Contreras brothers join a rare fraternity as All-Star starters
By Benjamin Hoffman
When the National League takes the field for this year’s All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium next Tuesday, Willson Contreras will be behind the plate at catcher and his brother William will start at designated hitter. It will be the 92nd playing of the Midsummer Classic, but only the sixth in which brothers have started together.
For Willson Contreras, 30, the selection was hardly a surprise. A seven-year veteran for the Chicago Cubs, he has been an All-Star twice before and is considered one of the best defensive catchers in the game. He had an on-base plus slugging percentage of .867 to go with 13 home runs through Sunday.
William Contreras, 24, was a more surprising selection. A former catcher, he had not made much of a mark until stepping into the designated hitter role for the Atlanta Braves after the NL adopted it before this season. He had a .924 OPS and 11 home runs through Sunday and was selected as an NL reserve before being promoted to the starting lineup as a replacement for the injured Bryce Harper.
Brothers have made All-Star Games together numerous times — most recently Bret and Aaron Boone for the American League team in 2003 — but only four other sets of brothers have started in the same game. Only one set of brothers has repeated the feat.
Mort and Walker Cooper
While neither Cooper brother is in the Hall of Fame, they had memorable careers. Walker Cooper, a catcher, played 18 seasons, won two World Series rings, hit as many as 35 home runs in a season and was selected to eight All-Star Games. Mort Cooper, a pitcher, played 11 seasons, also won two World Series rings and won 20 or more games three times. He was the NL’s most valuable player in 1942 and selected to four All-Star Games.
They formed the starting battery for the NL All-Stars in 1942 and 1943. In 1942, Walker Cooper went 1 for 2, while Mort Cooper took the loss after allowing three runs in three innings. In 1943, Walker Cooper also went 1 for 2, and Mort Cooper got roughed up again, taking the loss after allowing four runs in 2 1/3 innings.
They made the team again in 1946, but Mort did not pitch (the NL lost anyway, 12-0).
1942: American League 3, National League 1
1943: American League 5, National League 3
Dixie and Harry Walker
Dixie Walker, an outfielder, bounced around for years before a trade to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1939 solidified his standing. In his nine seasons with the Dodgers, he won a batting title, an RBI crown and was selected to five All-Star teams, but he is largely remembered for his opposition to the integration of baseball, admitting years later that he had created a petition to urge the Dodgers not to add Jackie Robinson or any other Black players. The Dodgers traded him to Pittsburgh after the 1947 season.
Harry Walker, whose best years came with the St. Louis Cardinals, gave up two years of his prime to military service in World War II, but still won a batting title, hit .296 for his career and made one All-Star team.
The brothers started together for the NL in 1947, with Harry Walker leading off and Dixie Walker batting second. They combined to go 0 for 4.
1947: American League 2, National League 1
Joe and Dom DiMaggio
Joe DiMaggio requires no introduction — his Hall of Fame plaque is available if you want to peruse it — but Dom DiMaggio was no slouch. He hit .298 over 11 seasons — losing two years of his prime to military service — and led the AL in runs twice. His seven All-Star selections were perhaps inflated, relative to his production, but in his best season, 1942, he produced an impressive 5.4 wins above replacement.
Joe and Dom DiMaggio were on six All-Star teams together, and they both started for the AL in 1949. Dom DiMaggio, who started in right field, went 2 for 5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Joe DiMaggio, who started in center, went 2 for 4 with three RBIs.
1949: American League 11, National League 7
Roberto and Sandy Alomar
The Alomar brothers were mainstays in the All-Star Games of the 1990s. Roberto Alomar, a second baseman, was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011 but was put on baseball’s ineligible list last year after a sexual misconduct investigation. He made 12 All-Star teams and was the MVP of the game in 1998.
Sandy Alomar, a catcher, was the AL’s rookie of the year in 1990 and named to six All-Star teams. He was the game’s MVP in 1997.
While they made the All-Star Game together six times in a nine-season span, they started together only once, in 1992. Roberto Alomar led off and went 1 for 2. Sandy Alomar batted eighth and went 1 for 3.
1992: American League 13, National League 6