Oh, brother!

One of the more interesting aspects of the cards that Shane sent me the other day comes from the 1975 Topps series. I kept going back through the cards, thinking that I'd seen a name that stood out in some fashion: Brett, Perry, Nettles, Niekro. Could it be?

No, it wasn't. It was their brothers.

It seems that the 70's was the era that families were part of the scene of Major League Baseball. I know that there have been famous brothers, even twins, in the majors since then, and that there are plenty of legacy families in the majors. But in 1975, in particular, there were quite a few brother tandems in the big leagues, and Shane happened to send me a few of them.

First, I have to say that this is one of the ugliest, yet most outstanding, designs Topps has ever done. The color combinations, in general, are hideous, and the photography is suspect, but that was the case in all the 70's sets. Who was the genious who thought of yellow and pink with blue lettering?

Since I started with Graig Nettles (watch the spelling - it's not Craig), let's bring in his brother, Jim. (Another great combination - green and purple. Someone at Topps had it out for the Nettles boys in '75!) Jim always looked happier, much easier going, while Graig generally had a scowl on his face, maybe from playing for the Indians in the early 70's. Or maybe it was just NYC. In any event, scowl-face had a much better career and won two World Series rings out of five visits to the Series, four with the Yanks and one with the Padres. Jim, on the other hand, only played in parts of six seasons with Twins, Tigers, Royals and A's. I guess a scowl translates into better baseball.

Next, the Perry brothers. I believe that they hold the record for most wins by a pair of brothers. Probably most losses, too. I love the fact that they were both on the Indians this year, which tells me all I need to know about this piece of paper:

My dad got this for me when I was a kid, which must have been 1974. Right there, in the middle, is both Jim's and Gaylord's autograph. Now THAT is some cool relic.

The stats on their cards are pretty impressive, too.

Jim started with the Indians in 1959, and Jim started with the Giants in 1962. By the end of 1974, Gaylord had 198 victories and Jim had 211. Jim would only get four more in 1975 with Cleveland and Oakland, and retired. Gaylord kept going, finding new and creative ways to doctor the ball, fool the umps and baffle the batters, finishing in 1983 with 314 wins. His book, "Me and the Spitter," is a fantastic read and I highly recommend it.

Next is Joe Niekro, the lesser of the Niekro brothers. He and Jim Perry can commiserate, because they had good careers, but their brothers are both Hall of Famers. Talk about inferiority complexes!

Last, we have another brother-of-a-HOFer, Ken Brett. These poor guys. Can you imagine Thanksgiving dinner at their houses. "So, you made the big leagues. Your brother is going to the Hall of Fame! Whaddya think of them marbles, eh?!" Ken played admirably for 14 seasons, compiling a 4.14 ERA, while his brother beat the snot out of pitchers like him for 21 seasons!

I'll have to check the rest of the set to see if there are some other brothers in there, like the May brothers. If you know of any, leave a comment here.

A few more '75 cards that have meaning to me. Of course, there are the Indians that Shane sent, but also a couple of Orioles.

Hendrick and Bell were two of my favorite players on the Tribe, and the days that they were traded, especially Bell, were stunningly sad for me. Buddy comes from one of those baseball families. Father Gus, who played his best years for the Reds, and sons David, who had a decent long career, and Mike, who played 19 games for the Reds in 2000.

As for the Orioles, Grich is a hometown favorite here in Rochester, NY. He only played one season for the Red Wings, but is thought of in the same light as Cal Ripken, Jr. Basically, a God. And Boog, well, besides loving his name, this picture makes me wonder if he is calling off the entire world to catch this ball - better not get in HIS way! (maybe that's why everyone in the stands is heading for the exit behind him) - or he can't find it!

Thanks for all the great cards, Shane.

1 comment:

Johngy said...

Yes, Carlos and Lee May were in that set.
Also, Bob and Ken Forsch.

Of the partials...
Jesus Alou made it, Felipe and Matty didn't.
Dick Allen made it, Hank didn't.
Eddie Brinkman made it, Chuck didn't.
Wayne Garrett made it, Adrian didn't.
Jose Cruz made it, Tommy and Hector didn't.