Saturday, August 05, 2006

August 5th, 1939

Tommie Aaron Born

Why is it, and I'm genuinely curious, this isn't some sort of smart-ass question that Tommie Aaron finished with thirteen home runs, ninety-four RBIs and a career .229 average, while his brother Hank finished with seven hundred and fifty-six home runs, two-thousand two hundred and ninety-seven RBIs (both most all-time, of course) and a career .305 average? There are lots of examples of things like this, fantastic players with virtually inept siblings: Honus and Butts Wagner (no, really, Butts, they actually called him that), Christy and Henry Mathewson, Jose and Ozzie Canseco; to say nothing of sibling pairs where one player isn't bad, but the other just blows him away: Pedro and Ramon Martinez, for example.

There is seemingly no logical explanation for these things. They were presumably raised in nearly identical surroundings, have the same generic make-up, all the rest. And yet Honus Wagner is the greatest shortstop who lived while Butts could barely hit .225. Maybe there's something in the genetics, Butts Wagner, Henry Mathewson and Tommie Aaron all died well before their siblings; only Butts made it to fifty. Perhaps the superior (as a ballplayer, that is) sibling simply hit the lucky point on the genetic wheel. Or maybe there's something else altogether. I suspect we'll never know.

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