A little while ago, Joe Posnanski had a fun article on Hall-of-Fame fathers who had sons in the Major Leagues.
He looked at WAR (wins above replacement) to see which sons had the best careers. I wondered “What if you looked at entire families, and went with total WAR?” That sounded like a fun little project…
NOTE: I’m using the Baseball Reference values for career WAR. If nothing is listed, their careers were too short to produce a useful number. As to the abbreviations:
HOF – Hall of Fame
MVP – MVP. Note that the award had very different rules until the 1940s.
ROY – Rookie of the Year
AS – All-Star (the number after indicates the number of All-Star appearances)
Henry Aaron (HOF, MVP, ASx25, 142.6 WAR)
Tommie Aaron (-2.8 WAR)
Henry had better not need an introduction. His brother Tommie played in 437 games for the Braves between 1962 and 1971.
Sandy Alomar (AS, 10.6 WAR)
Sandy Alomar Jr. (ROY, ASx6, 13.7 WAR)
Roberto Alomar (HOF, ASx12, 66.8 WAR)
Sandy Sr. was a journeyman infielder for 15 seasons, making the All-Star team in 1970. Sandy Jr. spent 20 years in the bigs, mostly as a catcher. Roberto set the standard for the modern second baseman.
Felipe Alou (ASx3, 42.2 WAR)
Jesus Alou (0.9 WAR)
Matty Alou (ASx2, 23.2 WAR)
Moises Alou (ASx6, 39.7 WAR)
Felipe, Jesus, and Matty patrolled outfields around baseball in the 60s and 70s for a combined 47 seasons. Felipe’s son Moises put in 17 years of his own in the bigs.
Earl Averill (HOF, ASx6, 48.0 WAR)
Earl Averill Jr. (3.5 WAR)
Earl Sr. was a top hitting outfielder for the Indians in the 30s. Earl Jr. bounced around as a utility man from 1956 through 1963.
Gus Bell (ASx4, 15.3 WAR)
Buddy Bell (ASx4, 66.1 WAR)
David Bell (15.2 WAR)
Gus was a decent outfielder in the NL in the 50s and early 60s. His son Buddy was a reliable third baseman in the 70s and 80s. Buddy’s son David was a utilitly infielder from 1995 through 2006. David’s brother Mike appeared in 19 games for the Reds in 2000.
Yogi Berra (HOF, MVPx3, ASx15, 59.5 WAR)
Dale Berra (5.4 WAR)
Yogi was the catcher for the Yankees in the epic era from 1946 through 1963. Dale was mostly a reserve infielder in the late 70s and 80s.
Bobby Bonds (ASx3, 57.7 WAR)
Barry Bonds (MVPx7, ASx14, 162.4 WAR)
Bobby played the outfiled throughout the 70s. Barry has hit more home runs than anyone.
Ray Boone (ASx2, 25.8 WAR)
Bob Boone (ASx4, 27.3 WAR)
Aaron Boone (AS, 13.5 WAR)
Bret Boone (ASx3, 22.6 WAR)
Ray was a journeyman infielder in the 50s. His son Bob was a star catcher for the Phillies and Angels in the 70s and 80s. Bob’s sons Aaron and Bret were infielders in the 90s and 00s.
Eddie Collins (MVP, 123.9 WAR)
Eddie Collins Jr. (-1.0 WAR)
Eddie Sr. pitched his way into the Hall of Fame in 1939. Eddie Jr. played in 132 games over three seasons.
Harry Coveleski (16.3 WAR)
Stan Coveleski (HOF, 65.2 WAR)
Harry pitched in a couple of seasons in the early 20th century. His younger brother Stan starred for Cleveland and Washington for fourteen seasons in total.
Dizzy Dean (HOF, MVP, ASx4, 42.7 WAR)
Paul Dean (11.3 WAR)
“Ol’ Diz” was probably the best pitcher in the National League for most of the 1930s….but some at the time said his brother Paul had the better “stuff”.
Dom DiMaggio (ASx8, 32.0 WAR)
Joe DiMaggio (HOF, MVPx3, ASx13, 78.1 WAR)
Vince DiMaggio (ASx2, 17.1 WAR)
Dom could be a member of the Hall of Very Good, if not the Hall of Fame. He spent his entire 11 year career with the Red Sox, and is in their Hall of Fame. Vince was better than I expected.
Ken Griffey (ASx3, 34.4 WAR)
Ken Griffey Jr. (MVP, ASx13, 83.6 WAR)
This father and son duo actually got to play together with the Mariners in 1990 and 1991.
Chris Gwynn (-1.2 WAR)
Tony Gwynn (HOF, ASx15, 68.8 WAR)
Tony Gwynn Jr. (5.8 WAR)
Tony Sr. is one of the best pure hitters ever. His brother Chris was a reserve outfielder for ten years around the early 90s. Tony Jr. has been playing the outfield here and there for the past several years.
Freddie Lindstrom (HOF, 28.3 WAR)
The Veterans Committee selected Freddie, a 3B/OF from the 20s and 30s, to the Hall of Fame in 1976. His son appeared in one game for the White Sox in 1958.
Christy Mathewson (HOF, 58.1 WAR)
Henry Mathewson (-0.2 WAR)
Christy was baseball’s first “Face of Baseball” and was among the first group of players inducted into the Hall of Fame. His brother Henry pitched in three games over two seasons.
John Mayberry (ASx2, 24.7 WAR)
John Mayberry Jr. (0.7 WAR)
John Sr. was a star first baseman for the Royals in the 70s. His son John Jr. is currently a journeyman outfielder.
Bengie Molina (10.6 WAR)
Jose Molina (2.9 WAR)
Yadier Molina (ASx7, 30.6 WAR)
Catching runs in this family. Three brothers, all catchers.
Joe Niekro (AS, 28.7 WAR)
Lance Niekro (0.4 WAR)
Phil Niekro (HOF, ASx5, 97.4 WAR)
Phil is the star of this family, making it into the Hall of Fame in 1997. His brother Joe was a pitching star for the Astros in the late 70s and early 80s. Joe’s son Lance made a couple of appearances at first base for the Giants in the mid 2000s.
Jim O’Rourke (HOF, 51.3 WAR)
John O’Rourke (6.6 WAR)
Jim spent virtually his entire career in the years before 1900, so his numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. His brother John played a couple of years in the same era. Jim’s son Queenie played in 34 games for the Giants in 1908.
Tom Paciorek (AS, 7.6 WAR)
The definition of a career journeyman, Tom played pretty much everywhere over eighteen seasons. His brother Jim played part of the 1987 season with the Brewers; brother John appeared in one game in 1963.
Eduardo Perez (1.0 WAR)
Tony Perez (HOF, ASx7, 53.9 WAR)
Tony was part of the “Big Red Machine” in the early 70s. His son Eduardo was a utility man in the 1990s and 2000s.
Gaylord Perry (HOF, ASx5, 93.7 WAR)
Jim Perry (ASx3, 38.7 WAR)
Gaylord won a Cy Young award in each league. His brother Jim also earned one of those with the Twins in 1970.
Tim Raines (ASx7, 69.1 WAR)
Tim Raines Jr. (0.2 WAR)
Tim Sr. starred in left field for the Expos in the 80s. His son appeared in 75 games over three seasons in the early 2000s.
Pete Rose (ROY, MVP, ASx16, 79.1 WAR)
Pete Rose Jr.
“The Hit King” was a starting All-Star at five different positions. His son played in eleven games for the Dodgers in 1997.
George Sisler (HOF, MVP, 54.5 WAR)
Dave Sisler (3.0 WAR)
Dick Sisler (AS, 7.9 WAR)
George was one of the top hitters of the 1920s. His sons Dick and Dave were basically journeymen players in the 1950s.
Frank Torre (3.9 WAR)
Joe Torre (HOF, MVP, ASx9, 57.6 WAR)
Frank played first base for the Braves in the late 50s. Joe is a Hall of Famer for the combination of playing and managerial skills.
Pat Underwood (1.0 WAR)
Tom Underwood (11.1 WAR)
Pat pitched for the Tigers for a couple of years around 1980, his brother Tom lasted eleven years around the same time.
Justin Upton (ASx3, 23.3 WAR)
Melvin Upton (13.3 WAR)
These brothers are still active players, patrolling the outfield for the Padres.
Ed Walsh (HOF, 63.2 WAR)
Ed Walsh Jr. (0.3 WAR)
“Big Ed” was a workhorse on the mound for the White Sox in the early 20th century. His son appeared in four seasons for them around 1930.
Lloyd Waner (HOF, ASx1, 24.1 WAR)
Paul Waner (HOF, MVP, ASx4, 72.8 WAR)
They have a combined 38 seasons in the outfield, almost all with the Pirates.
Maury Wills (MVP, ASx5, 39.6 WAR)
Bump Wills (16.5 WAR)
Maury was a mainstay at shortstop for the Dodgers in the 1960s. His son Bump played second base over six seasons around 1980.
If I’ve missed any, I’m sure you’ll let me know.
By the way, here are the families with the highest total WAR:
Bonds – 220.1 (Surprised to see Barry’s WAR was that high)
Aaron – 139.8 (Tommie didn’t bring Henry down too much)
Perry – 132.4 (Jim was better than I thought!)
DiMaggio – 127.2 (Everyone forgets Vince…)
Niekro – 126.5 (I hadn’t heard of Lance before)
Collins – 122.9 (That’s all due to Eddie Sr.)
Griffey – 118.0 (Did I mention that they once hit back-to-back home runs?)
Alou – 106.0 (The three brothers all played for the Giants at the same time)
Waner – 96.9 (Only brothers in the Hall of Fame)
Bell – 96.6 (Buddy was better than I remembered)
Alomar – 91.1 (Lots of people forget Sandy Jr. in the shadow of his brother)
Boone – 89.2 (The first family with three generations of All-Stars)