Many brothers have spent time together in MLB. Paul and Lloyd Waner made history as the only pair of brothers to both enter the Hall of Fame. Vince and Dom DiMaggio both put together respectable careers, although neither excelled as much as their Hall of Fame brother Joe. Sandy Alomar Jr. and his brother Roberto Alomar are two of the most recent MLB brothers of note.
Although both are retired now, Roberto remains popular with fans. Meanwhile, Sandy Jr. doesn’t get quite as much love, despite being a highly talented player. Let’s look at the brothers’ upbringing and respective MLB careers.
The Alomar brothers’ baseball upbringing
Sandy Jr. and his younger brother Roberto were born and raised in Puerto Rico. The moment they entered the world, they were part of a family with a strong baseball legacy. Their father, Sandy Alomar Sr., spent 15 years as a journeyman MLB second basemen. Sandy Sr. also had three brothers who played in the minor leagues, according to Baseball-Reference.
Because their father had to spend a large part of the year training for and playing baseball in the United States, the Alomar brothers were largely raised by their mother. During the summer, however, they would often go to visit their father. Alomar Sr. would let his sons hangout in the clubhouse and on the practice field, where they soon developed their own passion for the game.
Roberto’s MLB career
Roberto got his pro start in 1985, as a 17-year-old, signing a deal with the San Diego Padres. He spent his first two seasons with Class-A minor league affiliates, where he proved himself as a formidable batter. His major league debut came in April 1988, in a game against the Houston Astros. In his very first at-bat, Roberto got a hit off of Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan.
Roberto soon established himself as a good hitter, quick baserunner, and excellent defender. He secured his first All-Star berth in 1990, as a National League reserve. After three years with the Padres, the talented young second baseman was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. Alomar came into his own in five seasons with the Blue Jays, taking his offense to an elite level.
Three-year stints with the Baltimore Orioles and then the Cleveland Indians followed. Then he bounced around with multiple teams for his last couple of years. At the end of his 17-year career, Roberto had racked up impressive accomplishments. He had a .300 career batting average, according to Baseball-Reference, with 2,724 hits, 1,134 RBIs, and 474 stolen bases.
Roberto won 10 Gold Glove Awards for his exceptional defense. He won two World Series, both with the Blue Jays, was a 12-time All-Star, and took home four Silver Slugger Awards. In recognition of his excellent career, Roberto was inducted into the Hall of Fame in his second year of eligibility.
Sandy Jr.’s MLB career
In terms of longevity, Sandy Jr. managed to outlast even his durable brother Roberto. Yet in most other statistical regards, Sandy Jr.’s career simply can’t match up to that of his brother. He was a career .273 batter, who hit 112 home runs and racked up just 588 RBIs over the course of a 20-year playing career.
Sandy Jr. spent his prime playing as a catcher for the Cleveland Indians. He won both AL Rookie of the Year and a Gold Glove Award in 1990. He also made a total of six All-Star teams. Yet most analysts agree that Sandy Jr. never managed to live up to his potential—largely as the result of injuries. Those injuries started during his second year in the league and continued to plague him for most of his career.
However, Sandy Jr. earned respect as one of the greatest defensive catchers of his time, with a unique ability to manage a big-league pitching staff. If he hadn’t struggled so much with injury, he might have built a strong Hall of Fame case for himself as well.