league draft. And in 1989, you're months short of your 18th birthday when your brother becomes a full-time major leaguer.
As excited as he probably was for Ken, how much do you think he got sick of hearing about his older brother from all his teachers and coaches.
5. Jarrett Payton
The son of Walter Payton, one of the top three running backs of all time, Jarrett Payton has bounced from the NFL to NFL Europe to CFL and finally to the Indoor Football League.
4. Joe Bryant
Joe Bryant was no slouch as a professional basketball player, starring in European leagues after a brief NBA career.
Perhaps it was some mix of his basketball genes, his love for teaching basketball, and his love for kobe beef that gave us one of the greatest players of all time, his son Kobe Bryant.
3. Tommie Aaron
Not too many brother combinations can say they teamed up for 768 career home runs.
(That joke won't get old, no matter how many times you use it.)
2. Keith and Brent Gretzky
Wayne Gretzky was indisputably the greatest hockey player of all time.
The play of his brothers, though, demonstrated how far genetics can take you in sports.
While Wayne dominated the NHL from the time he was 18, his brother Brent enjoyed a very brief two year career with Tampa Bay, playing in only 13 games, while Keith never cracked an NHL squad after being drafted by the Buffalo Sabres.
1. Jeffrey Jordan
You know, I don't think the lip-pucker got Michael Jordan's son Jeffrey very far.
Maybe he should have just gone with the tongue-wag, like his dad.