Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Big League Brothers (Part II)

The Boones
It's an undeniable fact that talent runs in some families. Few clans have been blessed with as much baseball ability as the Boones. Ray was the first to aspire to the majors, making his debut in 1948. He would play for 13 seasons, spending a majority of the 1950's with the Indians and Tigers. He enjoyed his most productive span between '53 and '56, hitting no fewer than 20 homers and driving in at least 81 runs every year. Born in 1947, Ray's son Bob carried on the tradition, breaking in with the Phillies in '72. He would become one of the premier defensive catchers in the National League, capturing 7 Gold Gloves while being named to 4 All-Star teams. He also fathered two immensely talented children--Aaron and Bret. The older of the two siblings, Bret spent 14 years at the major league level, slamming 252 homers and collecting 1,021 ribbies for 5 clubs between 1992 and 2005. A fine defensive infielder, he won 4 Gold Gloves and led AL second baseman in fielding percentage 4 times. The youngest of the bunch, Aaron got his start in 1997 and played for 12 seasons, gathering 126 homers and 555 ribbies. He is best remembered for the dramatic walk-off homer he delivered in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS that sent the Yankees to the World Series.   

The DiMaggios
Among the most gifted clans in history, the DiMaggio family would be represented in the big leagues from 1937 through 1953. Vince, the eldest, was the first to arrive on the scene, breaking in with the Boston Bees. Though he led the league in assists three times, he struck out far too often, a flaw that ultimately shortened his career. Joe, the middle sibling, was indisputably the most talented of the bunch. Often referred to as "the greatest living ballplayer" in his time, he won 9 World Series rings and 2 batting titles while capturing 3 MVP awards. He also played on 13 All-Star teams. His 56-game hitting streak in 1941 is considered an unassailable record. Dominic, the youngest, was a tremendous player in his own right. Nicknamed "The Little Professor," he spent 11 seasons in the majors--all with the Red Sox. He lost three full seasons to military service. Between 1940 and 1952, he hit no lower than .283 while scoring at least 100 runs six times. A speedster in the outfield, he posted the best range factor among AL center fielders on four occasions. He also paced the circuit in assists four times. 

The Alous
The three Alou brothers gained lasting acclaim when they appeared in the outfield together for the 1963 Giants. Felipe was the oldest, born in 1935. He spent 17 seasons with 6 clubs, smashing 206 homers and collecting 852 RBI's. A 3-time All-Star, he hit safely more than 2,000 times in his career. When his playing days were over, he continued as a manager for 14 years, leading the Giants to a playoff appearance in 2003. Three years younger, Matty spent 15 years in the majors, winning a batting title in '66 while breaking the .300 mark nine times. Jesus was the youngest and, relatively speaking, the least talented. Still, he was good enough to remain at the major league level for 15 seasons, reaching the .300 mark at the plate three times. Collectively, the trio hit .292 with 5,094 hits (more than the DiMaggio bros.) in over 17, 000 at-bats. Felipe's son Moises had a long and distinguished big league career that stretched from 1990 through 2008. 

The Boyers
 Another distinguished big league baseball trio, the Boyers got their start in 1947, when Cloyd broke in with the St.Louis Cardinals. A right-handed pitcher, he assumed the role of a swing man for 5 seasons, starting 46 games while serving as a reliever 63 times. He suffered from occasional wildness, posting a mediocre 20-23 record with a 4.73 ERA. The best was yet to come as Ken arrived in the majors during the '55 slate. A 7-time All-Star, he captured NL MVP honors in '64. In 15 seasons, he blasted 282 homers and drove-in 1,141 runs. He also won 5 Gold Glove awards. Clete, the younges of the three, would gain the most postseason experience, playing in 5 world Series with the New York Yankees. In a sea of stars, he held his own, posting the highest range factor among AL third baseman 6 times. He was no slouch with a bat either, drilling 162 career homers.
Remarkably, the Boyers had four other brothers who played at the minor league level: Wayne, Lynn, Len and Ron!         

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