Baseball History: Brother Against Brother

The Johnston brothers were the first siblings to compete against each other in the World Series in 1920. Doc is on the left, while Jimmy is on right.

The Johnston brothers were the first siblings to compete against each other in the World Series in 1920. Doc is on the left, while Jimmy is on right.

Sibling rivalries are as old as … well … siblings.

In baseball history the ultimate prize is the World Series and while they may not be the most famous set of siblings, Doc Johnston and Jimmy Johnston became the first brothers to square off in a World Series game against each other in 1920.

In the opening contest, Jimmy started at third base for the Brooklyn Robins and Doc was used as a pinch-hitter for the Cleveland Indians in the ninth inning for Smoky Joe Wood. Neither player got a hit in the game as the Indians went on to win 3-1.

Cleveland eventually won the world championship five games to two. Doc would play in five games and bat .273 to go with a stolen base. Jimmy was in four contests and hit .214.

Doc played 11 seasons in the majors from 1909 to 1922 for the Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia A’s. In 1920, he hit .292 with a pair of homers and 71 RBI.

Jimmy, who was two years younger, played 13 seasons in the big leagues from 1911 to 1926 for Brooklyn, the Chicago White Sox, the Chicago Cubs, the Boston Braves and the New York Giants. Jimmy led the National League in games played in 1920 with 155. He had one homer, 52 RBI and a .291 batting average.

The Meusel brothers played in three World Series against each other from 1921-1923. Irish is on the left and Bob on the right.

The Meusel brothers played in three World Series against each other from 1921-1923. Irish is on the left and Bob on the right.

The Next Set

It only took one year for the next set of brothers to meet in the World Series as Irish Meusel and Bob Meusel played against each other three straight times in the Fall Classic from 1921 to 1923.

Irish won the first two titles with the New York Giants against his brother in 1921 and 1922. Bob and the New York Yankees won their first championship in 1923.

The older of the two brothers, Irish was in the big leagues from 1914 to 1927 for 11 seasons with the Giants, Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Senators. His top season was likely in 1922 when he hit 16 homers with 132 RBI and a .331 batting average. In 1923, he led the National League with 125 RBI.

Bob also played 11 years from 1920 to 1930 and went on to be apart of the Yankees World Series winners in 1927 and 1928. He spent his entire career with the Yankees except his final year with the Reds in 1930. His best season was in 1925 when he led the American League with 33 homers and 134 RBI.

clete boyer 1964ken boyer 1964

The Boyers

Perhaps the most well-known brothers to battle for a championship are Ken Boyer and Clete Boyer. The faced each other as their team’s starting third baseman in the 1964 World Series. In the seventh game of the series, the Boyers became the first brothers to both hit home runs in the same contest.

Ken was the NL Most Valuable Player when he led his St. Louis Cardinals to the win in the series against the Yankees. He had 24 homers and a league-best 119 RBI.

The seven-time all-star spent the first 11 seasons in his 15-year career (1955-1969) with the Cardinals before finishing with the New York Mets, Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Clete played his first three seasons with the Kansas City A’s from 1955 to 1957. In 1959, he joined the Yankees and was with them until 1966. He finished his career with Atlanta Braves from 1967 to 1971.

Despite falling in the World Series to his older brother in 1964, Clete did win titles with the Yankees in 1961 and 1962. He also played in the post-season with the Braves in 1969.

Off the Field

Last season when the San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals in the World Series, there was another version of the brother story. Former big league catcher Fred Kendall‘s two sons were on opposite sides last October.

Jason Kendall, a former major league player, and his brother Mike were members of the pennant winning organizations. Jason worked for the Royals, while Mike was with the Giants.

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