Sibling rivalry has been around almost from the beginning—that is, The Beginning—as Genesis 4:1-16 reminds us. Since that fatal encounter between Cain and Abel, brothers have found more civilized ways of working out their aggressions, not infrequently—as most parents can attest—with sport.
This is an article from the March 29, 1971 issue
Over the years we have carried numerous stories on the brother acts in big-time sport, including most recently a piece on hockey's Plager brothers (SI, Nov. 9, 1970). In that article we mentioned some of the other siblings in sport today, notably the Alous of baseball, the Richardsons of football and two sets of brothers who provide the grist for articles in this issue—hockey's Espositos (page 36) and baseball's Perrys (page 58).
This combination led us to reflect on some of the brothers that predated us, ones we never got to write about. It is impossible to read about North Carolina's Perrys without calling to mind baseball's most famous pitching pair, the Dean boys, Dizzy and Daffy, or was it "Me 'n' Paul," the zaniest family act in the game. In 1934, they won 49 regular-season and four World Series games between them In one doubleheader they pitched, Daf hurled a no-hitter in the nightcap, prompting Diz to remark that if he'd known what Daffy had in mind he would have done the same in the opener. The Deans even went on strike together once, being joined in the work protest by their brother Elmer, a minor league peanut salesman in Houston's park. And remember those other baseball brothers: Joe, Dom and Vince? Ah, yes, "Where have you gone, Joe...?"
Baseball has not had an exclusive contract on brother acts, of course. In the late 1950s, before an injury ended the career of the late Mike McKeever, he and twin brother Marlin were the scourge of West Coast football at USC. They also teamed up in track and field, and Mike once even put the shot in a track meet under the name of his look-alike sibling.
One of the more dramatic exploits of an athletic brother occurred during World War I when Tedford Cann, brother of NYU's famed basketball coach Howard Cann, put his skill as a swimmer to work repairing a sabotaged ship underwater in the North Atlantic. The feat won him a Congressional Medal of Honor. After the war Ted-ford returned to swimming for competition, and even set a world record.
Yes, recollections about siblings lead far afield. There have also been some fine sister acts, Alice and Marlene Bauer in golf, for example, and in one respect they are outdoing the men today. The Perrys are just Jim and Gaylord, the Espositos merely Phil and Tony, but savor the names of those tennis-playing Bartkowicz sisters shown above.