A place where Colorado Rockies baseball card collectors (all 3 of us) can waste some time reading about our favorite sport. The Rockies and their cards will be the primary focus, but I like to go off on tangents as well so anything and everything baseball related may be covered here.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

2013 Quarry Unlimited - Big League Brothers

One of the unique subsets of 1977 Topps was the 4 card "Big League Brothers" subset.  Fathers and sons were featured in 1976 and 1985, but I can't remember another instance of a brothers subset.  I think this is the type of thing Topps should be doing in modern sets.  Something like this is much preferable to the mediocre at best "Classic Combos" from the 2007 and 2008 Topps sets.  This also turned out to be a good year for this particular subset since B.J. and Justin Upton were brought together on the Braves, even if it didn't work out that well for them.  Unlike 1977 Topps which featured both brothers in the same photo, 2013 Quarry Unlimited has two separate photos side-by-side.  This is due to the lack of photos of the brothers together and the fact that I am not the one taking the photos.  Let's take a look at some really athletic families.

John came back from a serious shoulder injury, but had a rough year on the mound for the South Siders.  Jordan was called up in midseason and spent the rest of the year as the 4th outfielder for the White Sox.  In a game against Texas, John was the winning pitcher and Jordan hit the game winning home run it was first time that had happened since the Shantz brothers in 1955.

The Hairston brothers have been mainstays in the big leagues for the last 10 seasons.  Jerry has played for 9 different franchises in 16 years, while Scott has played for 6 teams in 10 years.  They are both third generation players as well following in the footsteps of their grandfather Sam Hairston and their father Jerry Hairston Sr.

This set of brothers has the greatest disparity of big league accomplishments in 2013.  Adam's season was a bit a come down from his career year in 2012, but he was still a big part of the Nationals late playoff push.  Andy only played in 1 game for the Blue Jays, but he was once a highly rated prospect for the Dodgers and Pirates.

Up next we have the two Molina brothers that remain in the big leagues.  Along with older brother Bengie, at least 2 members of the Molina clan have been catching in the big leagues every year of the 21st century.  Yadier had an outstanding season for the runner up Cardinals, while older brother Jose had a year in which he started over half of his team's games for the first time in his 14 year career.

Here we have the family that apparently had a few extra "Y"s laying around when they were having children.  Jayson was expected to be a little-used utility infielder for the Yankees, but he ended up starting nearly half of the team's games at shortstop and third.  Things didn't work out as well for older brother Laynce as he was released by the Phillies in August after being mainly used as a pinch hitter this season.

The Rasmus family became the newest set of brothers to play in the major leagues following younger brother Cory's debut for Atlanta on May 22.  Cory was later traded to the Angels where he became a solid member of the bullpen.  Colby had a pretty good year with the Blue Jays although he remained a walking strikeout machine.

The family with the smallest following among the average baseball fan is probably the Colombian-born Solanos.  Donovan is the starting second baseman for the Marlins, a fact that probably win you several bar bets even in Miami.  He struggled a bit in his sophomore season.  Older brother Jhonatan spent the majority of the season in AAA, but later became the back up catcher in Washington.  He had a rough year and will probably need to prove himself again next year.

Without a doubt the set of brothers that made the most news in 2013 was the Upton brothers, starting with their separate acquisitions by Atlanta.  They made history in April becoming the second set of brothers to hit back to back home runs and first since Lloyd and Paul Waner in 1938.  Unfortunately for them, not all of that news was good.  Justin had a fantastic start to his first season with the Braves, but tailed off considerably around mid-May.  B.J.'s season was even worse than that as he ended with a .184 average.

The Weeks family were nearly left off this list because Jemile did not get called up to the big leagues until September, but they did make it...just not at the same time.  Jemile played 8 games in September and gathered 1 hit in his time in Oakland.  That time occurred after Rickie had already been lost for the season with a hamstring injury.  Before his injury, Rickie had a very disappointing season for Milwaukee.

This particular subset would get old quickly if Topps were to use it too often, but I could see this being one of those "once per decade" type subsets like the Father and Son or Boyhood Photos.  However, a once every ten years addition to the flagship set would be a welcome addition.  Modern insert sets have really been the death of the subset, but I think under the right circumstances a subset or two would be a great re-addition to Topps.

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