clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Justin and Melvin Upton will be the sixth pair of brothers to be Padres teammates

New, comments
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

When Padres general manager A.J. Preller acquired Melvin Upton from the Braves along with All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel, much was made of Upton reuniting with his brother Justin, who Preller picked up earlier in the offseason. The idea of two brothers playing for the same team is old news to Friars fans, who have witnessed five previous sets of siblings.

Sandy, Jr. and Roberto Alomar were the first pair of brothers to share the Padres' bench. Future Hall-of-Famer Roberto spent the 1988 season, his first, as San Diego's starting second baseman and was joined by his brother at season's end. Sandy debuted on September 30, pinch-hitting for Jerald Clark with two outs in the top of the ninth inning of a 5-1 road win over the Astros. Sandy struck out and that was his lone plate appearance of the year. He returned for seven games in 1989, but was blocked by star catcher Benito Santiago, and was sent to Cleveland in a blockbuster deal that put Joe Carter in a Padres uniform. The Alomars, whose father Sandy, Sr. was a Padres coach while they were around, would later be teammates again with both the Indians and White Sox.

The next duo of fraternal Friars came together in 1996 and also included an eventual Hall-of-Famer. Pinch-hitter and backup outfielder Chris Gwynn, formerly of the Dodgers and Royals, signed with the team before the season and teamed up with his brother, legendary right fielder Tony Gwynn. In what turned out to be the last of his ten major league seasons, Chris hit just .178/ .260/ .256 in exactly 100 plate appearances, but all that was forgotten on the last day of the season. With the Padres and Dodgers tied for the division lead at 90-71 and facing each other, this was as must-win as games get. The game went into extras without a run crossing the plate. Chris Gwynn was summoned by Bruce Bochy to hit in the pitcher's spot in the top of the eleventh inning with Steve Finley on third base and Ken Caminiti on first, with no outs. Gwynn ripped Chan Ho Park's third pitch to right center for a double that plated both runners. Those were the only runs of the game, and San Diego returned to the postseason for the first time in a dozen years. Chris singled both times he went to the plate in the NLDS loss to the Cardinals, tying a nice little ribbon on his career. Tony, as you know, stuck around for five more seasons and earned a slew of plaques and statues in his honor.

Nearly a decade passed before another set of brothers shared the field as Padres. In 2006, Glenn Hoffman was brought aboard to coach third base, joining his brother Trevor, who will undoubtedly join Tony Gwynn in Cooperstown one day. Trevor headed to Milwaukee after the 2008 season and spent the final two years of his record-setting career there, but rejoined the Padres organization upon his retirement. He is now the club's upper-level pitching coordinator, and Glenn is still a fixture in the third base coach's box.

The Hoffmans were joined by another pair of brothers the very next season. Before the 2007 season, general manager Kevin Towers signed free agent Marcus Giles to take over for second baseman Josh Barfield, who had been sent to Cleveland in exchange for Kevin Kouzmanoff. Marcus joined his brother Brian, a fixture in San Diego since coming over from Pittsburgh late in the 2003 season. It was at this point that then-Padres broadcaster Matt Vasgersian coined the term "bro-B-I", referring to when one brother drove the other one in. Like the Gwynn brothers, who both attended San Diego State University, the Giles boys had long-standing San Diego ties; both attended Granite Hills High School in El Cajon. And like Chris Gwynn, Marcus hit poorly and never played in the majors again. If that wasn't enough of a feel-bad story, both Brian and Marcus went on to be domestic abusers. I wasn't planning on editorializing in this post, but I feel gross for ever having rooted for them, even though it was before I knew their true colors.

Less than a month after releasing Marcus Giles in late-2007, the Padres signed infielder Edgar Gonzalez to a minor league contract. Edgar, the brother of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, started the 2008 season in AAA Portland, but got the call to join his younger, bigger brother in late May. Edgar was first utilized as a utility man, but settled into the starting second base role when Tadahito Iguchi flamed out. He hit well in 111 games and earned a spot on the next year's roster. His bat slipped and he was allowed to walk after the 2009 season. Like the Gwynn and Giles brothers, Adrian and Edgar both have San Diego roots. Also like the Gwynn and Giles brothers, Edgar played his final major league game as a member of the Padres. Adrian stuck around San Diego another year before being traded to the Red Sox and eventually the Dodgers.

On January 16, 2010, the Padres reacquired outfielder Scott Hairston, who they had traded to Oakland just months earlier. Just two days later, general manager Jed Hoyer signed Scott's brother, veteran utility player Jerry Hairston to a one-year deal. Both brothers hit below their established standards for the last contending Padres team, and neither returned for 2011. Jerry played for three more seasons and Scott played four more. While both played for the Cubs and Nationals at various times, their season with the Padres was the only time they were teammates. In addition to being just the second set of brothers to be Padres teammates without San Diego ties, the Hairstons were also the first of the five pairs without at least one All-Star. Both Alomars and both Giles brothers appeared in the midsummer classic, as did Tony Gwynn and Adrian Gonzalez.

After four consecutive seasons featuring a pair of brothers, the Padres went four years without an on-field pairing who shared a dinner table as children. As you know, maverick general manager A.J. Preller acquired slugger Justin Upton from Atlanta in the initial stages of his thorough overhaul of the Padres' roster, then picked up his underachieving older brother yesterday, a day before the new-look contenders play their first game that counts. Melvin, previously known as B.J. Upton, will start the season on the disabled list, so their inclusion into this exclusive brotherhood of brothers will take some time to become official.

In addition to the five pairs of brothers who have been Padres teammates, the one pair who are set to be, and the unique case of the Hoffmans, there have also been sets of brothers who both played for the Padres, but not at the same time. Jerald and Phil Clark missed being teammates by mere months. Jerald, who played for the Padres from his debut in 1988 through 1992, was selected by Colorado in the expansion draft shortly before San Diego selected his brother Phil off of waivers from the Tigers.

One of Jerald Clark's teammates on the 1991 and '92 Padres was relief pitcher Mike Maddux. While Mike had a respectable 15-year career, he was the Chris Gwynn of his family. Mike's brother Greg is on a single-digit-length list of the greatest starting pitchers of all time and joined the Padres for the 2007 and '08 seasons. One of Phil Clark's one-time teammates also has brotherly ties within the organization. Current television personality and former Mariners second baseman Harold Reynolds was a member of the Padres during spring training for the 1994 season, but was traded before the season began. Harold's older brother Don was a light-hitting outfielder for the Friars in 1978 and '79, his only two seasons in the bigs.

Contrary to popular belief, former outfielder Melvin (that name keeps popping up!) Nieves and two-term catcher Wil Nieves are not brothers or even, in fact, related at all, but that doesn't mean we've met a dead-end of brotherosity (which is totally a word). The current ownership group includes two pairs of brothers: Brian and Kevin O'Malley, along with Peter and Tom Seidler. One might even say that a more appropriate name than Padres would be Hermanos or, as the Bluth brothers would say, Brotheros.