The Infamous Philadelphia Wrong-Brother Syndrome

With the recent news indicating the Eagles are interviewing Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden (brother of Jon Gruden), a light bulb went off in my head. Philadelphia always gets the “wrong” brother in sports. By wrong I mean of two brothers, the one who had the more successful career was not the one in Philadelphia. One might say that is just a coincidence, or that it does not happen that often. What I found may shock you. In a sports year where there has not been much happiness in Philadelphia, here is something else to make you bite your lip. Keep in mind, of the four major sports, baseball has the most sets of “brothers”, so most of these will be Phillies.

The most famous one is the DiMaggio brothers. Joe DiMaggio was a Hall of Famer, one of the greats of all time. His brother Dom was also a good player, although not a Hall of Fame player. Surely you have heard of at least one of the aforementioned names. But have you heard of Vince DiMaggio? Chances are you have not, and this is the DiMaggio the Phillies had. Vince was a career .249 hitter and led the MLB in strikeouts in six of his ten seasons. He also had a .981 career fielding percentage, which is bad for an outfielder.

Another one people love to bring up is relatively recent. The Giambi brothers. I remember when I heard on the radio that the Phillies signed Giambi, and everyone was elated. Then the next morning we all realized it was Jeremy Giambi, not his power hitting brother Jason. Jeremy played six years in the big leagues, and had countless character issues. Meanwhile, Jason Giambi has 429 career HR and over 1400 RBI.

Everyone who remembers the 1993 Phillies loved Juan Bell, but he was not a spectacular player by any sense of the word. His brother George, however, was a 3-time all-star and won an MVP in 1987. The worst part is, George Bell was signed by the Phillies, then was let go in the Rule-5 draft to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Mike Maddux is a great pitching coach and had 39 wins in the MLB over 15 seasons. Not a bad career for a reliever if you ask me. The problem is, his brother’s name was Greg. Greg Maddux has 355 wins and a career 3.16 ERA. The one thing that made it worse was the fact that he pitched for the Atlanta Braves.

Everyone remembers the great George Brett right? If not you do remember the guy who stormed out of the dugout after the umpire ruled he was out due to excessive pine tar after a home-run. That was George Brett, and while he was not the most calm player, he was one of the best hitters the game’s ever seen. 3154 career hits. His brother Ken Brett, who was a Phillie, pitched 14 years in the big leagues, and had a nice career with 83 career wins. But he will forever be known as George Brett‘s brother.

Other notable “wrong brothers” who played for the Phillies:

Rich Surhoff, brother of Orioles great B.J. Surhoff

Michael Garciaparra, brother of Nomar Garciaparra

Frank Torre, brother of Hall of Famer Joe Torre

Mark Leiter, brother of Al Leiter

Marcus Giles, brother of all-star OF Brian Giles

Tim Worrell, brother of closer Todd Worrell

Stan Coveleski, brother of Harry Coveleski

The funny part about all of this, is every time we are close to the right brother it never happens. J.D. Drew and Justin Upton.

The 76ers had a player named Albert King, he was a tall 6 feet 6 inch guard, and scored 517 points for the 76ers in the 1987-88 season and 12 points for his career. His brother’s name was Bernard King, who averaged 22 points per game in his career and was a 4 time All-NBA selection.

The 76ers also had Harvey Grant, brother of Horace Grant, who played 170 playoff games and won multiple NBA titles.

Now for the good news. It has not happened often but we have gotten the right brother. On two occasions, Ed Delahanty was one of the best Phillies to ever play the game, and he has multiple brothers who never played more than 4 seasons total in the MLB. The most recent brother who was the right choice was former Eagles RB Brian Westbrook. His brother Byron Westbrook, played for the Redskins and never amounted to much other than a good special teamer.

Credits: BaseballReference.com , BasketballReference.com

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Josh Collacchi

Josh is what we like to call a "4 for 4" Philadelphia sports fan, who lives in northern Delaware. Season ticket holder to the Phillies and former season ticket holder for the Eagles, Sixers, and Flyers. Currently attending Wilmington University majoring in Business/Sports Management. He works for the local utility company but, as most of us, his real passion is Philadelphia Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JCollacchi


2 Responses

  1. Mike Newcomb says:

    You forgot about Clay Matthews less-than-spectacular brother Casey Matthews.

  2. Yes! How could I have forgotten him, still with the Eagles, too slow and not strong enough to be a LB. Bad combination.